6. Access (Subjects & Classification)

Subject Access for Direct Access Electronic Resources

Historical note. Former practice was to trace 655 _7 ‡a CD-ROMs ‡2 lcsh on every CD-ROM record. This practice ceased officially in 2005.

Assign subjects based on the content of the work cataloged as you would for a print monograph or serial. In addition, bring out, when appropriate, certain form aspects of electronic resources as instructed in SCM H 1520 Databases, SCM H 1580.5 Electronic Serials, and SCM H 2070 Software. (Summaries/excerpts follow)

A. H 1520 Databases (Excerpts)

BACKGROUND: A database is a collection of logically interrelated data stored together in one or more computerized files, usually created and managed by a database management system. The data are encoded, and each file is designed with a high-level structure for accepting, storing, and providing information on demand. Typically, there is a set of definitions for the database that describe its various data elements and a set of codes to identify each element. The database may include the database management software that created the file, or it may include only the data.

1. The subdivision --Databases. Assign the free-floating form subdivision --Databases under subjects for a database as defined above. [Note that subfield v is used] Examples:

Title: Food additives : toxicology, regulation, and properties.

520 ## ‡a Commercial, CD-ROM version of the Priority-based Assessment of Food Additives (PAFA) database used by the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA/CFSAN), the primary repository for the toxicological effects of direct food additives. In addition to summaries of toxicological effects, the database contains regulatory information and property data for the compounds. Also includes the EAFUS database (Everything Added to Foods in the United States). The search software provides access to the 180 data fields for each of the 3,000 compounds, as well as the ability to save, export, print, or modify queries.

650 #0 ‡a Food additives ‡x Analysis ‡v Databases.

650 #0 ‡a Food additives ‡x Toxicology ‡v Databases.

650 #0 ‡a Food additives ‡x Safety regulations ‡z United States ‡v Databases.

Do not assign the subdivision --Databases under subjects for computer files that are essentially textual in nature, such as articles, conference proceedings, literary works, form letters. These texts may be keyboarded through a word-processing program, or they may be digitized images of a print or microform format. Assign only the subject(s) appropriate to the textual material. Examples:

Title: Legal issues surrounding the digital library : proceedings of the Library of Congress Network Advisory Committee, December 3-5, 1995.

520 ## ‡a Full text of a Network Advisory Committee meeting. Features discussion of First Amendment rights and the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders such as authors, publishers, and libraries. Includes meeting agenda, table of contents, list of attendees, and presentations.

650 #0 ‡a Information superhighway ‡x Law and legislation ‡z United States ‡v Congresses.

2. Cataloging from other than internal sources. Catalogers who do not or cannot load the file for cataloging purposes may make the determination that an item is a database based on factors such as these:

  • the item presents itself as a database
  • accompanying information describes the file as containing specific data elements that would lend themselves to discrete coding
  • accompanying information describes the data elements and their coding and structure.

In case of doubt, do not assign the subdivision --Databases. Example:

Title:   The national dairy database. 520 ## ‡a Collection of dairy-related educational materials, lists, and software tools gathered from land-grant universities and dairy industry organizations. Includes over 700 documents with 3,750 pages of material on such topics as herd and animal health, facilities and equipment, business management, etc. Contains 46 software programs, 750 tables/charts, and an expertise database. Designed to assist producers, educators, consultants, veterinarians, the media, and others in the dairy industry.

650 #0 ‡a Dairying.
650 #0 ‡a Dairy farming.
650 #0 ‡a Dairy product industry.

[Note: Although this item calls itself a database, the accompanying information describes this CD-ROM as consisting of over 3,000 pages of documents and research reports. There is no indication of distinct data elements that might be manipulated, nor is any software present which might manipulate the data. This computer file probably lacks the formal structure of a database and thus, the subdivision –Databases is not assigned.]

3. Special cases. Do not use the subdivision --Databases for the following types of works:

  • Computer files that have the structure of and present themselves as reference-type works, such as directories, bibliographies, catalogs, dictionaries, encyclopedias, indexes, or other similar types. Assign instead the pertinent form headings or form subdivision under subjects. (If one of these computer files is also a database, do not further subdivide by --Databases and do not assign another subject for the database.) Examples:

Title: The American business disk.

520 ## ‡a Business listings compiled from nationwide yellow pages.

650 #0 ‡a Business enterprises ‡z United States ‡v Telephone directories.

Title: DESIS desertification bibliography.

520 ## ‡a A referral database with 3,896 references, from 1967 to 1988, to conventional and nonconventional documents on desertification and its control. Indexed by author and subject and geographical descriptors. The database is accompanied by CD-ISIS database management software and is available as a CD-ISIS database or in ISO 2709 format. Its formatted output, titled World desertification bibliography, is provided in ASCII text.

650 #0 ‡a Desertification ‡v Bibliography.

Title: Brody's medical dictionary.

