Civil Rights and Human Rights Subject Headings

What subject headings are assigned to works concerned with civil rights and/or human rights?
The Library of Congress subject heading Civil rights is used for works on citizens’ rights as established by law and protected by constitution. Civil rights is the term used in LCSH for “civil liberties,” “constitutional rights,” “fundamental rights,” and “basic rights.” This heading can be subdivided geographically.

There are a number of related terms, such as:

  • Civil rights and socialism
  • Civil rights demonstrations
  • Civil rights in art
  • Civil rights in literature
  • Civil rights movements
  • Civil rights workers

Most of these can be subdivided geographically. The two exceptions are Civil rights in art and Civil rights in literature.
There are also a number of terms that cover the concept of established religious codes and civil rights. For example:

  • Civil rights (Islamic law)
  • Civil rights (Jewish law)

However the term “Civil rights (Canon law)” is not used. Instead the correct subject heading is:

  • Civil rights—Religious aspects—Catholic Church

For civil rights in Christian theology use:

  • Civil rights—Religious aspects—Christianity

There is also a list of narrower terms that have been established:

  • Discrimination—Law and legislation
  • Due process of law
  • Employee rights
  • Equality before the law
  • Free choice of employment
  • Freedom of association
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of information
  • Freedom of movement
  • Freedom of speech
  • Gay rights
  • Habeas corpus
  • Political rights
  • Privacy, Right of
  • Right of property
  • Right to education
  • Speedy trial
  • State action (Civil rights)

Finally “civil rights” is available as a subdivision under classes of persons and ethnic groups. Therefore one can use headings such as:

  • Ada (African people)—Civil rights*African American social workers—Civil rights
  • Indians of North America—Civil rights
  • Indigenous peoples—Civil rights
  • Prisoners—Civil rights
  • Tipura (Indic people)—Civil rights

Human rights is a very different concept as defined by the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). The term Human rights is used for works on the rights of persons regardless of their legal, socioeconomic or cultural status and as recognized by the international community. The older LCSH for this concept was “Civil rights (International law).” That heading is no longer valid; however it may appear in catalog records for older material. Also, material cataloged before 1987, may have “Civil rights” instead of “Human rights” as the subject heading. The heading “Human rights” can also be subdivided geographically.
There are a number of related terms also available, such as:

  • Human security
  • Transnational justice
  • Truth commissions
  • Human rights advocacy
  • Human rights and globalization
  • Human Rights Day
  • Human rights field operations
  • Human rights in art
  • Human rights in literature
  • Human rights in mass media
  • Human rights in motion pictures
  • Human rights in the Hadith
  • Human rights monitoring
  • Human rights movements
  • Human rights workers

Most of these can be subdivided geographically, except for the ones concerned with human rights in an art form or the media.
There is also the subject heading Human rights—Anthropological aspects. This heading can be subdivided by place and has the broader term, Political anthropology.
Finally, there are quite a few narrower terms, such as:

  • Children’s rights
  • Respect for persons—Law and legislation
  • Right to food
  • Right to health care
  • Right to housing
  • Right to Internet access
  • Right to labor
  • Right to life
  • Right to water
  • Sexual rights
  • Slavery—Law and legislation
  • Social rights
  • Women’s rights

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