Skip to main content

Bibliographic Access

Cataloging staff are responsible for the descriptive cataloging (physical attributes of the book or other material, assignment of intellectual responsibility for the creation of the content, and the forms of names by which those responsible are to be represented in the catalog) and subject analysis of books, periodicals, and special format-materials; and the assignment of classification numbers to most materials. Through the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, the Library coordinates an international consortium that promotes the creation of shared cataloging which meets international standards.

General Information

Classification, Shelflisting

The Library of Congress Classification (LCC) is a classification system that was first developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to organize and arrange the book collections of the Library of Congress. Classification, shelflisting (to provide unique call numbers), and Dewey Decimal classification of books, special formats, and some serials.
Learn more

Descriptive Cataloging

The Library of Congress provides descriptive cataloging (physical attributes of the item, assignment of intellectual responsibility for the creation of the content, and the forms of names by which those responsible are to be represented in the catalog) of books, microforms, computer files, serials, maps, and many prints, photographs, recorded sound, and moving images. The Library also provides leadership in cataloging policy for the national and international library communities and the secretariat for the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, an international consortium which promotes the creation of shared cataloging which meets international standards.
Learn more

Subject Headings and Genre/Form Terms

The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) is perhaps the most widely adopted subject indexing language in the world, has been translated into many languages, and is used around the world by libraries large and small. LCSH has been actively maintained since 1898 to catalog materials held at the Library of Congress. Proposals for additions and changes are reviewed regularly by staff in the Policy and Standards Division (PSD) and comments from the library community and the public are encouraged. The Library of Congress Genre-Form Terms (LCGFT) are a suite of controlled vocabulary terms for indicating what a library resource is, as distinct from what the resource is about, which is the function of LCSH.  For example, the use of both LCGFT and LCSH enables the catalog user to distinguish between works about documentary films and works that are themselves documentary films.       
Learn more

 Back to top