January 20, 2022

No More Print: Subject Heading, Classification, and Cataloging Publications From Library of Congress Becoming Online-Only

Here’s the full text of a Library of Congress announcement the was posted a few moments ago.

The Library of Congress (LC) announces a transition to online-only publication of its cataloging documentation. As titles that are in production are released, LC will cease printing new editions of its subject headings and classification schedules, and other cataloging publications.* LC will instead provide free downloadable PDFs of these titles.

For users desiring enhanced functionality, LC’s two web-based subscription services, Cataloger’s Desktop and Classification Web, will continue as products from the Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS).

In 2012, LC conducted an extensive study on the impact and opportunities of changes in the bibliographic framework and the technological environment on the future distribution of its cataloging data and products. LC’s transition from print to online-only for cataloging documentation is a response to a steadily declining customer base for print and the availability of alternatives made possible by advances in technology. This shift will enable the Library to achieve a more sustainable financial model and better serve its mission in the years ahead.

Beginning July 1, 2013, print publications that are currently sold through CDS will become available as free, downloadable PDFs through LC’s Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate website at http://www.loc.gov/aba/. Because all of the content cannot be made available simultaneously, the retrospective titles will be phased in as PDFs.

Print editions of already-published titles, including the just-released 35th edition of the six volume Library of Congress Subject Headings, will be available from CDS until inventory is depleted. The most up-to-date source for subject headings and classification data, and other cataloging documentation, remains Cataloger’s Desktop and Classification Web.

*Note: Subject Headings Manual, Update No. 2 and a new edition of Classification and Shelflisting Manual are currently in production for 2013 release in print. After the 2013 printing, future updates and editions of these two publications will be accessible at http://www.loc.gov/aba/.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.