520 ## ‡a Complete electronic medical dictionary with over 40,000 entries.

650 #0 ‡a Medicine ‡v Dictionaries.

  • Collections of non-textual data that are not specifically formatted and encoded for the purposes of manipulation of the data. Assign only the headings appropriate to contents of the files; do not assign the subdivision --Databases. Example:

Title: SoundWAV. Volume 1 : the ultimate 16-bit stereo .WAV collection.

  • 520 ## ‡a Contains over 600 megabytes of digitized sounds in the .WAV files. Playable in sixteen-bit stereo, eight-bit stereo, and eight-bit mono.
  • 650 #0 ‡a Sounds.

4. Works with electronic resources as accompanying materials. When a work being cataloged is accompanied by a computer file that constitutes at least 20% of the overall work and when the contents of the computer file are judged to be significant, assign the appropriate topical headings for the computer file (cf. H 180, sec. 1). Use the above guidelines in determining when to use the subdivision --Databases following such headings. Examples:

Title: The economic geography of Fujian : a sourcebook. [accompanying disks contain compressed locational data (15 files) and statistical data (49 files)]

651 #0 ‡a Fukien Province (China) ‡x Economic conditions ‡x Statistics ‡v Databases.

650 #0 ‡a Geographical positions ‡z China ‡z Fukien ‡v Databases.

650 #0 ‡a Geographic information systems.

B. SCM H 1580.5. Electronic Serials

1. Assign appropriate headings and subdivide by --Periodicals.

LCCN sn 96004817

130 0   ‡a American journal of agricultural economics (CD-ROM)
245 1 0 ‡a American journal of agricultural economics.
650   0 ‡a Agriculture ‡x Economic aspects ‡z United States ‡v Periodicals.
650   0 ‡a Agriculture ‡x Economic aspects ‡v Periodicals.
650   0 ‡a Agriculture ‡z United States ‡v Periodicals.
650   0 ‡a Agriculture ‡v Periodicals.

Do not subdivide or further subdivide by --Databases unless the serial is also a database, in which case apply 2.

2. Assign --Databases if the serial is also a database. Do not further subdivide by --Periodicals. Caution: many LCDB serial records for works that are no longer considered databases have not been updated and still have the obsolete subdivision. For example, LCCN sn 94004104, Art index (CD-ROM : H.W. Wilson Company) is a periodical index, not a database. LCDB records cannot be used as models without careful review.

LCCN 92646048 (not in LCDB; in LC Online Catalog; subdivision is used correctly; cited in SCM H 1580.5)

245 0 0 ‡a Software information database.
588     ‡a Description based on: May '91; title from disc label.
650   0 ‡a Computer software ‡v Databases.

3. Serials about databases. [Topic]--Databases--Periodicals.

Annual index in 3 subject areas, issued on floppy disks. (Caution: LCCN sn 95037032 for this title is not consistent with the SCM example)

245 0 0 ‡a TRC databases for chemistry and engineering comprehensive index.
650   0 ‡a Thermodynamics ‡x Databases ‡v Indexes ‡v Periodicals.
650   0 ‡a Thermochemistry ‡x Databases ‡v Indexes ‡v Periodicals.
650   0 ‡a Engineering ‡x Databases ‡v Indexes ‡v Periodicals.

Assign Databases--Periodicals or Relational databases--Periodicals to electronic serials whose subject is databases.

4. "Reference-type works. Do not assign the subdivision -- Databases to electronic serials that have the structure of and present themselves as reference-type works such as bibliographies, catalogs, collections of abstracts, directories, dictionaries, indexes, or other similar types. Instead, assign the appropriate form headings or the appropriate subjects subdivided by the pertinent form subdivision. Further subdivide by --Periodicals unless the subdivision is one not further subdivided by --Periodicals according to the provisions of H 1927, sec. 2 . If one of these electronic serials is also a database, do not further subdivide by --Databases and do not assign an additional subject for the database."

LCCN sn 94004104 (Orbis record corrected to follow SCM)

130 0   ‡a Art index (CD-ROM : H.W. Wilson Company)
245 0 0 ‡a Art index.
650   0 ‡a Art ‡x Periodicals ‡v Indexes ‡v Periodicals.
650   0 ‡a Design ‡x Periodicals ‡v Indexes ‡v Periodicals.
650   0 ‡a Architecture ‡x Periodicals ‡v Indexes ‡v Periodicals.
650   0 ‡a City planning ‡x Periodicals ‡v Indexes ‡v Periodicals.

C. Software programs

Summarized from the SCM: Subject Cataloging Training Guide. The training guide is internal training documentation used by LC and is only intermittently available via the Desktop.

