Library of Congress Transitions to Free, Online-Only Cataloging Publications

The Library of Congress has announced a transition to online-only publication of its cataloging documentation. As titles that are in production are released, the Library’s Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) will no longer print new editions of its subject headings, classification schedules and other cataloging publications. The Library will instead provide free downloadable PDF versions of these titles.

For users desiring enhanced functionality, the Library’s two web-based subscription services, Cataloger’s Desktop and Classification Web, will continue as products from CDS.

In 2012, the Library of Congress conducted an extensive study on the impact and opportunities of changes in the bibliographic framework and the technological environment on the future distribution of its cataloging data and products. The Library’s transition from print to online-only for cataloging documentation is a response to a steadily declining customer base for print and the availability of alternatives made possible by advances in technology. This shift will enable the Library to achieve a more sustainable financial model and better serve its mission in the years ahead.

Beginning July 1, print publications that are currently sold through CDS will become available as free, downloadable PDF titles through the Library’s Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate website at www.loc.gov/aba/. Because all of the content cannot be made available simultaneously, the retrospective titles will be phased in over time as PDF files.

Print editions of already-published titles, including the just-released 35th edition of the six-volume "Library of Congress Subject Headings," will be available from CDS until inventory is depleted. The most up-to-date sources for subject headings, classification data and other cataloging documentation remain the Cataloger’s Desktop and Classification Web services.

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