Report to ALA ALCTS CCS Subject Cataloging Committee (SAC)
Subcommittee on Form Headings/Subdivision Implementation
LC Cataloging Policy and Support Office
January 29, 1999
LC is on the verge of implementing the new authority data elements that have been in the planning stage for so long and are now eagerly anticipated. The changes to name authority records took place on January 20, 1999. Changes to subject authority records are scheduled to occur in mid-February. LC is now projecting that its catalogers will begin to code form subdivisions as subfield $v in bibliographic records for current cataloging on February 17th. On that date, LC will also begin using subfield $v to identify form subdivisions in new subject authority records and will begin a project to recode form subdivisions in existing subject authority records. These records will be distributed in the regular weekly tape distribution service in batches as they are ready.
Guidelines on form subdivisions and the application of subfield code $v in bibliographic records were included in 1998 Update Number 2 to the Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings, which was issued in autumn 1998. The guidelines call for coding a form subdivision as a $v when it represents what the item being cataloged is and for coding a form subdivision as an $x when it represents what an item is about. To aid in the coding and application of the more than 3,100 free-floating subdivisions of all types in LCSH, LC will begin to create subdivision authority records using the new 18X fields as soon as they are added to LC's subject authority file. Based on data supplied by Gary Strawn of Northwestern University, these records will contain subdivision data in 18X fields and codes in 073 fields that identify their controlling instruction sheet numbers from the Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings (H 1095 - H 1200). Some records will contain references, and all records will contain basic usage statements. A document on subdivision authority records that is illustrated with examples is available on the CPSO web site at <http://lcweb.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/subdauth.html>. LC will create two records for subdivisions, such as --Periodicals, that can function as either form or topical subdivisions. Subdivision records that include topical and form elements will be tagged for the function that the subdivision in the first subfield performs. Additional subfields will be coded for their function in the string.
Form subdivisions were first identified with a diamond in the margin of the 5th edition of the Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings, which was published in 1996, and in the 1997 edition of Free-Floating Subdivisions: An Alphabetical Index. For the 1999 Update Number 1 to the manual and the next edition of the index, the diamonds will be replaced by explicit subfield coding.
Questions on form subdivisions and their coding may be sent to the Cataloging Policy and Support Office at email@example.com.