Weird Library of Congress Subject Headings

For my official farewell party I prepared a special round about weird LCSH for my library colleagues. It was great fun above all because my manager had troubles recognising most of them. To be honest it was difficult but we laughed a lot!

Feel free to take inspiration from my round.


  • Weird Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). Test your cataloguing level…for fun.
  1. Chickens in Religion and Folklore
  2. Marijuana in Motion Pictures
  3. Bondage and discipline (Sexual behavior)
  4. Feet in the Bible
  5. Sex customs–Communist countries
  6. Spontaneous combustion–Periodicals
  7. Boring–Mathematical models
  8. Odor effects in theaters
  9. Dentists in Art
  10. Flapjacks

If you are a cataloguer try to answer and then check the results in the first comment.


Supervise: a new journey

Just a couple of weeks ago I accepted to embrace a new challenge. I am responsible for the cataloguing activities of the new collections officer that joined our team a month ago. Briefly, I am now supervising!

In the specific I am asked to teach how to amend the imported cataloguing records for DVDs, according to our cataloguing policy. Despite the task could appear limited it actual requires me a lot of planning in order to deliver it properly. I have to prepare a defined training program that does not contain neither too much information (overload) not poor explanation. Not so easy.

Before moving to the practical part (amending cataloguing records) I have to make sure that the officer understands the cataloguing activity process and the basic principles of AACR2, MARC21 that govern it.

I therefore decided to plan the first session and cover the following topics, in this way:
• Brief overview of MARC21 and AACR2
• Understanding the DVD as a specific item
• Introduction/meaning of specific MARC fields using the Cataloguing module on SirsiDynix
o 1XX/7XX [Author/Added entry]
o 245 [Title]
o 246 [Varian title]
o 260 [Publication info]
o 300 [Physical description]

Desirable outcomes of our first session:

• Awareness of the 1XX/7XX, 245, 246, 260 and 300 marc fields
• Amending imported record [practical exercise]

After the session I monitored her cataloguing work and I have to admit that I was impressed by the result. I felt extremely exhausted, teaching how to catalogue it’s really demanding. It is not only about teaching how to follow specific rules but above all developing the so called cataloguer’s judgment by understand the author’s intention and when a rule should not be followed. It definitely requires patience and hard work, but I am confident that I will transfer this skill naturally with time.

At the end, the officer was satisfied by my explanation of the whole process and I am actively motivating her to be curious and I welcome her bombarding with questions. The next session is planned the next week. Wish me luck!