Adding Subjects

Learning to catalog digital items using a shared subject term system teaches you how to think creatively about how others might use a resource. Rich subject terms will enable readers to find things that relate to their topics whether they are using them the same way that you did or not.

We are using the new Library of Congress FAST Subject Headings for the Greenwich Village Digital Archive, a faceted subject system based on breaking headings into topical, geographic, personal name, corporate name, form, chronological, title as subject, and meeting name fields.

  1. Open LC Fast
  2. Input your search terms and choose the best LC Subject Heading to represent it.
  3. Cut and Paste the LC term to your Omeka record.


  • Look at secondary sources on your topic to get a sense of the terminology
  • Look for big themes (anarchism, abolitionism, education), make sure that you are using the correct term
      • Abolitionism = Antislavery movements
      • Art, Modern or Modernism (Art)?
      • Public Funerals?
      • Puerto Ricans — Political activity
      • Underground Railroad
      • Bars (Drinking establishments)
      • Tourism — Social aspects
  • People's names should go in last name, first name, middle name, and dates (if known). This helps distinguish between people with similar names.
      • Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt, 1875-1942
      • Berkman, Alexander, 1870-1936
  • Cities should be entered hierarchically, with the state first, clarification in case of confusion, neighborhoods come last
      • New York (State) — New York
      • New York (State) — New York—Greenwich Village
      • Tennessee — Memphis
  • Organizations can have the city name attached for specificity if there are more than one, or if it is part of the actual organization's name:
      • Orphan Asylum Society (New York, N.Y.)
      • ACT UP New York (Organization)
      • New York State Anti-Slavery Society
      • Nuyorican Poets Cafe
      • Mother Earth (New York, N.Y.)
      • Webster Hall (New York, N.Y.)
  • Events should be precisely named, so as not to confuse:
      • American Civil War (1861-1865)
      • Civil War (Spain : 1936-1939)
  • Chronology is another way to further define the topic:
      • Nineteen twenties
      • Nineteenth century

If you do not find a term that covers your item, check the older listing of LC Subject Headings, or create your own, just try to follow the style that is used in the LC FAST.

Notes: instructions on using LC Fast Search

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