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Subject Headings for Ethnic Groups
Subject Cataloging | Children’s and Young Adults’ Cataloging Program (CYAC)
CYAC assigns Children’s Subject Headings for specific ethnic groups within the United States (including American-held territories) to provide access to materials which feature information on or depiction of members of these particular groups.
For picture books and other works of fiction (short stories, chapter books, young adult novels, etc.), the ethnicity of main characters is specified whenever it is stated or can be readily determined in the cataloger-supplied summary. If ethnicity is the primary focus of the work, as, for example, Chinese Americans in many of the novels by Laurence Yep, then an additional adult subject heading is given: Chinese Americans--Juvenile Fiction. This will also be the case if the heading for ethnicity is the first Children’s Subject heading. If the characters' ethnicity is not of primary importance, but is known either from the text or illustrations, the appropriate heading is assigned as an additional subject heading but not as the first subject heading, e.g., Keats' Snowy Day.
650 #1 $a Snow $v Fiction. 650 #1 $a African Americans $v Fiction.
This heading is used for black characters in countries outside the United States.
It is NOT assigned if:
- Blacks are the majority in a particular country, unless they are treated as a separate group, as was the case in South Africa under apartheid.
- When the setting of a work is unknown or unclear and the ethnicity of a character is not easily determined, for example whether a character is an African American or a Black in England, an ethnic subject heading will not be assigned.
As works for young people have become more specific and awareness of individual Native American peoples has increased, subject headings on CYAC records have evolved as well. Current practice for fiction and nonfiction is to assign a subject heading for the specific group, if known, as well as the more general heading (subdivided geographically as appropriate):
650 #1 $a Aztecs. 650 #1 $a Indians of Mexico. 650 #1 $a Indians of Central America.