This page covers the Library of Congress Subject Headings and Classification and also discusses information disbursement as it relates to studies in literature.
What are the Library of Congress Subject Headings?
What is the Library of Congress Classification?
In contrast to the Library of Congress Subject Headings, which arranges its content alphabetically, the Library of Congress Classification lists its content by alpha-numeric call number order within the main subject classifications. Comprising 41 print-ready PDF volumes, the Classification is far more detailed than LCSH and is almost like shelf-browsing an entire library, only without the shelves. The link below provides access to those PDF volumes. Students in literature programs will want to focus on Class P, which in Houston Cole Library is housed on floors six and seven.
Because literature aligns well with other academic subjects, the collections of HCL floors six and seven are complemented/supplemented by the collections on other floors: folklore, history, mythology (third), general literature and religion (sixth).
Familiarity with reference materials on these floors is recommended.
What is information scatter?
Information scatter describes the situation of sources nominally about literature being housed on floors in Houston Cole Library other than six or seven. When seeking information sources for research, the subject is important, but the angle of approach (like the 360 degrees on a compass) is equally important. Literary studies of Emily Dickinson as a poet mostly would be found on HCL seven. Studies of her from a feminist perspective would bring in materials from sociology/women's studies (4th floor). A psychological approach might include materials from HCL nine. Exactly where useful materials for a given research task may be located cannot be predicted, and it is better to take a broad view rather than one which is too narrow.
Intuitive approaches to JaxCat searches on literary topics
Identifying and locating materials to support scholarly research usually involves searches moving from the unknown to the known: locating a category of "unknown" materials (using JaxCat subject or advanced/keyword searches) and from these harvesting a group of "known" items (specific authors or titles). When looking for materials on literature these are the four most intuitive catalog searches. Additionally, more-or-less intuitive terms like terms like bibliography, biography, or criticism are usable subdivisions in JaxCat.
Non-intuitive approaches to JaxCat searches on literary topics
These are approaches that are not intuitive in searching JaxCat and have more to do with collection arrangement on the shelves, as they mostly deal with collectives rather than individual authors and works and are found toward the beginning of the collections for each national literature.
NOTE: These are not mutually exclusive categories; they can be mixed and matched, as this list of titles in the Dictionary of Literary Biography attests.
NOTE: For the major approaches, see Purdue OWL Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism, especially the links in the left pane.
Materials not on sixth or seventh floors
Based on the approach taken by the researcher, some materials may be located on floors other than the "literature floors" of six and seven, often falling under the academic disciplines of psychology or sociology.