New iteration: Using and Understanding Library of Congress Subject Headings eCourse

For Immediate Release
Thu, 05/09/2019


Colton Ursiny

Office Coordinator

ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions

Chicago—ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions announces a new iteration of our popular eCourse, Using and Understanding Library of Congress Subject Headings. Bobby Bothmann will serve as the instructor for a 6-week facilitated eCourse starting on Monday, July 1, 2019.

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.

Synchronous and 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. The dates for the two live events are Thursdays, July 11 and 25, 2019 at 11:00am Central/12:00pm Eastern.

eCourse outline

Week 1

  • Principles of Subject Analysis
  • Specificity and Directness
  • Aboutness vs. Isness
  • Analysis vs. Indexing
  • MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data coding
  • LCSH Tools
  • Subject Headings Manual (SHM)

Week 2

  • Order of subject headings
  • Broader and Narrower terms
  • Scope notes
  • Topical free-floating subdivisions

Week 3

  • Geographic names as subjects
  • Geographic names as free-floating subdivisions
  • Jurisdictions as subjects

Week 4

  • Pattern headings
  • Chronological free-floating subdivisions
  • Form free-floating subdivisions
  • Subject analysis for history and literature

Week 5

  • Agents as subjects
  • Fictitious, legendary, & non-human characters
  • Class of persons headings
  • Biography

Week 6

  • Special problems in subject analysis
  • Co-extensive subjects
  • Rule of three
  • Rule of four
  • Relationship to classification

About the Instructor

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.

Registration for this ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions facilitated eCourse, which begins on July 1, 2019, can be purchased at the ALA Store. Participants in this course will need regular access to a computer with an internet connection for online message board participation, viewing online video, listening to streaming audio (MP3 files), and downloading and viewing PDF and PowerPoint files.

ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions (ELS) produces high-quality professional development events and materials for the library profession. ELS events cover modern issues on a wide variety of topics in formats that include live workshops, asynchronous eCourses, and print publications. We help ensure that today’s library employees have access to the professional development opportunities they need, whether they are brushing up on the basics or expanding their horizons with cutting-edge tools. Contact us at

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness, and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide.