Free Blogger Templates

What are the two primary methods of subject access?

Library and Information Science Quiz Questions Answers - LIS Quiz


What are the two primary methods of subject access?


A) Subject headings

B) Access points for authors and editors

C) Classification numbers

D) Titles of resources


a) Subject headings and Classification numbers

Subject headings and Classification numbers are the two primary methods of subject access.

Subject cataloging is the phase of the cataloging process which is concerned with determining and describing the intellectual or artistic content and the genre/form characteristics of a resource, and translating that understanding into subject headings and classification notations¹.

After the resource’s aboutness has been determined, as many subject headings as are appropriate are chosen from a standard list. There are many such lists, including: Library of Congress Subject Headings (known as LCSH), the LC Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials, Medical Subject Headings (which is often referred to as MeSH), the Art and Architecture Thesaurus, and so on.

In addition, a classification notation is chosen from whatever classification scheme is used by the library. In the United States, the most likely candidates are the Library of Congress Classification (often referred to as LCC) or the Dewey Decimal Classification (known as DDC).

Traditionally in the U.S., the classification serves as a means for bringing a resource into close proximity with other resources on the same or related subjects. In the case of tangible resources, the classification is the first element of the call number, which is a device used to identify and locate a particular resource on the shelves. 

Subject Heading is defined as the most specific word or group of words that captures the essence of the subject or one of the subjects of a book or other library material (e.g. serial, sound recording, moving image, cartographic material, manuscript, computer file, e-resource etc.) which is selected from a subject heading list containing the preferred subject access terms (controlled vocabulary) and assigned as an added entry in the bibliographic record which works as an access point and enables the work to be searched and retrieved by subject from the library catalog database. Subject headings are also used in a bibliography and index.

Classification Number is a number (numbers or a combination of letters and numbers) that represents the subject or form of an item being cataloged, selected from a classification schedule or classification system. Classification Number is also called class number or class mark. It is the first part of a call number which is used to classify library resources by subject area. In a Relative location, Classification Number also shows the place of the item on the shelves and in relation to other subjects. It translates the name of its specific subject into the artificial language of the notation of the scheme of classification. 



1. Janis L. Young and  Daniel N. Joudrey, Library of Congress, "Library of Congress Subject Headings: Online Training," (accessed March 17, 2020).


Article Title
  • What are the two primary methods of subject access?

Website Name
  • Librarianship Studies & Information Technology


Last Updated
  • 2020-03-22

Original Published Date
  • 2020-03-21

  • Help us improve this Library and Information Science quiz article! Contact us with your feedback. You can use the comments section below, or reach us on social media.