Subject Access to Fiction: An Application of the Guidelines

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In recent literature, authors have advocated the enhancement of subject access to individual works of fiction. Guidelines were developed and published by the Subcommittee on Subject Access to Individual Works of Fiction, Drama, etc. The OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., and the Library of Congress conducted pilot projects to study the implications of subject cataloging of fiction. Researchers have indicated that while improved access to works of fiction, drama, etc., is desirable, the idea lacks practicality because of the apparent difficulty involved in applying topical headings to works that are not fact-based in nature. Adding to this difficulty is the fact that most fictional works lack indexes, abstracts, and tables of contents, which can aid the cataloger in applying appropriate headings. Exclusive use of dust jacket copy (or back-of-the-book copy for paperbacks) to form fiction subject headings is recommended. The purpose of this study is to determine whether enough information is included on the dust jacket (or the back cover) to provide adequate subject access in the four areas covered in the Guidelines: character, setting, genre or form, and topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-210
Number of pages8
JournalLibrary Resources and Technical Services
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1996
Externally publishedYes


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