6xx headings

Introduction | Copy Cataloging Instructions | Reference Information and Examples

Fields: 600, 610, 611, 630, 650, 651, 655


The 6XX fields contain controlled vocabulary terms (standardized text). A controlled vocabulary is a carefully selected list of words and phrases which are used to tag units of information so that they may be more easily retrieved by a search. They reduce ambiguity inherent in normal human languages where the same concept can be given different names and ensure consistency.  For example, authorized terms handle choices between variant spellings (American ‘color’ vs. British ‘colour’), choice among scientific and popular terms (cockroaches vs. periplaneta Americana), and choices between synonyms (automobile vs. car).  There are two main kinds of controlled vocabulary tools used in libraries: subject heading schemes and thesauri.  In the SMU catalog we most often use subject headings in the 6xx fields, although in the 655 fields thesauri are used on occasion for special materials or specialized content.

Subject headings: 600, 610, 611, 630, 650, 651 fields

A subject heading is a term or phrase created to represent a concept, event or name.  Catalogers assign to the work being cataloged one or more subject headings that best summarize the overall content of the work and provide access to its most important topics.  Subject headings indicate what the book is about.


There are several major subject heading schemes including NLM (medical), NAL (agriculture), NLC (French language), Sears (public library scheme), and LCSH (Library of Congress scheme). The Library of Congress Subject Headings scheme is the standard used in most academic library catalogs including SMU’s.  


To a certain degree subject headings parallel the structure of the 1XX, 7XX, and 8XX fields. There are personal name subject headings (600), corporate body subject headings (610), conference/meeting subject headings (611) and uniform title subject headings (630).  Additionally there is the 650 field for headings about topical subjects and the 651 field for headings about geographic areas.

Genre/Form headings: 655 fields

These headings consist of terms indicating the form, genre and/or physical characteristics of the materials being cataloged.  The headings indicate what the book is intellectually/physically.

Note: There is overlap in terms used as subject headings and genre/form headings. Cataloging practices have changed over time and online catalogs reflect these changes in usage.    


For example: Feature films.


650:_ 0: |a Feature films (used as a topical subject heading on a book about feature films)

655:_ 7: |a Feature films (a form subject heading on a bib record when the item being cataloged is a feature film)


A genre term designates specific kinds of materials distinguished by the style or technique of their intellectual content (biographies, reviews, legal drama, Arthurian romances, etc.).


Form headings designate kinds of materials distinguished by their physical character, order of information in the item, or the subject of the intellectual content (e.g., diaries, directories, syllabi).  


Both types of headings are entered in 655 fields using established thesauri.  These thesauri differ from a thesaurus such as Roget’s Thesaurus.  These thesauri are agreed upon terms chosen by experts in specific fields (e.g., the Art and Architecture Thesaurus created by the Getty Research Institute). The standard published list used for a genre and form term is identified either by the second indicator code or by subfield |2 which contains the code for the source of the term. Two of the most commonly occurring thesauri used in our catalog are: Genre Terms : A Thesaurus for Use in Rare Book and Special Collections Cataloguing with the code |2 rbgenr and Guidelines on Subject Access to Individual Works of Fiction, Drams, etc. with the code |2 gsafd.  See the Reference Information and Examples section for samples of usage.

Copy Cataloging Instructions

Accept all 6XX fields on incoming copy.


Refer records for any non-fiction titles with no LC subject headings (6XX _ 0) to a cataloger.

Reference Information and Examples

For complete coding information, consult OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards, 6XX.  

Commonly Used Subdivision Subfields

Subject heading subdivisions bring out various aspects or facets of the main subject. Many subdivisions are specific to the type of entry. However, there are several commonly used subdivisions. Most often the main subject is divided by form (subfield |v), topical aspect (subfield |x), time period (subfield |y), or place (subfield |z). These subfields may also be combined to form a chain of subdivisions.  Like the main subject entry (|a) the subject subdivisions are controlled by authority records and Library of Congress rules for usage.

Subfield v       Form subdivision

The form subdivision is a specific kind or genre of material as defined by the thesaurus being used.  A form subdivision in subfield |v is generally the last subfield in the field.

600:10: |a Lincoln, Abraham, |d 1809-1865 |v Correspondence.

610:20: |a Olympics Games |n (23rd : |d 1984 : |c Los Angeles, Calif.) |v Pictorial works.

650:_0: |a Canned fish |x Marketing |v Exhibitions.

Subfield x       General subdivision

The general subdivision is a subject subdivision that is not more appropriately contained in subfield |v, |y or |z.  



600:10: |a Shakespeare, William, |d 1564-1616 |x Characters.

651:_0: |a Aix-en-Provence (France) |x Social life and customs.

610:20: |a Microsoft Corporation |x History.

Subfield y       Chronological subdivision

The chronological subdivision is a subject subdivision that represents a period of time.


