Using and Understanding Library of Congress Subject Headings

In this 6-week eCourse, Bobby Bothmann introduces you to the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) vocabulary and explains the various types of topical and free-floating subject terms. You will learn how to analyze the contents of a resource and convert that analysis into the LCSH controlled vocabulary.

Throughout the course, you will use the print and free online LCSH vocabulary, consult the Subject Headings Manual, and encode subject analysis in the MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data. This eCourse addresses the various types of free-floating subdivisions; the treating of names of persons, families, and corporate bodies as subjects; the use of the rules of three and four; and looks at special problems in subject analysis.

Asynchronous small group discussions will take place. Each weekly module includes a set of exercises, building each week on what was learned in prior weeks.

Please note that this eCourse can also be purchased as part of the Practical Classification and Subject Access Cataloging eCourse Bundle.

After participating in this eCourse, you will be able to:

  • Analyze resources for content analysis
  • Apply LCSH vocabulary in MARC 21
  • Construct simple and complex subject heading strings
  • Select and apply free-floating subdivisions

Bobby Bothmann is metadata & emerging technologies librarian at Minnesota State University, Mankato where he holds the rank of professor in Library Services. Bothmann's primary duties include cataloging books and electronic resources, managing large files full of MARC records, and investigating mobile resources and other new technologies. Bothmann has been an active member of OLAC (OnLine Audiovisual Catalogers) since fall 2000 and has served in various leadership roles including treasurer and president. He is a standing member of the editorial board and former Cataloging News editor for Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. He holds an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee UWM and an MS in Geography and English Technical Communication from MSU Mankato. Bothmann is an adjunct instructor for the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he teaches cataloging and classification courses.

If you have questions or requests regarding accessibility, contact us at or at 312-280-5100.