Disaster Relief

ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee Question/Answer on Cataloging Issues – June 2011
What kinds of subject headings are applied to works on disaster relief and natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina?


The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) thesaurus has a number of different terms for the various aspects of disaster relief. The primary term is Disaster relief which can be subdivided by the location of the disaster. This term can also be subdivided by a number of specific aspects of disaster relief. For example:

Disaster relief—Finance
Disaster relief—Finance—Law and legislation
Disaster relief—Public relations
Disaster relief–Research

There are also a number of narrower terms such as:

Disaster medicine
Drought relief
Earthquake relief
Emergency clothing supply
Emergency communication systems
Emergency food supply
Emergency housing
Emergency public utility services
Emergency sanitation
Emergency transportation
Emergency water supply
Evacuation of civilians
Food relief
Public shelters
Red Cross and Red Crescent
Rest centers (Disaster relief)
Tsunami relief
War relief

All of these terms can be subdivided geographically.
A number of related terms are also available. For works on disaster relief and churches the subject heading Church work with disaster victims is used. There is also the term Disaster victims and a few narrower terms such as: Child disaster victims; Older disaster victims; and Women disaster victims.
Individual natural disasters are established by name in LCSH. The following are examples of some that are already established. There are many more in the thesaurus as well.

Hurricane Agnes, 1972
Hurricane Andrew, 1992
Hurricane Bob, 1991
Hurricane Diana, 1984
Hurricane Emily, 2005
Hurricane Floyd, 1999
Hurricane Fran, 1996
Hurricane Frances, 2004
Hurricane Gloria, 1985
Hurricane Gustav, 2008
Hurricane Hattie, 1961
Hurricane Igor, 2010
Hurricane Ike, 2008
Hurricane Iris, 2001
Hurricane Isabel, 2003
Hurricane Ivan, 2004
Hurricane Jeanne, 2004
Hurricane Juan, 2003
Hurricane Katrina, 2005
Hurricane Rita, 2005
Hurricane Stan, 2005
Hurricane Wilma, 2005
Labor Day Hurricane, 1935
New England Hurricane, 1938

Other natural disasters are also established individually. Some examples follow:

Cyclone Colina, 1993
Cyclone Heta, 2004
Cyclone Mahina, 1899
Cyclone Nargis, 2008
Cyclone Orissa, 1999
Cyclone Sidr, 2007
Cyclone Tracy, 1974
Erwin Storm, 2005
Indian Ocean Tsunami, 2004

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.