Use of Parentheses
Several of the examples for the various types of subject headings shown above have words in parentheses that are included in the subject heading. This style of entry will often be found in LCSH. The purpose of the parentheses is to clarify the meaning of the term being listed. For example:
The term ‘wine’ is used to indicate this subject heading is for a beverage, not a proper noun being used in any other way.
BARS (DRINKING ESTABLISHMENTS)—NEW YORK
‘Drinking establishments’ clarifies what is meant by BARS.
CAPITALS (ARCHITECTURE)—BYZANTINE INFLUENCES
This entry has the word ‘architecture’ to help indicate that the subject heading deals with the building of capitals, rather than political or governmental issues.
BEMBE (WEST AFRICAN PEOPLE)
This explanatory phrase ‘West African people’ is used to geographically limit the area that this group of people came from and live in.
ARARAT, MOUNT (TURKEY)
Again, a geographic indicator, ‘Turkey’, is used to make sure that there is no confusion as to where this mountain is located.
There are many examples throughout LCSH of clarifying terms being used in parentheses after a word or phrase. Even though they make the subject heading longer, they are helpful. If a subject heading is chosen that includes such a word or phrase, be sure to copy it exactly as listed in LCSH. If a subject heading is created by the cataloger, such as happens with the categories listed in the pattern headings, it is also possible to use a clarifying word or phrase if needed. An example might be the term LIME, which could be used to describe a fruit or a mineral. Using the term LIME (FRUIT) or LIME (MINERAL) helps to indicate the content of the item being cataloged. Catalogers should feel free to add words or phrases in parentheses to any subject heading terms they feel might not be understood by their patrons.
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