Library Authorities Alternatives

Without delving into the dysfunctional politics that has led to the shutdown of most U.S. Government services, we thought it might be helpful to our library and archives colleagues to point out some alternatives to various library authority sources that have been shuttered at the Library of Congress.

In some cases (for example, LCSH vs. FAST) they are not exactly equivalent, but they might be useful during this period nonetheless. Please note that we cannot verify the accuracy or completeness of the Internet Archive copy of any of these sources.

This is a summary of some of the most widely available resources, but please note that bibliographic data, classification schemes and authority files traditionally provided on the site are also available in subscription services from the Library of Congress (Cataloger’s Desktop and Classification Web) [note: these LoC services continue to be made available to subscribers during the shutdown], from OCLC (for cataloging service subscribers), and from other service providers.

Also, for a  more complete list of alternative resources, see this spreadsheet (Excel .xslx file, courtesy of Eric Childress).

Name Authorities

Subject Authorities

MARC Documentation


Genre Headings

 Thesaurus for Graphic Materials

We hope these are useful, but even more we hope that very soon we will be back to business as usual. Even then, though, you may find some of these other sources helpful. If you know of other reasonable alternatives, leave a comment below.