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Scope of the Authorities File (Library of Congress Authorities)

Authorities Home

About Library of Congress Authorities
Frequently Asked Questions

Search Overview
- Subject Authorities
- Name Authorities
- Title Authorities
- Name/Title Authorities
- Keyword Authorities (All)
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MARC Display
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Headings List
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About Library of Congress Authorities

Search and browse approximately:

  • .42 million subject and genre/form authority records
  • 9.3 million name authority records

Associated references and scope notes are also provided.

To search the LC Online Catalog for bibliographic and holdings information, please switch to [].

Library of Congress Authorities is available free of charge. The Library welcomes comments and error reports via email.

Library of Congress Authorities does not currently support:

  • Keyword searching of MARC fields other than headings fields
  • Search access to subject subdivisions individually
  • Search access to several Library of Congress thesauri, including: Library of Congress Demographic Group Terms (LCDGT), Library of Congress Medium of Performance Thesaurus for Music (LCMPT), Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (TGM), and the Ethnographic Thesaurus (AFSET)

About the Headings List Display

Initial search results are presented as a Headings List -- an alphabetical list of all headings found in the LC Online Catalog that fall nearest alphabetically to the first words of your search. Search results include both headings that have authority records associated with them and headings without associated authority records.

Important! Authority records are available only for those headings in the list that display with an icon in the leftmost column.

Note: Because the LC Online Catalog includes millions of bibliographic records created over many decades and according to a variety of cataloging policies, Headings Lists for searches may include many headings that do not have associated authority records.

Examples include headings labelled "[from old catalog]"; name/title headings that under former cataloging practice could be assigned as access points without an authority record; headings consisting of established subject headings from the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) combined with free-floating subdivisions; and subject access points established in a variety of thesauri other than LCSH.

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November 13, 2018