Skip to main content
University of Utah Library Guides

Metadata - Assigning Subject Headings and Names: Subheadings

A short overview of how to use the Library of Congress Name and Subject Authorities to assign headings in EAD files

Instructions

When assigning subject headings, you often have to construct strings consisting of a main heading and one or more subheadings.  How to arrange them can be confusing, but here is a general rule:

[Main heading] – [general subheading] – [geographic subheading] – [Period subdivision] -- [Format related subheading]. 

Examples:                  Geology – Research – Utah.

                                Geology – Utah – Salt Lake County – Maps.

                                Utah -- History -- 19th century.

The LC authorities website has numerous examples of subject heading strings, but keep in mind that it is not intended to be comprehensive; it was compiled from subjects that have actually been used by OCLC catalogers.

There are many “free-floating subheadings” that can be applied to many different main headings.  Here is a list of commonly used subheadings:

  • Anniversaries, etc.          [use for individual persons, ethnic groups, classes of persons, corporate bodies, places, wars, church denominations]
  • Antiquities          [use for Ethnic groups, places]
  • Archives
  • Awards
  • Bibliography
  • Biography            for individual persons, ethnic groups, classes of persons, corporate bodies, places, wars]
  • Buildings  (for corporate bodies, individual schools)
  •           But see also main headings with the word in them, such as School buildings, Church buildings, etc.
  • Charts, diagrams, etc.
  • Chronology
  • Civilization
  • Congresses
  • Correspondence              [use for letters to and from individuals, families, classes of people, and ethnic groups.  For corporate bodies, industries, use: Records and correspondence]
  • Criticism and interpretation [for individual persons]
  • Customs and practices                   [for religions and religious orders]
  • Death and burial                               [for individual persons]
  • Description and travel                    [for places]
  • Design and construction
  • Designs and plans           
  • Diaries
  • Dictionaries
  • Directories          [for classes of persons, ethnic groups, individuals, families, corporate bodies, places]    
  • Drawings
  • Dwellings                             [for classes of persons, ethnic groups.  For individuals, use: Homes and haunts]
  • Economic conditions       [for classes of persons, ethnic groups, places, colonies]
  • Economic conditions – [period subdivision, for example 19th century]
  • Education                            [for classes of persons, ethnic groups, Christian denominations.  For individuals, use: Knowledge and learning]
  • Environmental aspects                 
  • Environmental conditions            [for places]
  • Ethnic relations                                 [for places]
  • Exhibitions
  • Family                                                   [for individual persons]
  • Finance
  • Folklore                                                [for classes of persons, ethnic groups, places, sacred works, etc.]
  • Government policy                         [for classes of persons, ethnic groups, industries]
  • Government relations   [for ethnic groups]
  • Guidebooks
  • Handbooks, manuals, etc.
  • Health                                                   [for individual persons, families]
  • Health and hygiene                         [for classes of persons, ethnic groups]
  • Health aspects                                  [for industries, wars, etc.
  • Historical geography                       [for places]
  • Historiography
  • History
  • History – [period subdivision, for example 19th century]
  • History, Military                                [for places]
  • Homes and haunts          [for classes of persons, ethnic groups, individuals, families, corporate bodies]   
  • Information services
  • Intellectual life                  [for classes of persons, ethnic groups, places]
  • Interpretation
  • Juvenile literature
  • Legends
  • Management                    [for corporate bodies, industries, military services]
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Methodology
  • Missions                              [for religions, ethnic groups]
  • Monuments
  • Moral and ethical aspects
  • Museums
  • Mythology
  • Obituaries                           [for classes of persons, ethnic groups]
  • Officials and employees                [for corporate bodies, legislative bodies, etc.]
  • Origin                                    [for religions, ethnic groups, animals, plants & crops]
  • Pamphlets
  • Periodicals
  • Personal narratives
  • Personnel records           [for corporate bodies]
  • Philosophy
  • Photographs
  • Physiological aspects
  • Pictorial works
  • Planning                               [for corporate bodies, industries, types of schools]
  • Political activity
  • Political aspects
  • Politics and government   [for ethnic groups, places]
  • Portraits               [for classes of persons, ethnic groups, individuals, families, wars]
  • Posters
  • Presidents                          [for corporate bodies]
  • Private collections
  • Psychological aspects
  • Public records                    [for corporate bodies]
  • Quotations                         [for classes of persons, ethnic groups, individuals, families, sacred works              ]
  • Race relations                    [places, colonies, etc.]
  • Records and correspondence     [[for corporate bodies, industries]
  • Registers
  • Religion                                                [for ethnic groups, individuals, places, corporate bodies, types of schools]
  • Religious life and customs            [for places]
  • Research
  • Rites and ceremonies    [for ethnic groups]
  • Rituals                                   [for corporate bodies, religions]
  • Slides
  • Social aspects
  • Social conditions               [for classes of persons, ethnic groups, places, colonies]
  • Social conditions – [period subdivision, for example 19th century]
  • Social life and customs   [for classes of persons, ethnic groups, places, colonies]
  • Social life and customs – [period subdivision, for example 19th century]
  • Societies, etc.                    [for ethnic groups, individuals, places, corporate bodies]
  • Songs and music
  • Statistics                              [for ethnic groups, individuals, places, corporate bodies]
  • Tables
  • Transportation [may subdivide geographically]
  • Travel                                    [for ethnic groups, individuals, places, corporate bodies]
  • Wars                                      [ethnic groups]

Here are some subheadings particularly useful for works about individuals and the course of their lives, as well as for their own works and other things connected to them:

  • Name
  • Birth
  • Birthplace
  • Childhood and youth
  • Knowledge and learning
  • Career in [fill in the specific field or discipline]
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Family
  • Friends and associates
  • Homes and haunts
  • Health
  • Finance, Personal
  • Ethics
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Last years
  • Death and burial
  • Tomb
  • Influence
  • Oratory
  • Diaries
  • Interviews
  • Archives
  • Library
  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts
  • Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc.
  • Fictional works
  • Pictorial works
  • Juvenile fiction
  • Dramatic works
  • Illustrations
  • Humor                  [humorous works about]
  • Legends
  • Outlines, syllabi, etc.
  • Monuments
  • Statues
  • Museums
Marriott Library Eccles Library Quinney Law Library