Things I’ve learned in cataloging class

  • There exists a Library of Congress subject heading for "roller disco." Unsurprisingly, when I searched WorldCat for it, eight of the ten results were first published between 1979 and 1981.
  • You can also catalog works on roller disco using a combination of the subject headings "Roller skating" and "Disco dancing."
  • There’s an entire MARC fixed field devoted to identifying whether or not the item being cataloged is a festschrift. No doubt that made sense at the time, but even our professor finds it hilarious.
  • If I ever publish a book and put "Ph.D." after my name  (which I’d never do, because it’s obnoxious), the "Ph.D." part wouldn’t appear in the MARC record for the book. But if I move to England, become a British subject, get named Dame Commander or Baroness of Whatsit, and then publish a book, I’d get to be Dame or Baroness in library catalogs ever after. (Why? Well, they don’t call them the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules for nothing.)
  • Steve Lawson at See Also… created an LCSH fiction quiz: guess the novel by its subject headings. I always did wonder how on earth you’d create subject headings for #1. (I didn’t learn this in class, but I thought I’d link it anyway.)
  • I’m still gaping at the fact that people actually wrote entire books about roller disco. Even in 1979.

If you like this kind of thing, I recommend the Wacky and Weird Subject Headings Wiki. Personally, I’m delighted that someone at the Library of Congress decided that "Names carved on trees" merits its very own subject heading.

One Response to “Things I’ve learned in cataloging class”

  1. Anne says:

    Looking for odd subject headings was the only pleasure I really got out of cataloging class. Here’s one of my all time favorites:
    Fingers — Wounds and injuries — Fiction