Subject Headings Manual – Part 3 – A Very Good Place to Start

A great woman once said that when learning to read, “Do-Re-Mi” is a good place to start. That woman never mentioned the SHM, but if she had, I bet she’d’ve said that you should start with the first memos.

Maria Von Trapp singing to children in
Me, teaching about a very good place to start

So today we’ll skim across the first four memos — I haven’t a lot to say about them, hence the lighter treatment.

Library of Congress Subject Authority Records H 40

Here’s all you gotta know: ClassWeb. ClassWeb has everything you need in terms of LCSH, it has the headings themselves and you can click that box next to each heading to see its MARC record if you’re so inclined.

Order of Subject Headings H 80

I’ve got 15 headings! What order do they go in!?

Loki from Avengers saying "Tell me!"
Pictured: You

First of all…calm down. You have too many headings probably (STAY TUNED FOR H180.3 FOR MORE)

This is a common sense memo:

Put the most relevant heading first. If there’s a tie for most relevant, first is that which most matches class number, then the 2nd most relevant.

If the resource is a biography, person’s name goes first.

Partial Title Added Entries H 150

Shorter version of an already short memo: We used to add partial titles in 740s for subject purposes, we don’t anymore.

Uncontrolled Subject Terms in the 653 Field H 160

Ah, my old friend 653, aka “SACO rejected my proposal”. See the MARC spec on 653 too. If there’s no good LCSH for your needed term, and your term truly is needed, go ahead and put it in a 653. According to the experimental WorldCat tool, there are 48,076,350 out of a total of 333,518,928 MARC records as of 1 Jan 2016 that contain a 653 field, so you’re in good company. For an uncontrolled field though, it still has fairly specific rules about how to input the terms ex.:

  1. Don’t capitalize (unless proper noun)
  2. Do not end with punctuation (unless term ends with punctuation)
  3. Do not repeat the field, add additional terms in additional $a subfields


The good stuff begins in H 180 though, and we’re creeping towards it!


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