When “public opinion” is used as a subdivision in LCSH under a topic/group of people, does it refer to the public opinion of the group of people, or to the public opinion about that topic/group of people?
Public opinion: used as a subdivision in LCSH under a topic/group of people refers to the public opinion about that topic/group of people.
As stated in the LC Subject Cataloging Manual (H1955):
If a heading designating a class of persons or ethnic group is used, the heading refers to the group of people as the topic of the opinion, not to the group of people holding the opinion. For example, the heading Police– New York (State) – New York –Public opinion refers to public opinion about the police, not to opinions held by the police.
The rules for assigning headings to books on public opinion in the LC Subject Cataloging Manual (H1955) are:
General rule . Assign to works about public opinion on a topic the following combination of headings:
(1) [ topic ]–[place, if appropriate]–Public opinion
(2) Public opinion–[place].
First heading. The topic in the first heading is the topic about which the opinion is held. Divide the topic by place to bring out the location of the topic, not the place where the opinion is held .
Second heading. The place in the second heading identifies the location of the people who hold the opinion. If no specific location is identified in the work being cataloged, omit the second heading
- Title: What New Yorkers’ really think about the NYPD.
- Police $z New York (State) $z New York $x Public opinion
- Public opinion $z New York (State) $z New York
- Police-community relations $z New York (State) $z New York
- Title: How Islamic nations view their women.
- Women $z Islamic countries $x Public opinion
- Public opinion $z Islamic countries
- Women in public life $z Islamic countries
If the work discusses the opinion held by the group assign the heading [class of persons or ethic group] — Attitudes
- Title: What college students in San Francisco really feel about drugs.
- College students $z California $z San Francisco $x Attitudes.
- Drug abuse $z United States