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Children's Subject Headings (CSH) List
Subject Cataloging | Children’s and Young Adults’ Cataloging Program (CYAC)
The Children’s and Young Adult’s Cataloging Program provides cataloging tailored to the needs of children and young adults who use school and public libraries. The CYAC Program catalogs items by creating bibliographic records complete with Children’s Subject Headings and a brief noncritical summary to offer easier subject access to those materials. CYAC catalogers apply current Library of Congress subject cataloging policies and practices, supplemented by CYAC policies. Note that MARC 21 coding is used to distinguish between Library of Congress Subject Headings (650 #0) and Children’s Subject Headings (650 #1). The catalog records are available from many sources because of their inclusion in the Library of Congress MARC database and the Cataloging-In-Publication Program. The cataloging records are available from several sources, as described in About the Program.
One of the responsibilities of the CYAC Program is to maintain Children’s Subject Headings (CSH). Regular meetings are held to ensure that Children’s Subject Headings and their use suit the cataloging needs of children’s material. When LCSH does not provide age-appropriate terminology, a new children’s subject heading is proposed for use on CYAC records.
Before establishing a heading that varies from Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), catalogers consult numerous sources in order to arrive at the term considered most effective for CYAC purposes. Before submission to LC’s Policy and Standards Division for approval, proposals are extensively discussed to select the proper heading. The main steps taken to establish a new children’s subject heading are:
- Literature in the subject area is consulted;
- Spelling, except for some hyphenated terms, is accepted from Webster's Third New International Dictionary and Random House Dictionary of the English Language;
- Index terms are checked in indexing sources widely used by the public, such as the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature and the New York Times Index;
- Sears List of Subject Headings, children's encyclopedias, the Hennepin County Library Cumulative Authority List, and reference sources usually found in public and school libraries are also consulted.
Some of the proposed and accepted headings in CSH are:
650 #1 $a Imaginary creatures.
650 #1 $a Safety.
While complete hierarchies are usually not provided for terms in the Children’s Subject Headings List, most headings have at least one reference. The most common reference in CSH occurs when a UF is made for the equivalent LCSH heading. For example, for CYAC the term Tumbleweeds is preferred to the LC heading Russian thistle and a UF reference reflects this fact. If the searcher needs a complete hierarchy, the LCSH list can be consulted under Russian thistle.
In some cases, an authorized term from LCSH may be added to the Children’s Subject Headings List in order to provide references that show how the term is related to other headings for CYAC purposes.
When a heading appears with no references, it usually means that the spelling or form differs from that used in LCSH. Wood carvers has no references; it appears in Children’s Subject Headings List as two words but it is hyphenated in LCSH. Tooth Fairy has no references; it appears on the Children’s Subject Headings List without a qualifier but appears in LCSH as Tooth Fairy (Legendary character), a heading with a parenthetical qualifier.
A note may be included to define the scope of a heading, especially if it is being used in a way that differs from LCSH. For example, the heading Theater includes a scope note indicating that it is used for works on plays as acted on the stage, and specifies other headings used for single or collected plays by one author or joint authors (Plays) and for collections of plays by several authors (Plays--Collections).
Subject Cataloging with Children’s Subject Headings
The subject headings used in CYAC records represent three categories: standard LCSH, modified LCSH, and headings established for exclusive use on CYAC items. Please note that CYAC catalogers do not currently catalog nonfiction works. Nonfiction examples are provided below to document past practices and to assist non-LC catalogers who wish to apply CYAC treatment to their nonfiction works.
LCSH are by far the most numerous of the three kinds of subject headings used by the CYAC program. These include topical headings, most proper names, geographic names, and subdivisions. The following headings are typical examples of LCSH applied to children's materials:
650 #0 $a Bands (Music) $v Fiction.
651 #0 $a Utah $x History $y 19th century $v Fiction.
650 #0 $a Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975 $v Fiction.
600 10 $a Marshall, Thurgood, $d 1908-1993.
Modified LCSH are accommodations made to subject headings to suit them to the various ways a youngster might perform a search. The following are the main types of adjustments made to LCSH by the CYAC Program:
- Hyphens are removed since a user may not be familiar with hyphenated two-word terms. Some include:
650 #0 $a Water-supply $v Juvenile software.
650 #1 $a Water supply.
650 #0 $a Fortune-telling $v Juvenile literature.
650 #1 $a Fortune telling.
- English forms of names more commonly known in the United States are used in place of foreign forms of names. Therefore, names of persons, organizations, or titles may be changed from the AACR2 form used in regular LC cataloging to conform with popular English usage:
600 10 $a Magalhães, Fernão de, $d -1521 $v Juvenile literature.
600 11 $a Magellan, Ferdinand, $d -1521.
610 20 $a NSZZ "Solidarność" (Labor organization) $x History $v Juvenile literature.
650 21 $a Solidarity (Polish labor organization)
600 10 $a Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, $d 1821-1881. $t Prestuplenie i nakazanie.
600 11 $a Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, $d 1821-1881. $t Crime and punishment.
- Words and phrases that would be superfluous in a juvenile catalog are deleted in headings so as not to be redundant. Words such as “children” are deleted from the heading. This happens so that such headings become:
650 #0 $a Separation anxiety in children $v Juvenile literature.
650 #1 $a Separation anxiety.
650 #0 $a Children’s parties $v Juvenile literature.
650 #1 $a Parties.
- Some headings and subdivisions used instead of the LCSH equivalents are:
650 #0 $a Sports stories.
650 #1 $a Sports $v Fiction.
650 #0 $a Christmas plays.
650 #0 $a Children’s plays.
650 #1 $a Christmas $v Drama.
650 #1 $a Plays.
- The common names of plants and animals are often used instead of the scientific ones. For those names not appearing in Children’s Subject Headings, consult the LCSH list.
650 #0 $a Delphinidae $v Juvenile literature.
650 #1 $a Dolphin family (Mammals)
650 #1 $a Dolphins.
Differences in Application of LCSH and CSH
Some of the chief differences between the CSH and LCSH are in application rather than in form. For example:
- The subdivision --United States and the qualifying term “American,” even to topics that are predominantly international in scope, such as Art, Music, and Folklore, are seldom used since most of the material purchased by children's libraries in the United States reflects an American orientation. Other geographical subdivisions are retained and are used for books limited to a particular country or state, as in the headings Cities and towns--Great Britain and Cities and towns--Virginia.
- All geographic subdivisions for subject headings denoting classes of persons, such as Athletes, Composers, and Explorers are omitted.
- If a story adds to the reader's information about a country, a social problem, or a disease, subject headings are appended with --Fiction in order to provide a helpful approach to the literature. Some headings used are: Switzerland--Fiction; Drug abuse--Fiction; AIDS (Disease)--Fiction. Abstract concepts are also included here, such as Friendship--Fiction and Self-reliance--Fiction.
- Paired headings are required combinations of specific and general subject headings to help young readers locate works through either a specific or a general search approach. Only the specific subject heading would be assigned in LCSH cataloging. Examples of this expanded analysis are:
650 #0 $a Aztecs $v Juvenile literature.
650 #0 $a Mayas $v Juvenile literature.
650 #0 $a Incas $v Juvenile literature.
650 #1 $a Aztecs.
650 #1 $a Mayas.
650 #1 $a Incas.
650 #1 $a Indians of Mexico.
650 #1 $a Indians of Central America.
650 #1 $a Indians of South America.
650 #0 $a Geology $z Arizona $z Grand Canyon $v Juvenile literature.
651 #0 $a Grand Canyon (Ariz.) $v Juvenile literature.
651 #1 $a Grand Canyon (Ariz.)
651 #1 $a Grand Canyon National Park (Ariz.)
651 #1 $a National parks and reserves.
650 #0 $a Veterinary medicine $x Vocational guidance $v Juvenile literature.
650 #0 $a Veterinarians $v Juvenile literature.
650 #1 $a Veterinary medicine $x Vocational guidance.
650 #1 $a Vocational guidance.
- Familiarity with specific and general terms usually varies among age groups. For material intended for very young children, the popular term is used, as in the headings Weather and Fossils; when the book is intended for older children, both the popular and scientific terms are frequently assigned; books intended for young adults, ordinarily only carry the scientific term: Meteorology or Paleontology. This way of cataloging may result in records carrying such headings as:
650 #0 $a Fossils $x Experiments $v Juvenile literature.
650 #1 $a Fossils.
650 #1 $a Fossils $x Experiments.
650 #1 $a Experiments.
650 #0 $a Angles (Geometry) $v Juvenile literature.
650 #1 $a Angles (Geometry)
650 #1 $a Geometry.
650 #0 $a Meteorology $v Juvenile literature.
650 #0 $a Meteorology $x Activity programs $v Juvenile literature.
650 #1 $a Meteorology.
650 #1 $a Weather forecasting.
- Headings denoting form or kind are created to make certain types of material more accessible to the reader including Jokes, Stories in rhyme, and Spanish language materials.
Subdivisions for Fiction
Although many of the most commonly used LC subdivisions can be used in a catalog devoted exclusively to children's literature, some subdivisions require modifications in form or application. The following subdivisions are exceptions to LCSH form and practice.
--Cartoons and comics:
Used on topical materials presented through cartoons and comics.
Used for belles lettres publications containing works by more than one author except works with specific form headings such as Nonsense verses, Short stories, Humorous stories, Horror stories, Humorous poetry, Humorous plays, Nursery rhymes, Science fiction, Mystery and detective stories, Fairy tales, etc.
Used under all subjects for individual or collected works of fiction on identifiable topics.
Not used. See Pictorial works.
Used under all subjects presented exclusively or predominantly through pictorial matter. Please note that this heading is rarely used by CYAC catalogers.
Used on topical wit and humor, including jokes and riddles.
Subdivisions for Non-Fiction
The exceptions to heading form or application below apply only to nonfiction, which is no longer cataloged as part of the CYAC Program.
Used for both collected and individual biographies, but only under names of ethnic groups, as in Indians of North America--Biography, and under subject fields where no specific term denotes the profession or contributions of the biographee, as in Aeronautics--Biography. However, where a term designates the profession, such as Engineers, the subdivision is not used.
Used instead of the LC subdivision --Guidebooks.
--Habits and behavior:
Used under any kind of animal, bird, reptile, or fish.
Availability of Subject Products
LCSH, which includes CSH, is available in multiple formats:
The MARC Distribution Service Subject-Authorities product provides records in MARC 21 and MARCXML formats via FTP. This fee-based subscription service provides new and updated records on a weekly basis.
LC Subject Headings Lists consist of new and changed LCSH and CSH headings and are posted on the World Wide Web at http://www.loc.gov/aba/cataloging/subject/weeklylists; free subscriptions, through e-mail or RSS feed, can be arranged at http://www.loc.gov/rss.
Classification Web, a fee-based World Wide Web service that also provides access to Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT) and Library of Congress Classification.
LC Authorities (http://authorities.loc.gov), a free web-based database that allows for browsing, display, and download (in MARC 21 format) of authority records.
Authorities and Vocabularies (http://id.loc.gov), a free Web-based service that allows for browsing, display, and download (in RDF/XML, Turtle, or N-triples) of the authority records.
In Library of Congress Subject Headings, an annual publication of the Library of Congress. CSH are included in a separate section in the front of volume 1.
If you have questions about the CYAC Program or the construction and use of Children’s Subject Headings (CSH) please visit the Contact Us page.