Core Subject Analysis Committee Public Space

Portraits of three Core members with caption Become a Member: Find Your Home: Core.


SAC working group on "Question" subject headings

  • 1.  SAC working group on "Question" subject headings

    Posted Apr 02, 2024 12:32 PM
    Hi all! Sorry for the repeat, but I didn't realize that I needed to use a different address for this post to be public, so I'm doing it again. 


    At its meeting in January, the Subject Analysis Committee decided to form a working group to explore alternatives for instances of Library of Congress Subject Headings containing the word "question."

    Charge: The Question Review Working Group will identify and evaluate LCSH terms containing the term "Question" to identify potentially problematic terms. They will explore and submit proposed alternatives as appropriate.

    LCSH containing the word "question" often refer to boundary disputes or nationalist political movements and objectives. Others refer to a (sometimes unspecified) other type of question. Some of these headings could be considered problematic, and most are likely vague and unclear to library users. In some cases, the term including "question" is actually a commonly used phrase for that concept, but in others there is no clear warrant beyond the existence of other such headings.

    The working group will consider proposing both changes to individual headings and broader changes to groups of similar headings. LCSH that the working group will review include (but are not necessarily limited to):

    Adriatic question
    Åland question
    Alsace-Lorraine question
    Armenian question
    Belize question
    Cuban question
    Currency question
    Eastern question
    Eastern question (Balkan)
    Eastern question (Central Asia)
    Eastern question (Far East)
    German reunification question (1949-1990)
    Grisbåda question
    Irish question
    Irish unification question
    Korean reunification question (1945- )
    Kurdish question
    Language question in the church
    Macedonian question
    Oregon question
    Palestine question (1948-)
    Palestine question (To 1948)
    Polish question
    Roman question
    Samoan question
    Silver question
    Southern question (Yemen)
    Straits question
    Tacna-Arica question
    Ukrainian question
    Vietnamese reunification question (1954-1976)

    The working group will also look at relevant parts of the Library of Congress Classification. For example, the notorious "Jewish question" was eliminated as a subject heading long ago, but it still exists as a caption in the LC classification schedules (for DS141 and KK928).

    Are you interested in helping to explore the "question" question? Do you have experience in applying any of the subject headings or class numbers in question, or expertise in one or more of the subject areas affected? If so, please consider joining the working group-- contact the co-chairs to express interest by April 19th. (Also feel free to contact us with any questions.) You do not need to be a cataloger, or a member of SAC or ALA to participate.

    Allison Bailund (San Diego State University,
    Tina Gross (University of Minnesota,