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Dance Research at the Library of Congress

Subject Headings & Name Authorities

Underwood & Underwood. A ball-room scene in colonial days--our great-grand-parents were young once too. 1900. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

Library of Congress Subject Headings and the Library of Congress Name Authority File are tools available not only to librarians but also to library users. They are especially helpful for expert researchers. Both catalog records and online finding aids contain these authoritative forms of subjects, places, and people to unify the description of items. These links take users to related resources with the same description.

There are many ways to use subject headings and name authorities. You can:

  • discover resources with topics, organizations, persons, or languages in common
  • learn authoritative spellings of names, places, and subjects
  • find more specific sub-headings within a broader topic - and use them when you browse the online catalog
  • learn outdated or updated terminology related to a subject, profession, or culture

Click the subject heading links in catalog records and finding aids to see where they will take you. You never know what resources you may discover.

Remember, if you ever need help, Ask a Librarian.