Skip to Main Content

Dance Research Guide

Your guide to Dance resources in the UMD Libraries!

LC Subject Headings

Library of Congress Subject Headings are another classification tool libraries use to describe books (and music, and videos, and...)

Think of Subject Headings as the original "tag" or "tag cloud" - but unlike social media sites like YouTube or Flickr, the Library of Congress uses a controlled vocabulary with an authorized thesaurus.

These standardizations ensures that every library using the LC system is spelling the same subject terms the same way - so you don't end up with variations like "StarWars," "Star_Wars," "starwars," "star-wars," etc., as often happens on social media sites, and can make searching very frustrating.

(In case you're interest, the LC authorized subject heading for Star Wars is "Star Wars films.")

LC Subject Headsings can be very powerful search tools, once you learn how to identify them and use them.

LC Subject Headings for Dance - Tips & Tricks

Offical LC Subject Headings for common Dance genres:

  • Dance
  • Ballet
  • Modern dance
  • Jazz dance
  • African American Dance
  • Tap dancing
  • Folk dancing
  • Hip-hop AND Dance (Hip-hop on it's own will also bring up all the music-related materials)
  • Break dancing
  • Swing (Dance)
  • Belly dance

Note: Use these EXACT spellings and phrasing when doing a Subject Search in the catalog!

Other LCSH to use with Dance terms

Geographic modifiers:

  • Africa (not African)
  • China (not Chinese)
  • United States (not American, not USA)

Temporal/Chronological modifiers:

  • 17th century (not Seventeenth century)
  • World war, 1939-1945 (not World War II)

Form mofidiers:

  • Bibliography
  • Dictionaries
  • Encyclopedias
  • Diaries
  • Historiography
  • Sources

Other modifiers:

  • Social aspects
  • Social life and customs
  • Study and teaching
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • History
  • Homosexuality
  • Gender
  • Feminism
  • Religious aspects

Sample Subject Search Combinations

Try these out for practice:




SU=18th century








SU=Social aspects