What are subject headings are used for the Caribbean geographic area?
LC defines the Caribbean Area as “the region that lies between continental North and South America and consists of the archipelago of the West Indies, the Caribbean Sea and the adjacent mainland regions, including Southern Mexico, the countries of Central America, Columbia and Venezuela.”
Note: This is neither a strictly geographical nor a cultural definition of the Caribbean. It includes the Bahamas and the Turk and Caicos Islands which are not in the Caribbean Sea but located in the Atlantic Ocean, but excludes Bermuda, the Gulf coast of the US, Guyana, Surinam, and French Guiana even though they are all part of the larger cultural area which social scientists often refer to as the Circum-Caribbean area (anthropologist M.G. Smith extends this area down to northeast Brazil), however, LC does not use this term. It is also not a political definition since the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) includes several of these states excluded by LC.
- Caribbean Area may be subdivided by all subdivisions used under geographic places. For example:
- –African influences
- –American influences
- –French influences
- –Description and travel
- –Economic conditions
- –Foreign relations
- –Politics and government
- –Social condition
- –Social life and customs
The Caribbean Area is also represented by Caribbean, English-speaking and Caribbean, French-speaking for those islands where the official language is either English or French.
A narrower term is West Indies which for LC includes “the Bahamas, and the Greater and Lesser Antilles” but not mainland areas. Narrower terms for the West Indies are Greater Antilles (the larger, northwestern islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico) and the Lesser Antilles (the smaller, more easterly islands running from the Virgin Islands, in a southeasterly arch to Trinidad but also including the Dutch islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire to the west of the Antilles proper and off the coast of Venezuela). The Lesser Antilles can also be divided into the Leeward Islands (West Indies) and the Windward Islands (West Indies). These terms, originally having to do with the relative exposure to the prevailing trade winds, have been used in various ways, usually the Leeward are the more northerly of the Lesser Antilles and Windward the more southern of them.
The LC definition for Leeward Islands is: Here are entered works on the non-jurisdictional West Indian island grouping called the Leeward Islands. Works on the former British colony of the same name are entered under the name heading Leeward Islands (Federation). The Wikipedia definition in the authority record is: The Leeward Islands are the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles: the Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Saint Martin (Guadeloupe (north part) and Netherlands Antilles (south part), Saba (Netherlands Antilles), Sint Eustatius (Netherlands Antilles), Saint Barthélemy, Antigua, Barbuda, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Dominica; the tiny and remote Isla Aves may perhaps be included with this group for convenience.
The LC definition for Windward Islands is: Here are entered works on the non-jurisdictional West Indian island grouping called the Windward Islands. Works on the former British colony of the same name are entered under Windward Islands (Jurisdiction). The Wikipedia definition in the authority record is: Windward Islands are the southern islands of the Lesser Antilles: Martinique, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Saint Vincent, The Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad, Tobago.
West Indies may also be qualified by British or French (e.g., West Indies, British) which are those islands owned or a part of Great Britain or France. The Dutch islands are given the subject heading Netherlands Antilles.
Latin America may also be used as a subject heading for “works dealing collectively with the area and/or countries south of the Rio Grande” including the West Indies and to the “Spanish, Portuguese, English and/or French-speaking countries.”
Dealing with the Caribbean Area means dealing with islands. The Subject Heading Manual states:
The treatment of islands in subject cataloging presents several unique and complex problems, especially with regard to geographic qualification and geographic subdivision practice. A large number of the world’s islands are jurisdictional names, and as such are established as corporate headings and assigned in the same form as subject headings. Many islands, however, are by their nature merely geographic features and, as such, must be established as subject headings.
The first choice of subject heading is political entity. Note that Hispaniola is comprised of two independent countries, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. On the other hand, subject headings for islands which are not jurisdictions are treated differently: “Individual islands or island groups that lie near a land mass and are under its jurisdiction, as well as those individual islands that are part of a jurisdictional island cluster are to use the name of the jurisdiction as geographic qualifier,” e.g.,
- Tortuga Island (Haiti)
The Subject Heading Manual states that individual islands are not divided through broader geographic terms such as West Indies; Leeward Islands (West Indies); or Greater Antilles:
- not Ethnology–Greater Antilles–Haiti
Names of individual islands that are part of “a multi-island country or country equivalent” follow the heading for the appropriate controlling jurisdiction:
- Ethnobotany–Netherlands Antilles–Bonaire