Steps to build subject headings for your topic

Subject headings build-up helps:

Subject heading is a term or word or group of word used in catalogue, bibliography or index expressing or representing the subject contain of a book or material.

Steps to subject headings determination:-

A. Reading of the title.
B. Reliance on subject title.
C. Reading of content.
D. Reading of introduction.
E. Reading of preface/forward.
F. Review on dust jacket or back-cover.
G. Author’s designation and working.
H. Series.
I. Reference and bibliography.
J. Glance through the text or browsing.
K. Book review.
L. Consultation with subject specialist.
A) Reading of the title:- Determination of subject by nearly by reading the title is not advisable, since large number of title of books are of abstract nature, may there for be misleading. There are how-ever some works of general nature and may be text book or manual beginning with such phrases as an introduction to ‘A text book of’ ‘A manual’ ‘Fundamental of’ ‘Essential of’ etc. or those which are self-Explanatory or clearly evident reading titles alone of such works will be enough to determine the subject and there is almost no needs of farther examining of book.
B) Reliance on the subject:- A sub-title occasionally found the explain the main title, is a ‘more reliable friend’ then the main title to determine a subject.
C) Reading of content:- If the above steps are not enough to determine the subject of a book in hand, a careful reading content will reveal the scope and coverage of a subject or more than one subject and its related areas.
This process is essential for determining subject or most of the books.
D) Reading of introduction:- Scanning of the introduction (Written by a colleague or by the author) which amplifies the text or briefly explains author’s point of view is also important.
E) Reading of preface/forward:- The step may farther help one to understand author plane or objective as it work as key to the subject matter and provides with a brief survey to the text.
F) Review on dust jacket or back-cover:- One can glean more clearly the subject matter of the book by regarding this publisher’s review, any which not only clarifies the subject but also indicates standards or courses for which the book is recommended. It also covers the subject background and short bibliography of the author.
G) Author’s designation and working institution:- It is reasonable to believe to author designation if given that the book may be more or less on the same subject or its bordering areas as is mentioned with the designation sometimes special institution if mention with the designation may also reflect the subject broadly.
H) Series:- Series if any is also an indicative subject, at-least broadly. I.e. Mcgraw-Hill for Science and technology etc.
I) Reference and bibliography:- Reference and bibliography mentioned in most standard publication, May also repeal the main subject area on which the book has been written, and its allied areas. This device is meaningful to know the scope and broad subject of a book, particularly with abstract or in-comprehensible title.
J) Glance through the text or browsing:- Usually a dip introduction the book itself reading such passages as seem particularly important may provide focus on the broad area treated in the book.
K) Book review:- Reviews appearing in the standard sources (Like BRD) or in periodicals work as another means to determine the subject. (BRD= Book Review Digest)
L) Consultation with subject specialist:- This is the last resort when all the efforts-steps fail to determine the subject.


Declaration: Articles shared in this blog are collected from different sources available on the internet to help students of Library and Information Science. Sources are mentioned in the reference section of the article. If you have any objections about the content of this blog, feel free to contact the site admin at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *