Subject Subdivisions

IntroductionTypes of Subdivisions

Introduction

Subject subdivisions may be used in conjunction with any subject heading, including subjects based on name authorities. This does not mean that any subject subdivision may be used under any subject heading, but that it is possible to see some kind of subject subdivision under any heading used as a subject.

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Types of Subdivisions

There are four basic types of subject subdivisions.

Chronological
Chronological subdivisions are used to indicate the time period covered in the content of the item. These subdivisions are separated from the main subject and other subdivisions by the subfield code |y.

Form
Form subdivisions are used to indicate the form of material being catalogued. Examples include the subdivisions |x Bibliography; |x Congresses; and |x Dictionaries.

The proposal has been made to use a new MARC subfield code |v to distinguish these terms for topical subdivisions; however, the Library of Congress has not yet implemented this suggestion, and the subfield code |x is still used.

Geographic
Geographic subdivisions are used to show the area covered by the content of the item. These are separated from the main subject with the subfield code |z.

Topical
Topical subdivisions restrict a certain heading to a particular subtopic. In other words, a subject heading may be made more specific with a topical subdivision. These are separated from the main subject with the subfield code |x.

Many subject authority records consist of a main subject combined with corresponding subject subdivision(s). The presence of an authority record containing such a combination represents the Library of Congress' authorization to use the combination in a bibliographic record. The subject will appear in the tag appropriate for the type of heading, followed by the appropriate MARC subfield code and the subject subdivision.

More than one subject subdivision may be combined with a subject heading. Not every possible combination is established, but if the individual combinations are present, then that is usually considered justification for other combinations.

Other subdivisions will be authorized by the fact that a subdivision is considered "free-floating", or by the consideration that it appears on the appropriate "Pattern" list. These types of subdivisions will be discussed later.

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