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Use of 653 Field For Keywords Not Found in LSCH

As those of you who catalog theses know, LCSH does not always contain the precise subject heading needed for a particular work. Often this is because the term is so new that there have not been enough books about it for LC to establish it as a heading. The other reason LCSH may not contain a desired term is that it is often too broad for some of the particular concepts in a thesis, making precise description impossible. And then there is the case where the LC Classification Schedules provide a call number for a particular subject but there is no corresponding subject heading in LCSH.

Therefore, the decision has been made to start assigning keywords to theses and other print works just as we’ve done for some electronic resources. However, use them sparingly. You should observe the following restrictions:

  • If there is an existing heading for a concept in LSCH, use the LCSH term.
  • If the subject is a person, corporate entity, or conference, use the proper authorized form of name in a 600, 610, or 611 field.

If neither of these is the case, assign a specific descriptive keyword or keyword phrase and place it in the 653 field. Both indicators are blank. You may repeat the 653 field as needed. Do not just dump a bunch of unrelated keywords in a single 653 field. Instead use multiple 653s for each concept. Examples of keywords that may be used are those for a species of animal not in LSCH or a mathematical equation with no term in LCSH. Highly technical terms that are two narrow to fit an LSCH heading may also be used as keywords.

Correct uses of 653:

  • 653 b b $a Hydrophilic drugs
  • 653 b b $a Amazonian spotted wildcat

Incorrect use of 653:

  • 653 b b $a Space travel – quantum star drive – Alpha Centauri – wormholes

Use instead:

  • 650 b 0 $a Space flight
  • 651 b 0 $a Alpha Centauri
  • 653 b b $a Quantum star drive
  • 653 b b $a Wormholes

You should search the Voyager subject index and see if we’ve already used a particular keyword for a subject before assigning a completely new keyword. Always check LCSH first when using a keyword, especially if you’ve used it before, to make sure the term hasn’t been established in the interim. If a term has been established in LCSH, report the keyword and new subject heading to Helen’s unit so that they can change previous records to the new subject heading.