Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Barbara Tillett (202) 707-4380
February 10, 1995
British Library Reinstates Library of Congress Subject Headings
The British Library reinstated the use of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) in its cataloging records for the British National Bibliography beginning in January of 1995.
The library had stopped using the subject headings in 1987. The British Library assigned headings from LCSH to records created for the British National Bibliography from 1971 until 1987, when they were withdrawn as part of a service review. In response to demand, the British Library's National Bibliographic Service undertook a survey in 1993 on subject access and found that 25 percent of responding library systems, including large research libraries, used LCSH. Based on those findings, the British Library Board subsequently endorsed the recommendation to reintroduce LCSH.
The British Library also has joined the Subject Authority Cooperative Program (SACO) to propose new subject headings and changes to existing headings in LCSH. Through SACO, more than 40 libraries, including the national libraries of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, have made contributions to LCSH in the last two years. Among the first British Library contributions are headings for Luminescent probes, which are research tools in biotechnology and genetics; the Ring ouzel, a bird native to the British Isles; and Rave culture, a phenomenon of the British youth scene.
The British Library is now assigning subject headings from LCSH to records for monographs with the exclusion of fiction, juvenile literature, works such as general encyclopedias that have no specific topical focus, and individual works of literature of single authorship with no topical focus. Extension of the assignment of LCSH to serial records is planned for this year.
Planning for the reinstatement of LCHS took place in 1994. At the same time, modifications to cataloging systems in the British Library's Acquisitions Processing and Cataloguing Directorate in Boston Spa, England, were made to accommodate the loading of LC Subject Authorities tapes. Consultation between the British Library and the Library of Congress was facilitated by visits of British Library officials to Washington and training in the application of LCSH provided to British Library staff during 1994.
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