611:20: |a Derby (Horse race) |x History |y 20th century.

650:_ 0:|a Geology, Stratigraphic |y Miocene.

651:_ 0:|a Great Britain |x Civilization |y To 1066.

Subfield z       Geographical subdivision

When the geographic aspect of the subject is of significance geographic subdivisions are used.  Geographic subdivisions indicate the geographic area to which treatment of a topic is limited. They may designate where something is located, or where something is from, depending upon the topic.


600:10:|a Adams, John, |d 1735-1826 |x Monuments |z Washington Metropolitan Area.

610:20: |a Episcopal Church. |z Alaska |x Clergy.

650:_0: |a Harbors |z Australia |z Sydney (N.S.W.)

Subfield t        Title of a work

Subfield |t is the next most common subfield used in subject headings. It is a valid subfield for fields 600, 610, and 611 and is used when the work is about the title in the subfield |t.


600:10:|a Heller, Joseph. |t Catch-22.

610:20:|a American Library Association. |b Cooperative Cataloging Committee. |t Report.

611:20:|a Council of Trent, |d (1545-1563). |t Canones et decreta.

Name Subject Headings: 600 / 610 / 611


1st indicator    Varies according to the specific tag used. Refer to OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards, 6XX. 


2nd indicator   Thesaurus (code for scheme used)


0 (zero) Library of Congress subject heading

600 Personal Name Subject Entry

This subject entry type is used for a work about a person such as biographies, autobiographies, and scholarly works about a person or family.


600:00: |a Hildegarde, |c Saint.

600:30: |a Morton family.

600:10: |a King, Stephen, |d 1947-

610 field Corporate Name Subject Entry

This subject entry type is used for a work about a corporate body (a group of people, company, etc.).


610:20: |a Enron Corp. |x Auditing |x Corrupt practices.

610:10: |a United States. |b Supreme Court.

610:20: |a Rolling Stones |v Anecdotes.

611 field Meeting Name Subject Entry

This subject entry type is used for a work about a meeting/event.  Conference or meeting names include the names of athletic contests, conferences, exhibitions, expositions, festivals, meetings and scientific expeditions.


611:20:|a International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia.

611:20:|a Festival of Britain |d (1951 : |c London, England)

611:20:|a Olympic Games |n (23rd : |d 1984 : |c Los Angeles, Calif.) |v Pictorial works.


Subfield codes for the 600/610/611 fields are specific to the type of added entry. Refer to the OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards, 6XX. 


630 Uniform Title Subject Headings

A uniform title is used as a subject added entry for works about another work. They include anonymous works, names of journals and newspapers, radio and television programs, motion pictures, treaties, etc.   


1st indicator    Non filing characters


0          Current practice is to enter the title without articles and use 1st indicator value 0


2nd indicator   Thesaurus (code for scheme used)


0           Library of Congress subject heading


630:00:|a New Yorker (New York, N.Y. : 1925) |x History.

630:00:|a Treaty of Utrecht |d (1713)

630:00:|a Arabian nights |x History |y 20th century.

630:00: |a Sopranos (Television program)

650 Topical Term Subject Headings

A topical subject added entry consists of a general subject term including the names of events or objects. This type of subject heading is the most commonly used subject heading.


1st indicator    Level of subject


            blank   No level specified (common usage for LC Subject Headings)


2nd indicator   Thesaurus (code for scheme used)


0 (zero) Library of Congress subject heading  


650:_0:|a Biomedical engineering.

650:_0:|a Ramotswe, Precious (Fictitious character) |v Fiction

650:_0:|a Tet Offensive, 1968.

650:_0:|a Universities and colleges |x Accreditation.


651 Geographic Name Subject Headings

Geographic subject heading entries include works about archeological sites, geographic regions, celestial bodies, natural features, etc.


1st indicator    Undefined


            blank   Undefined


2nd indicator   Thesaurus (code for scheme used)


0 (zero) Library of Congress subject heading


651:_ 0: |a Pompeii (Extinct city)

651:_ 0: |a Milky Way.

651:_ 0: |a Grand Canyon (Ariz.) |x History |v Congresses.

651:_ 0: |a Yellowstone National Park |x Description and travel.

651:_ 0: |a Texas |x History |y 19th century |v Biography.

655  Genre/Form headings

This is a term indicating the form, genre and/or physical characteristics of the materials being described.


1st indicator    The type of heading in the field.


blank   Basic. Genre/form data are recorded in a single occurrence of subfield |a.


2nd indicator   Thesaurus.

0                    Library of Congress

7          Source specified in subfield |2



655:_ 7: |a Cookbooks |z Virginia |z Richmond |y 19th century. |2 rbgenr

655:_ 0: |a Psychological fiction.

655:_ 7: |a Suspense fiction. |2 gsafd

655:_ 7: |a Pastoral poems. |2 rbgenr




cil        4/13/2010

Clare Lattimore



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