Using Subject Headings in PantherCat

WHAT ARE SUBJECT HEADINGS?
In PantherCat, the online catalog, an important way to look for books and other library-owned materials is by subject heading. Subject headings are words and phrases which constitute a "controlled vocabulary" to categorize books by subject field. Headings used by the UWM Libraries are established by the Library of Congress and are listed in a multi-volume thesaurus entitled Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), located in the Reference collection, (REF) Z 695 .L6952x.

WHY USE ASSIGNED SUBJECT HEADINGS?

WHY USE LCSH?

USING SUBJECT TERMS IN PANTHERCAT.

To search by an assigned subject heading in PantherCat, enter the word or phrase in the search field, and select "Subject" from the drop-down menu. Results will appear from any record that has that word or phrase in a subject heading. Punctuation and capitalization are not required in searching PantherCat.


FINDING THE RIGHT SUBJECT HEADINGS

Words and phrases in boldface type in the Library of Congress Subject Headings volumes correspond to subject entries in the catalog. More than one heading may be needed for books on a subject to cover differing aspects of a field. Cross references from one term to another are frequently given from a common term to a more established term, or to broaden or narrow the search. The following kinds of cross references will help find appropriate headings.

USE REFERENCES
"Use" references are used to refer from terms NOT used to terms that ARE used as subject headings. Examples:
adolescentsuse teenagers
crimes, ruraluse rural crimes
industrial revolutionuse industry-history
    subdivisions Economic Conditions and Industries under
    names of countries
rural educationuse education, rural

 

NT and RT REFERENCES (narrower terms and related terms)
Typically NT cross references are to other headings which are specific instances of a general heading. However, some are related in other ways, as are the RT headings, and judgment should be used in selecting useful headings. Example:
Fiction
NTFables
Picaresque literature
Science fiction
Short stories
RTNovelists

BT REFERENCES (broader terms)
Other useful headings are indicated by the BT notation. These are typically broader in scope than the headings that they come under and are valuable when the library catalog has no listings under the narrower term or to look for volumes which may contain related materials within individual chapters. Example:
Short Stories
BTFiction


PROPER NAMES AS HEADINGS

Any proper name may be used as a subject heading. Because of the abundance of these possibilities, they are rarely listed in LCSH. While major countries (e.g., United States) and names (e.g., William Shakespeare, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln) will be listed, few others will be mentioned in LCSH. All names, places, and things (e.g., names of individuals, family names, geographic places, institutions, agencies, buildings) are acceptable subject headings. Those listed in LCSH often illustrate potential subdivisions within name headings.


SUBDIVISIONS

Subdivisions focus the scope of headings in various ways, and are Indicated by dashes under the listings of main terms. Punctuation is not required in an online search although the terms must be used in the exact order given.

FORM SUBDIVISIONS
These draw attention to materials of various types, within a given subject, and are used whenever appropriate. Some examples are:
- abstracts- bibliography- biography- concordances
- criticism and interpretation- dictionaries - directories- handbooks, manuals, etc.
- indexes- maps- pictorial works

TOPICAL SUBDIVISIONS
These qualify the scope of the subject itself, e.g.,
women - emploment
women - employment - law and legislation
In the catalog, subdivided headings appear as shown above; in Library of Congress Subject Headings, however, they are shown as indented, thus:
women
- employment
-- law and legislation

GEOGRAPHICAL SUBDIVISIONS
Subjects are divided by place whenever appropriate, and may vary as to how narrow a place name will be (country, state, city), e.g.,
women - legal status, laws, etc. - india
sculpture, ancient -- italy -- rome
sculpture, ancient -- spelonga -- italy

 

HISTORICAL SUBDIVISIONS
Usually found within geographic headings, these are listed chronologically. Significant time breakdowns are subject specific.

LIMITATIONS OF SUBJECT HEADINGS

Cross references, though extensive, are not exhaustive. Subject knowledge and imagination may be needed. Also, a book usually has no more than three or four subject headings even though it may deal significantly with more subjects than that. Checking books on broader or related subjects in addition to those that most closely approximate the chosen topic may be necessary. Books often contain detailed indexes, giving alternative terms, or bibliographies of closely related resources. For geographic breakdowns, some subject terms may be suddivided by place, some places may be subdivided by subject terms, e.g., caves - arizona OR arizona - antiquities. Check LCSH or do a keyword search instead of a subject heading search.


OTHER ASSISTANCE

KEYWORD SEARCHING
Subject searching in the catalog requires the use of the exact phrase given in the assigned subject heading. If the exact phrase is not known, but individual terms are, use the "Words anywhere" field choice from the dropdown menu instead of subject.
Subject:women - employment - law and legislationthis will retrieve the materials under the specific assigned heading
Keyword:law and employment and womenthis will retrieve the materials under the heading given above, without having to be in the exact order or within a defined subject heading
Keyword searching covers all searchable categories in one search (author, title, subject, etc.). This can be a valuable approach when only specific words are known, not the assigned subject heading. While materials may be found that would not be retrieved with the subject search, citations retrieved may have contents that are less pertinent.

USING A KNOWN SOURCE
If a particular item is found that looks valuable, display the entry to view the assigned subject headings for that item. In the listing of subject headings, click on any of interest; this will direct the user to other materials listed in PantherCat which have also been assigned the same subject heading.

rjt/llb 28 February 2011


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