Subject Headings for Homes, Housing, and Architecture

ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee

Question/Answer on Cataloging Issues – January 2016

Question: What subject headings are used for materials on homes, housing, and architecture?

By Carolyn J. McCallum, Wake Forest University

During the fall 2015 semester, I and a coworker conducted a library instruction session for a professor who was teaching a first year seminar entitled “Archaeology of the Home” which investigated the history and functions of homes as well as their meaning in society. The textbook for the course was Jerry D. Moore’s The Prehistory of Home (University of California Press, 2012). In the first chapter, Moore states:

   Various animals build shelters, but only humans build homes. Humans build dwellings in different environments, constructed with diverse materials and in distinct forms, and associated with nuanced meanings. We have done this for millennia.

   No other species lives in such a variety of shelters. Despite the diversity of the constructions that other animals create—the pendulous baskets of oriole nests, the intricate dens of prairie dogs, or the decorated nests of bowerbirds—humans construct the broadest array of dwellings on Earth.

   Our words for “dwelling” point to this diversity:

Palace, hovel, hogan, ranch house, croft.
Tipi, chalet, duplex, kraal.
Igloo, bungalow, billet, cabin.
Cottage, crannog, adobe, manor.
Wickiup, villa, lean-to, abbey.
Hacienda, barrack, lodge, shanty.
Pithouse, penthouse, pueblo, condo. (pages 1-2)

This month’s cataloging Q&A examines Library of Congress (LC) subject headings used for materials on homes, housing, and architecture. Below is just a sampling of the numerous headings relevant to this month’s Q&A topic. It is by no means a comprehensive list.

The main subject heading Home can be subdivided topically and geographically (e.g. Home–Religious aspects ; Home–Psychological aspects ; Home–United States). If an individual searches for the term “homes” in an online catalog, they will be directed to use the authorized headings Housing or Dwellings.

Housing is applied to “works on the social and economic aspects of housing”, and the heading may also be used as a subdivision under classes of persons and ethnic groups (e.g. Welfare recipients–Housing ; Eskimos–Housing). Whereas, Dwellings is applied to “works on the history and description of human shelters. Works on the architectural aspects of residences are entered under Architecture, Domestic.” Additionally, Dwellings may also be used as a subdivision under classes of persons and ethnic groups (e.g. Kings and rulers—Dwellings). Homes and haunts is used as a subdivision under classes of persons and under names of individual persons, families, and performing groups (e.g. Actors–Homes and haunts–England–London ; Hemingway, Ernest, |d 1899-1961– Homes and haunts).

The subject heading Architecture is applied to “works on the design and style of structures.” The individual terms Building and Buildings have specific meanings and uses in LC’s subject authority file. Building is used for “works on the process of construction,” while Buildings is applied to “works on structures or edifices.”

Architecture is subdivided geographically for “works on architecture indigenous to the place named (e.g. Architecture–Japan). A national qualifier is applied to the heading Architecture “for works on architecture of the type named in the qualifier but located in other places” (e.g. Architecture, Japanese–United States).

Narrower terms related to Housing include:

  • Congregate housing
  • Discrimination in housing
  • Emergency housing – “Here are entered works on short-term housing or shelter provided in response to disasters or crises. Works on housing for those in need of temporary living quarters, such as housing for students or migrant workers, are entered under Temporary housing” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Home ownership
  • Homelessness
  • Households
  • Housing authorities
  • Housing management
  • Housing, Rural
  • Industrial housing – Here are entered works on housing provided by an industry to its employees. Works on communities in which all or the major portion of the property and businesses are owned by one industry are entered under Company towns” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Infill housing – Per Wikipedia, “infill housing is the insertion of additional housing units into an already approved subdivision or neighborhood. These can be provided as additional units built on the same lot, by dividing existing homes into multiple units, or by creating new residential lots by further subdivision or lot line adjustments. Units may also be built on vacant lots.”
  • Lodging-houses
  • Low-income housing
  • Mixed-income housing
  • Real estate management
  • Relocation (Housing)
  • Rent strikes
  • Rent–Taxation
  • Rental housing
  • Self-help housing
  • Shared housing – “Here are entered works dealing with housing shared by two or more persons involving various owner/rental arrangements that provide for common use of facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Slums

Narrower terms for Dwellings include:

