Inherently Legal Subject Headings Project
Cataloging and Classification Standing Committee
- Yael Mandelstam
Fordham Law School Library
The Project thanks the Duquesne Center for Legal Information and Amy Lovell for developing and hosting this website from 2004-2009.
The purpose of the Inherently Legal Subject Headings Project, 2004-2008, was to submit proposals to the Library of Congress (LC) for adding "Law and legislation" see references to legal headings included in the Library of Congress Subject Headings thesaurus (LCSH). Adding see references helps clarify the inherently legal status of these headings, decreases at least some of the misuses of "Law and legislation" in our shared bibliographic databases, and facilitates more effective automatic validation of headings.
An existing example of a "Law and legislation" see reference can be seen in the authority record for Copyright:
010 sh 85032446
450 Copyright $x Law and legislation
A look at our shared bibliographic databases show that “obviously legal” headings like Law, Regulation, and Jurisprudence are usually correctly identified as legal and are therefore appropriately used. On the other hand, headings like Human rights, Bankruptcy, and Property are often identified as non-legal and are incorrectly assigned "Law and legislation" subdivisions.
NOTE: This type of error is twofold: catalogers identify certain legal headings as non legal, and they use "Law and legislation" as a free floating subdivision,
Unless established by LC, “Law and legislation” is authorized to be used as a subdivision only when controlled by specific pattern headings. For the correct use of "Law and legislation" subdivision, see Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings (SCM:SH), H1705 (Legal materials: Law and Legislation and Other Subdivisions) and H1145-H1200 (Subdivisions Controlled by Pattern Headings).
The ILSH Project was created to:
- compile a list of legal subject headings;
- identify legal headings that warrant “Law and legislation” see references; and
- submit proposals to the Library of Congress for adding "Law and legislation" see references to the authority records of the identified headings.
The ILSH project was conceived at the 2004 AALL annual meeting in Boston, during the TS-SIS Cataloging & Classification Roundtable.The website was created and maintained from 2004-2009 by Amy Lovell, Manager of Database Systems at Duquesne University Center for Legal Information.
The project was divided into two stages:
Stage #1 (completed December 2005)
Participants combed through the Library of Congress Subject Headings (also known as The Big Red Books), in search of legal subject headings. Once found, participants posted the legal headings on this site (see the A-Z list).
NOTE: The following were excluded from the A-Z list:
- Headings containing certain "obviously legal" words (and their various permutations) that are used in multiple legal headings (e.g. law, jurisprudence, trials).
- Headings that already had "Law and legislation" see references in the authority records.
Stage #2 (completed October 2008)
A task force was created to examine the compiled legal headings, identify those that warrant "Law and legislation" see references, and submit proposals to LC for adding the references to the authority records.
Headings submitted to LC are marked by an asterisk (*) on the A-Z list.
Revised: 5/9/2005, 6/7/2005, 1/11/2006, 2/9/2006, 5/20/2006, 2/19/2007, 1/4/2008, 8/18/2008, 9/7/2009