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Native America Libguide

Find resources and materials on Native American Studies.

Library of Congress Classification and Subject Headings

At the Adelphi University Libraries, materials are assigned Library of Congress Subject Headings based on their content.  When you view a OneSearch record, these subject headings will display as active links pointing to other materials with the same subject headings.  

Materials at the Adelphi University Libraries (except for electronic resources) are given Call Numbers, based on the Library of Congress Classification System.  Library of Congress Classification Systems organizes materials by Subject.  The below list is shows how Native American materials are organized.  This list is by no means exhaustive.  This is useful in browsing, whether by looking at the physical stacks themselves, or bibliographic records in OneSearch.  But Beware!  See the Decolonizing the Catalog Tab!

For History:

E31-49.2 North America

E51-73 Pre-Columbian America. The Indians

E75-99 Indians of North America

E81-83 Indian wars

E99 Indian tribes and cultures

E101-135 Discovery of America and early explorations

E103-110 Pre-Columbian period

E111-120 Columbus

E121-135 Post-Columbian period. El Dorado

E141-143 Descriptive accounts of America. Earliest to 1810

For Language and Literature:

PM101-2711 American languages (Aboriginal)

PM231-355 American languages of British North America

PM(401)-501 American languages of the United States (and Mexico)

PM549-2711 Special languages of the United States and Canada (alphabetically)

PM3001-4566 Languages of Mexico and Central America

PM5001-7356 Languages of South America and the West Indies

"Librarians have a professional obligation to ensure that all library users have free and equal access to the entire range of library services, materials, and programs," according to the American Library Association (2002, ¶ 10). However, equal access to library materials is hindered by bias in subject cataloging . . .

These classification systems and subject headings reflect the Eurocentric, male, Christian orientations of their originators as well as the time period in which they were constructed. As a result, groups of peoples and ideas that do not fall within the "norm" represented by classification and subject standards are marginalized. In terms of library services, this marginalization negatively impacts the ability of users to successfully retrieve information on these topics.

On a larger scale, biased classification systems and subject headings reinforce and perpetuate negative stereotypes in our society. American Indians are one such group of people that is adversely affected by the inherent bias built into Western library classification systems.

The Library of Congress Classification system (LCC) marginalizes American Indian materials by placing them in the past (in the history section) and separate from the whole of human knowledge. Both systems also exclude numerous Native concepts, lack specificity within Native topics, fail to organize Native material in ways conducive to retrieval, and at times use offensive or outdated terminology.

Furthermore, the context into which these systems place Native materials reveals a perceived lack of relevance, but more importantly, a lack of recognition of the sovereignty of American Indian nations.

This results in hindering access to American Indian materials to all users, discouraging Native people from using libraries by reinforcing the image of the library as a non-Native institution, and reinforcing to the outside world the stereotypes that American Indians are part of the past and do not contribute relevant knowledge to contemporary society.

From “Classification, Bias, and American Indian Materials" by Holly Tomren.  Retrieved from