  • Abandoned houses
  • Accommodation rigs (Offshore structures)
  • Adobe houses
  • Apartment houses
    • Narrower terms include:
      • Apartments
      • Garden apartments
      • High rise apartment buildings
      • Historic apartment houses
      • Prefabricated apartment houses
      • Tenement houses
  • Architect-designed houses
  • Asbestos cement houses
  • Attics
  • Brick houses
  • Bungalows
  • Cape Cod houses
  • Children’s playhouses
    • Tree houses is a narrower term.
  • Cliff-dwellings
  • Clothes closets
  • Cluster housing
    • Zero lot line housing is a narrower term.
      • Courtyard houses is a narrower term.
  • Concrete houses
  • Country homes
    • Park gate lodges is a narrower term. “Park gate lodge, a house, cottage or pavilion set at a park gate entrance providing living quarters for the family which had the duty of opening and shutting that gate” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Domestic engineering
    • Narrower terms include:
      • Dwellings–Heating and ventilation
      • Home accidents
      • Plumbing
      • Sanitation, Household
  • Dormitories
  • Earth houses
    • Sod houses is a narrower term.
  • Earth sheltered houses
    • Narrower terms include:
      • Pit houses
      • Sod houses
  • Ecological houses
  • Farmhouses
  • Fishing lodges
  • Guesthouses
  • Haunted houses – “Here are entered works on places believed to be actually haunted. Works on displays created for the purpose of scaring guests, usually at Halloween, are entered under Haunted houses (Amusements)” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Havelis – Per Wikipedia, “haveli is a generic term used for a traditional townhouse and mansions in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh and usually have historical and architectural significance.”
  • Houseboats
  • Housing, Single family
  • Huts
    • Narrower terms include:
      • Clement huts – “Simple, pre-fabricated insulated panel structure fitted together with splined joints; fitted with high tensile roof trusses; lined with continuous aluminum sheet” (LCSH Authorities).
      • Fishing huts – “An ice shanty (also called an ice shack, ice house, fishing shanty, fish house, fish coop, bobhouse, ice hut, or darkhouse) is a portable shed placed on a frozen lake to provide shelter during ice fishing” (LCSH Authorities).
      • Grass huts
      • Quonset huts – Per Wikipedia, “a Quonset hut is a lightweight prefabricated structure of corrugated galvanized steel having a semicircular cross-section.”
      • YurtsPer Wikipedia, “a traditional yurt (from the Turkics) or ger (Mongolian) is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises an angled assembly or latticework of pieces of wood or bamboo for walls, a door frame, ribs (poles, rafters), and a wheel (crown, compression ring) possibly steam-bent. The roof structure is often self-supporting, but large yurts may have interior posts supporting the crown. The top of the wall of self-supporting yurts is prevented from spreading by means of a tension band which opposes the force of the roof ribs. Modern yurts may be permanently built on a wooden platform; they may use modern materials such as steam-bent wooden framing or metal framing, canvas or tarpaulin, Plexiglas dome, wire rope, or radiant insulation.”
  • Igloos
  • Lockhouses – “Here are entered works on houses built along canals or other waterways to provide housing for the lockkeeper” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Lofts
  • Log cabins
  • Log-end houses
  • Longhouses – “A long communal dwelling, especially of the Iroquois, typically built of poles and bark and having a central corridor with family compartments on either side” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Manors
  • Mansions
  • Metal houses
    • Steel houses is a narrower term.
  • Mobile homes – “A trailer that is used as a permanent dwelling, is usu. connected to utilities, and is designed without a permanent foundation” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Model houses
  • Motor homes – “An automotive vehicle built on a truck or bus chassis and equipped as a self-contained traveling home” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Octagonal houses
  • Official residences – “Use for residences of heads of state or other public officials” (LCSH Authorities).
    • Parsonages is a narrower term. It’s used for a residence provided by a church for its minister.
  • Owner-built houses
  • Penthouses
  • Pole houses
  • Prefabricated houses
  • Ranch houses
  • Row houses
    • Terrace houses is a narrower term.
  • Saltbox housesPer Wikipedia, “a saltbox house is a building with a long, pitched roof that slopes down to the back, generally a wooden frame house. A saltbox has just one story in the back and two stories in the front. The flat front and central chimney are recognizable features, but the asymmetry of the unequal sides and the long, low rear roof line are the most distinctive features of a saltbox, which takes its name from its resemblance to a wooden lidded box in which salt was once kept.”
  • Second homes
    • Timesharing (Real estate) is a narrower term.
  • Semi-detached houses
  • Shophouses – Per Wikipedia, “a shophouse is a vernacular architectural building type that is commonly seen in areas such as urban Southeast Asia. Shophouses are mostly two or three stories high, with a shop on the ground floor for mercantile activity and a residence above the shop.”
  • Shotgun houses – Per Wikipedia, “a ‘shotgun house’ is a narrow rectangular domestic residence, usually no more than 12 feet (3.5 m) wide, with rooms arranged one behind the other and doors at each end of the house. It was the most popular style of house in the Southern United States from the end of the American Civil War (1861–65), through the 1920s. Alternate names include ‘shotgun shack’, ‘shotgun hut’, ‘shotgun cottage’, and in the case of a multihome dwelling, ‘shotgun apartment’.”
  • Single story houses
  • Small houses
    • Narrower terms include:
      • Cottages
      • Gatehouses
  • Solar houses
  • Stone houses
    • Trulli is a narrower term. – Per Wikipedia, “a trullo (plural, trulli) is a traditional Apulian dry stone hut with a conical roof. Their style of construction is specific to the Itria Valley, in the Murge area of the Italian region of Apulia. Trulli were generally constructed as temporary field shelters and storehouses or as permanent dwellings by small proprietors or agricultural labourers.”
  • Straw bale houses
  • Suburban homes
  • Tents
  • Tire houses
  • Two-story houses
  • Vacation homes
    • Vacation rentals is a narrower term.
  • Wooden-frame houses

