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Modifying Assigned Subject Headings

  • Cataloging
  • Live Learning Event
  • 2 CE Hours


Changes can be slow to come to the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) list. Prior to 1996 changes to the agreed language were almost impossible to make, but even now the process is complex and time-consuming. Some libraries choose to make local changes to the subject heading language to make it more accessible to and inclusive of their community members. In this hands-on, live learning event, we’ll review our recommendations for assessing and verifying subject headings, followed by a demonstration of how modifications might be made. 

Live Learning Event Expectations

Live learning events (LLEs) are designed to mimic the real-time, hands-on engagement of an in-person workshop. 

  • LLEs require real-time attendance; no recordings will be made of these sessions. 
  • LLEs are highly interactive and feature group discussions, breakout sessions, and collaborative exercises. Attendees should have access to a microphone (or headset) and a camera to participate most fully.   
  • LLEs are in-depth training sessions that focus on practical projects and real-world skills. Attendees will be asked to complete brief readings and assignments between workshop meetings. Review the “Notes” section below for additional details or prerequisites for this event. 

Attendees of this live learning event will have the opportunity to: 

  • Review the basic steps for assessing and verifying LCSH information in a MARC record. 
  • Walk through the process of removing and modifying subject information in your local records 
  • Practice searching for, evaluating, and modifying subject information for best use by their communities


Attendees should ideally have access to their usual cataloging tools for this session. 

Attendees should plan to bring 1-2 physical items to use during our record searching exercises. 

If you’re very new to working with subject headings, we recommend attending the following webinars—or watching the recordings in the Training Archive—before participating in this live learning event: 

Overview of Subject Headings
Assessing Assigned Subject Headings 

Who Should Attend

Individuals who are responsible for editing, maintaining catalog data and anyone with an interest in the topic.


Tim Keller Head of Discovery and Metadata Services

Tim Keller is the Head of Discovery and Metadata Services at Oberlin College and Conservatory, after spending two years as the Head of Cataloging and Metadata at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Tim earned his MLIS from Kent State University in 2009, and also holds a second MS in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management (User Experience Design). In addition to cataloging and making information discoverable, Tim serves as the Subject Headings Working Group Leader under the Cataloging Ethics Steering Committee.