This is the "Deaf Subject Headings -- Cataloging" page of the "For librarians" guide.
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For librarians   Tags: deaf, faq  

This guide includes information for librarians who work with deaf or hard of hearing patrons or with deaf-related collections.
Last Updated: Jul 9, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Deaf Subject Headings -- Cataloging Print Page

Subject headings

To look at the Deaf Subject Headings, you can download an MS Word document.


This list is rather technical and its primary audience is librarians interested in cataloging and describing their collections of deaf-related materials. It may be useful to researchers, both professionals and students, but they are not the intended audience.

General Information

The Gallaudet University Library Collection Management Department and its predecessors have developed a list of over 2,800 subject headings commonly used to describe the Library's extensive collection of books and other materials related to deafness.

This list is a compilation of terms from 3 basic sources:

  • Thesaurus of ERIC descriptors
  • Thesaurus of psychological index terms
  • Library of Congress subject headings

In addition, there are a few locally devised subject headings for concepts not found in these thesauri. Currently, no terms from ERIC or the Thesaurus of psychological index terms are being added to the list. Library of Congress Subject Headings and occasionally locally devised headings are the only terms being added to the list at the present time.


  • The heading. This field is not labeled but is in bold font.
  • Use. When it appears, this field should be used instead of the heading.
  • See also. This field lists additional, related subject headings that you might want to consider.
  • Dewey #. This field contains suggested Dewey classification numbers for books with the heading.
  • LC Heading. This contains related Library of Congress Subject Headings.
  • Source of heading. Headings come from various sources.
    • LCSH means the heading is from the Library of Congress Subject Headings.
    • ERIC indicates the heading is from the Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors.
    • Local means the heading was created by the catalogers at the Gallaudet University Library.


    Listed below are the basic subdivisions used with the Deaf Subject Headings to adequately describe deaf-related materials:

    • Deaf
    • Deaf adolescents
    • Deaf adults
    • Deaf blind
    • Deaf children
    • Deaf education
    • Deaf middle-aged adults
    • Deaf older adults
    • Deaf research
    • Deafness
    • Hard of hearing
    • Multiply handicapped deaf
    • Interpreting for the deaf


    Questions about the subject headings, how to use them, and the other information associated with them should be directed to the Library's email account, and it will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member.


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    Prepared by Jane Rutherford
    Reference and Instruction Librarian
    April 2007

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