Some of the narrower terms included under the subject heading Dwellings also appear under Architecture, Domestic. Narrower terms exclusive to Architecture, Domestic include:

  • A-frame houses
  • Decks (Architecture, Domestic)
  • Domestic space
  • Experimental houses – “Here are entered works on houses built to demonstrate or test new or nonconventional design features, building materials, or construction methods” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Lifetime homes – “Here are entered works on homes that meet British standards and incorporate design features emphasizing accessibility and flexibility to ensure that they will meet the needs of most households and be easy to adapt as people’s lives change” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Outdoor living spaces
    • Outdoor kitchens is a narrower term.
  • Patios
  • Pergolas
  • Room layout (Dwellings)
  • Swidermajer (Architecture) – “Wooden style of architecture originating in the Swider region southeast of Warsaw in the years 1880-1939” (LCSH Authorities).

Additional LC subject headings relevant to homes, housing and architecture are listed below:

  • Apartment houses, Cooperative
  • Architecture, Prehistoric
  • Barracks – The subdivision Barracks and quarters can be used under armies, navies, etc. (e.g. United States. Navy– Barracks and quarters).
  • Castles
    • Haunted castles is a narrower term.
  • Condominiums – “Here are entered works on condominiums in general as well as works on condominium housing” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Crofts
  • Dwellings, Prehistoric
    • Narrower terms include:
      • Cave-dwellings
        • Souterrains is a narrower term.
      • Lake-dwellers and lake dwellings
  • Gated communities
  • Hogans – “A traditional house of the Navajo Indians” (LCSH Authorities).
  • House-raising parties
  • Household archaeologyPer Wikipedia, “household archaeology has a long history of anthropological inquiry. Archaeological investigations of the household serve as a microcosm for the greater social universe. The household serves as a space for socialization processes. Household archaeology focuses on the household as a social unit, and involves research on the household’s dwelling and other related architecture, material culture, features, and larger sociopolitical organizations that are associated with a specific culture.
  • Household ecology
    • Narrower terms include
      • House plants
      • Household pests.
  • Mimetic architecturePer Wikipedia, “novelty or programmatic (mimetic) architecture may take the form of objects not normally associated with buildings, such as characters, animals, people or household objects.” The Haines “Shoe House” in Hellam, PA is one example. Photos of other mimetic buildings, used primarily for business purposes, can be found in the Library of Congress’s Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.
  • Palaces
  • Pueblos
  • Tipis – Used for Teepees. “A portable dwelling of certain Native American peoples, especially on the Great Plains, consisting of a conical framework of poles covered with skins or bark” (LCSH Authorities).
  • Vernacular architecture – Used for Indigenous architecture and Traditional architecture. “Here are entered works dealing with architecture which is the product of craftsmen using traditional plans, local building materials and construction methods” (LCSH Authorities).
  • WickiupsPer Wikipedia, “a wigwam, wickiup or wetu is a domed dwelling formerly used by certain Native American and First Nations tribes, and still used for ceremonial purposes. The term wickiup is generally used to label these kinds of dwellings in the Southwestern United States and West, while wigwam is usually applied to these structures in the Northeastern United States and Canada. Wetu is the Wampanoag term for a wigwam dwelling. These terms can refer to many distinct types of Native American structures regardless of location or cultural group. The wigwam is not to be confused with the Native Plains tipi, which has a very different construction, structure, and use.”


Works Cited

Library of Congress Authorities.

Moore, J. D. (2012). The prehistory of home. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.