Language & Subject Dictionaries

What subject headings are assigned to language and subject dictionaries?
Guidelines for assigning subject headings to language and subject dictionaries are provided in section H 1540 of the Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings from the Library of Congress. The following is a summary of these guidelines. For additional information, please refer to section H 1540.
Language Dictionaries The Library of Congress defines language dictionaries as “comprehensive, alphabetical lists of words [from one or more languages], usually with definitions” (H 1540, p. 1). For works that fit this definition, subject headings are created by applying the form subdivision Dictionaries to theappropriate LCSH name(s) for the language(s) involved.
For language dictionaries in one language, the following pattern is used:

  • [language] – Dictionaries
  • Example: German language – Dictionaries

For dictionaries in two languages that give “the terms of one language in terms of another” (H 1540, p. 2), the following pattern is used:

  • [1st language] – Dictionaries – [2nd language (with the word language omitted)]
  • Example: Spanish language – Dictionaries – English

Note that the word language is omitted from the subdivision under Dictionaries for dictionaries in two languages.
If a dictionary in two languages also gives terms from the second language “in terms of the first” (H 1540, p. 2), a second subject heading is assigned according to the following pattern:

  • [2nd language] – Dictionaries – [1st language (with the word language omitted)]
  • For example, a general French-English, English-French dictionary would be assigned the

following subject headings:

  • French language – Dictionaries – English
  • English language – Dictionaries – French

For dictionaries that give “for one language the equivalent terms in several other languages” (H 1540, p. 2), the following pattern is used:

  • [name of language] – Dictionaries – Polyglot
  • Example: German language – Dictionaries – Polyglot

If a multi-language dictionary gives terms from “each language in terms of the others,” only the single subject heading Dictionaries, Polyglot is used (H 1540, p. 2)
For works that provide incomplete lists of terms for a language, the form subdivision Glossaries, vocabularies, etc. is used under the name of the language. And for works that provide lists of “expressions, phrases, etc.” (H 1540, p. 1) in a language, the form subdivision Terms and Phrases is used under the name of the language.

 

Subject headings for Subject Dictionaries

The Library of Congress defines subject dictionaries as “works consisting of comprehensive, alphabetical lists of terms pertaining to those subjects, usually with definitions” (H 1540, p. 2). For works that fit this definition, subject headings are created by applying the form subdivision Dictionaries to the appropriate LCSH subject term. This form subdivision is also used under the name of an individual for lists of terms related to that individual (for example, Franz Boas – Dictionaries). For works giving “incomplete lists of terms associated with a given subject” (H 1540, p. 2), the subdivision Terminology is used instead of Dictionaries.
For subject dictionaries in one language, the following pattern is used:

  • [topic] – [place, if appropriate] – Dictionaries – [language if not English]
  • Example: Ethnology – Dictionaries (dictionary is in English)
  • Example: Ethnology – Dictionaries – French (dictionary is in French)
  • Example: Ethnology – France – Dictionaries – French (focuses on ethnology in France)
    • Note that the language name is only used as a subdivision under Dictionaries when the language of the dictionary is not English. Also, note that the word language is omitted from the language name when it is used in this manner.

For subject dictionaries in two languages that give “the terms of one language in terms of another language” (H 1540, p. 3), two subject headings are assigned according to the following pattern:

  • 1. [topic] – [place, if appropriate] – Dictionaries – [1st language if not English]
  • 2. [1st language] – Dictionaries – [2nd language]

In cases where the “second language is also given in terms of the first language” (H 1540, p. 3), two additional subject headings are assigned as follows:

  • 3. [topic] – [place, if appropriate] – Dictionaries – [2nd language]
  • 4. [2nd language] – Dictionaries – [1st language if not English]

Here are three examples for subject dictionaries in two languages:

  • Example 1: English-French dictionary of ethnology
  • Ethnology – Dictionaries
  • English language – Dictionaries – French
  • Example 2: German-English dictionary of ethnology
  • Ethnology – Dictionaries – German
  • German language – Dictionaries
  • Example 3: Dictionary of ethnology: English-German/German-English
  • Ethnology – Dictionaries
  • English language – Dictionaries – German
  • Ethnology – Dictionaries – German
  • German language — Dictionaries

There are several possible subject heading patterns for subject dictionaries in multiple languages, referred to as polyglot dictionaries. For lack of space, these patterns are not summarized here.

Instead, interested readers are encouraged to refer to p. 4 of section H 1540 in the Subject Cataloging Manual.
Finally, section H 1540 provides the following pattern for all picture dictionaries:

  • Picture dictionaries, [language]
  • Example: Picture dictionaries, German (a general picture dictionary)

For topic-specific picture dictionaries, the appropriate heading for a subject dictionary is also assigned:

  • Example: Picture dictionary of architecture
  • Picture dictionaries, English
  • Architecture — Dictionaries
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