Use of Faceted Terms in Cataloging

In recent years certain non-topical concepts that traditionally have been integrated into Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) have been separated out into their own distinct MARC fields and authorized term lists. These concepts include the form and genre of an item, medium of performance for musical works, audience characteristics, and creator/contributor characteristics. Formerly embedded in LCSH, these concepts can now be encoded in separate MARC fields, making them more readily actionable by computers and therefore usable as facets to refine search results in library catalogs.

During early adoption, these fields may seem duplicative to catalogers, particularly in combination with existing LCSH practices. With time and increased participation, and with retrospective projects to enhance legacy records, these data will become powerful search options for our users.

Note that where specific fields are suggested for addition, they should be added to the bibliographic record in OCLC WorldCat, not in Alma, per the Alliance policy Cataloging at the WorldCat Level.

General best practices for using faceted terms in cataloging

Use of Faceted Terms in Cataloging

Use of Faceted Terms in Cataloging (PDF, updated December 2020)

  • This PDF ready-reference guide created by the Cataloging Standing Group specifies various faceted terms and data appropriate for bibliographic records.
  • This guide includes instructions on:
    • Use of faceted vocabularies (including LCGFT and LCDGT),
    • Associated MARC fields, and
    • Alliance best practices for deployment of these vocabularies in OCLC WorldCat records.
  • Example Records With Faceted Terms (PDF, December 2020)

Best Practices for Recording Faceted Chronological Data in Bibliographic Records

Best Practices for Recording Faceted Chronological Data in Bibliographic Records (June 2020)

  • Created by the ALA SAC Subcommittee on Faceted Vocabularies
  • Provides best practices and numerous examples for the 046 and 388 fields

Additional helpful sites:

Specific format best practices and suggested checklists for using faceted terms

Archival materials

Checklist: add 046, 370, 386, 388, 655


Checklist: add 046, 385, 388, 655

Government documents

Checklist: add 046, 370, 388, 655


Checklist: add 046, 385, 386, 388, 655


Refer to LC’s LCGFT Manual, J 235

Checklist: add 008/33 LitF, 046, 370, 385, 386, 388, 655


Refer to MLA Best Practices and Music Toolkit

Checklist: add 046, 370, 382, 385, 386, 655


Checklist: add 046, 388, 655


Refer to OLAC Best Practices and LC’s LCGFT Manual, J 240

Checklist: add 046, 257, 385, 655