Authority records for software programs are in the names file (NAF) established as uniform titles (130); they are retrieved in Orbis using Staff Title or Staff Subject. Former practice allowed software programs to be established in SAF & some may still turn up in that file. If a heading needed for a bib. record is only found in SAF, it must be established in NAF. (SCM H 2070)

C1. Names of software programs are unqualified unless there is a conflict (see RDA The qualifier used to break a conflict is (Computer file).  Two examples from RDA

130 0   ‡a Nutcracker (Choreographic work)
130 0   ‡a NuTCRACKER (Computer file)

The qualifier (Computer program) is obsolete as a qualifier for named software programs; it is now used exclusively for types of computer programs & devices (in plural form).


Lotus 1-2-3 (Computer file) [ n86-111216 ] <formerly: Lotus 1-2-3 (Computer program) in the subject file>

WordPerfect Office [ n9l-4474] <no conflict, no qualifier>

Exceptionally, (Computer file) is used as a qualifier to facilitate retrieval. The heading MS-DOS (Computer file) is qualified because DOS is a stop word (or was a stop word) in one of the systems LC used, and MS is the abbreviation for manuscript.

C2. Types of Computer Programs. As noted above, (Computer program) is no longer used to qualify named software programs, but bear in mind that the qualifier continues to be used for types of computer programs, which are established in SAF. These headings can only be used as subjects and the authority records are searched on Orbis as Staff Subject.


Text editors (Computer programs) [ sh85-134303]

DOS device drivers (Computer programs) sh90-4446

Windows (Computer programs) [sh88-5220] <not to be confused with Microsoft Windows (Computer file) n 88027331, which is in NAF & searched on Orbis using Staff Title>

C3. Names of databases are also established in NAF as uniform titles (130); retrieved in Orbis with Staff Title.

ADABAS n9l-80700

Former (obsolete) policy for names of databases was to qualify by (Data base). <yes, 2 words>

As indicated in the previous section, use the free-floating subdivision --Databases for works discussing or consisting of one or more databases.

C4. Use the free floating subdivision --Data processing for works discussing the use of computers.

C5. Information retrieval systems. Named information retrieval systems are in the subjects file.

Jamia (Information retrieval system) sh90-4822

BURK III (Information retrieval system) sh90-5253

Other examples of information retrieval systems found in SAF: LEXIS (Information Retrieval System), LCS (Information Retrieval System), JURIS (Information System); see list under the LCSH heading: Information storage and retrieval systems.

C6. Subdivision --Software. The free-floating subdivision is applied to works cataloged as software, not to works cataloged as books with accompanying software. The free-floating subdivision --Juvenile software may also be used, based on the coding for the Audience in either 008 or 006.

Per SCM H 2070 (Software and works about software):

If the primary content of the CD-ROM (or diskette) is a software program:

a. Assign at least one heading to bring out the topic or genre of the software, e.g. Electronic spreadsheets--Software.

"b. Elements that are not brought out in subject headings. Do not assign subject headings to bring out the program language, the make or model of the computer, or the operating system, since access to these elements is provided in the descriptive cataloging data."

c. Do not assign the name of the computer program as a subject when cataloging the program itself. Assign only the appropriate topical headings, as instructed in a. above. However, assign the name of computer program A as a subject if you catalog a computer program B used to exploit computer program A.

If the primary content of the CD-ROM (or diskette) is about a software program:

a. Assign the name of the program. If a name authority record cannot be found for the program, search the LC online catalog and use the name (if title main entry) or name/title combination as found on any records for the program. If no record is found, search Orbis. If no record is found, use the name of the program as found on the item being cataloged.

b. Assign at least one heading to bring out topic/application. If the topic/application heading does not bring out the computer aspect implicitly, add the free-floating subdivision --Computer programs.

A Microsoft Office tutorial on CD-ROM:

630 0 0 ‡a Microsoft Office.
650   0 ‡a Business ‡v Computer programs.

But, a Microsoft Word tutorial on CD-ROM:

630 0 0 ‡a Microsoft Word.
650   0 ‡a Word processing.

Note that --Computer programs is not used as a form subdivision to indicate that the content of the CD-ROM is in electronic form.

245 0 4 ‡a The CD-ROM Judaic classics library.
650   0 ‡a Rabbinical literature.
650   0 ‡a Jewish law.
630 0 0 ‡a Bible. ‡p O.T. ‡v Commentaries.

D. Classification & Call Numbers

Per SCM F 710, software is classed in the same number in which a book about the software would be classed. (LC does not do full shelflisting so a book number isn't assigned; YUL policy requires full shelflisting; book number & date should be assigned.)

Use the format term CD as the last element of the call number. If "(LC)" is used, CD should be the last element of the call number before "(LC)." The format term CD can be used for CD-ROMs, digital audio discs, CD-RWs, etc.

852 0 1 ‡b sml ‡h F1236.5 ‡i D533 CD (LC) <serial>
852 0 0 ‡b sml ‡h TR647 ‡i .M367 2002 CD (LC) <monograph>