Library of Congress

Using Library of Congress Subject Headings

Books and non-print materials are listed in our online catalog by subject.  The subject headings used are those determined by the Library of Congress.  If you are looking for materials on a subject and you cannot find the subject heading that describes the subject in which you are interested, use Library of Congress Subject Headings.  The five-volume set of books in red binding is located near the computer reference area.

The Library of Congress Subject Headings will help you in two ways:

  • It will tell you the precise subject heading used in the catalog
  • It will help you expand or narrow your search by directing you to related headings

Library of Congress Subject Headings Samples

American folk literature

  • Use folk literature, American

Folk literature, American (May subh. Geog.)

  • UF American folk literature
  • BT American literature

For an analysis of the “symbols” that precede the headings, please refer to the inside cover of each volume of the five volume set.


  • UF = Used For
  • BT = Broader Topic
  • RT = Related Topic
  • SA = See Also
  • NT = Narrower Topic
  • (MAY Subh Geog): place names may follow the heading

When researching a topic manually by using periodical indexes in print format, the Library of Congress Subject Headings are a good source that would lead you to the selection of the best key terms that you can us while searching.

When researching a topic electronically, the Library of Congress Subject Headings of the title you might like the most could link you to more titles of similar interest.