Why are Festschrift honorees not usually listed as a subject heading on bibliographic records for books that are written in their honor?
The rules for assigning Library of Congress Subject Headings state that a subject heading should be assigned if at least 20% of the book is on that subject. However, although most Festschrifts name the honoree prominently, the books frequently contain only a short chapter on the honoree. The book usually consists of chapters on the same subject (example, ethnology in Polynesia) for which the honoree is famous, but the book does not contain 20% of text solely on the honoree.
So how does one locate books written as Festschrifts?
The honoree is always given a 700 (personal name–added entry) on the record. People sometimes think of a 700 as an added-author entry, but the 700 is actually defined as a “personal name–added entry.” Therefore searching this field by the honoree’s name, will bring up both books (s)he co-wrote, edited, etc., as well as books written in his/her honor.
The cataloger is also required to add a note stating that the book is a Festschrift, if this information is not already apparent in the title.
Finally, a fixed field is coded in the record, marking the record as a Festschrift. Therefore, if your computer system can use this coded field to refine searches, you could search for materials under the honorees name that are Festschrifts.