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About Library of Congress Authorities

Displaying and Searching Diacritics and Special Characters


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- Subject Authorities
- Name Authorities
- Title Authorities
- Name/Title Authorities
Search History

MARC Display
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Headings List
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Library of Congress Authorities Help Pages: use the browser's back button to  resurme searching

Searching Subject Authority Headings

[Image of the Search Type Window with Subject Authorties selected]Select the search type "Subject Authority Headings" on the main search screen to browse authority records for:

- words or phrases found in a controlled vocabulary (a standard set of words or phrases that reflect the topic of an item, see below...)

established by the Library of Congress (and cooperating partners) and used in Library of Congress Online Catalog records.

Please Note:
Authority Records available for...

- Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)
- Library of Congress Annotated Card Program (AC headings)
  -- headings created for juvenile literature

Authority Records not available for ...
- Subject subdivisions individually
- LCSH subject headings combined with free-floating subdivisions
- Subject access points established in a variety of thesauri but not in LCSH

Keyword Searching of authority records is not available in this release of Library of Congress Authorities. All searches should be entered beginning with the leftmost word of the heading (see search tips below).

LCSH and AC subject headings are searchable as Subject Authority Headings. Although most name, series, title, and name/title authority records and references appear in the Subject Authority Headings index, it is necessary to select the appropriate search type to ensure retrieval of all relevant authority records in these categories.

Subject Authority Heading Search Examples:

To browse the Subject Heading . . . Enter the words . . .
Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, 1769-1821 Abdication, 1814 napoleon i emperor
Art, African Exhibitions art african exhibitions
O'Neill, Eugene oneill eugene
Kirk, James T. (Fictitious character) Fiction. kirk james
Sacramento-San Joaquin Estuary (Calif.) sacramento san joaquin estuary
Carving (Meat, etc.) carving meat

Search Tips:

  • Omit all punctuation
    • Double dashes: omit double dashes before subject subdivisions (enter united states history civil war, not united states--history--civil war)
    • Apostrophes: close the space when omitting an apostrophe (enter oneill eugene, not o'neill or o neill).

  • Begin with word roots
    • Start with a word (or root of a word) that describes the topic (a search on the "word root" heli would return the topics helicobacter, helicopter, heliports, helium, helix, etc.)
    • Review the search results and identify desired headings.

  • Truncation is automatic
    • Searches are automatically truncated and retrieve subject heading authority records that begin with the words or phrases entered.
    • Do not use the question mark (?) for truncation.

How to View Authorities and References:

Your search results will be presented as a Headings List -- a list of all name headings in the Library of Congress Online Catalog, whether the headings have online authority records associated with them or not.

Please Note: Headings that end with the legend "[from old catalog]" were assigned before the online cataloging era and may not be associated with an online authority record. In addition, the Headings List may display headings from in-process catalog records for which authority records will be made in the near future. Proposed headings that have not yet been approved are retrievable and may be recognized by the label "[proposed]" after the heading in the Headings List and in the authority record itself.

The Subject Authority Headings search is a "browse," placing you at the point in the index most closely matching your search words. Select [Previous Button]to view headings that precede your search words alphabetically or scroll down to view headings following your search words.

[Image of the Subject Authority display for catts]

To retrieve authority information, references and/or scope notes for a heading, select the icon shown to the left of the heading.

Please consult the following Help Screens for more detailed information:

Use the browser's [Back] button to exit help and resume searching.

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June 28, 2002