May 20, 2022

Journal Article: “Beyond the Subject: Non-Topical Facets for Exploration and Discovery”

The following article appears in the latest issue of OLA Quarterly from the the Oregon Library Association.


Beyond the Subject: Non-Topical Facets for Exploration and Discovery

Kelley McGrath
University of Oregon


OLA Quarterly, 25(1) (2019)
DOI: 10.7710/1093-7374.1970


New developments in the cataloging world can help libraries better answer questions like: What music do you have for string quartets? What young adult fiction do you have by African American male authors? Do you have any diaries written by pioneer women in Oregon in the late nineteenth century? Do you have any recent movies from China?

Historically, the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) have included terms both for what something is about (topic) and for what something is (genre or form). Many users are looking for something either as a topic, or as a genre or form, and not for the two things mixed together. Sometimes LCSH makes a clear, albeit not intuitive, distinction. Starting in 2007, the Library of Congress (LC) began work on a new vocabulary, now known as Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT), to use for genre and form instead of LCSH. In addition, they created two additional new vocabularies: Library of Congress Medium of Performance Thesaurus for Music (LCMPT) for instruments and voices and Library of Congress Demographic Group Terms (LCDGT) for audiences and creators. This article investigates the application and results of using these new, faceted vocabularies.

Direct to Full Text Article
9 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.