Subject Headings for the Concept and Aspects of Time

ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee

Question/Answer on Cataloging Issues — September 2019

Question: What subject headings are applied to materials that explore the concept and aspects of time?

By Carolyn J. McCallum, Wake Forest University

The concept of time has been the subject of literature, films, and songs, represented in art, and scientifically explored. This month’s cataloging Q&A examines Library of Congress (LC) subject headings applicable to materials that explore time and its various aspects. Below is just a sampling of the numerous headings relevant to this month’s Q&A topic. It is by no means a comprehensive list.

After browsing LC’s Subject Authority File, I noticed that the main subject heading Time by itself is most often initially subdivided topically or by form/genre (e.g. Time–Religious aspects ; Time–Fiction ; Time–Congresses). After an initial topical or form/genre subdivision is applied, Time can be further subdivided geographically and chronologically (e.g. Time–History–To 1500 ; Time–Social aspects–California–Los Angeles).

Time is also used in subject heading phrases such as those listed below, and these phrases may be subdivided topically, geographically, chronologically, and/or by form/genre.

Time and economic reactions—Case studies

Time (Canon law)—Early works to 1800

Time capsules—Great Britain

Time in art—Exhibitions

Time in literature

Time management—History—21st century

Narrower terms included under the LC subject heading Time:

Chronobiology – Used for Biological time. “Here are entered works on time-related events in biological systems, such as development, growth, aging, cyclic phenomena, and biorhythms” (LCSH authorities).

Contemporary, The

Day

Narrower terms under this subject heading include:

  • Midnight
  • Morning
  • Night
  • Noon – Used for Midday; Noontime.

Future, The – “Here are entered general works on the concept of the future. General works on predictions and conjectures of future trends and occurrences are entered under the heading Forecasting and phrase headings for special types of forecasting, e.g., Economic forecasting” (LCSH authorities). As a subdivision, Forecasting may also be applied after the names of countries, regions, cities, etc. and under topical headings, e.g., Agricultural industries—Soviet Union—Forecasting.   

Presentism (Philosophy) – Per Wikipedia, “Philosophical presentism is the view that neither the future nor the past exist. In some versions of presentism, this view is extended to timeless objects or ideas (such as numbers). According to presentism, events and entities that are wholly past or wholly future do not exist at all.”

Space and time – Used for Space of more than three dimensions; Space-time; Space-time continuum; Space-times; Spacetime; and Time and space.

Narrower terms under this subject heading include:

  • Cyberspace
  • Mach’s principle
  • Naked singularities (Cosmology)
  • Simultaneity (Physics)
  • Spatial behavior
  • Time reversal
  • Time travel
  • Twistor theory
  • World line (Physics)
  • Wormholes (Physics)

See Also terms included under the LC subject heading Space and time:

  • Beginning
  • Hyperspace – “Here are entered mathematical works. Philosophical and imaginative works are entered under Fourth dimension” (LCSH authorities).
  • Relativity (Physics)

Tense (Logic)

Year

Narrower terms under this subject heading include:

  • Months
  • Special years – “Here are entered works on special years sponsored by individuals, organizations, or governmental bodies interested in publicizing or promoting patriotic, charitable, commercial, or other events and observances” (LCSH authorities). Examples of some of LC’s authorized narrower terms include: International Year of the Child, 1979; International Space Year.

The subdivision Anniversaries, etc. may be applied “under names of countries, cities, etc., names of individual persons and corporate bodies, and under historic and social movements, historic events, classes of persons, and ethnic groups” (LCSH authorities). The subdivision Centennial celebrations, etc. may be applied “under names of countries, cities, etc., and individual corporate bodies, and under historic events” (LCSH authorities).

See Also terms included under the LC subject heading Time:

Horology – Per Wikipedia, it is “the study of the measurement of time.”

Narrower terms under this subject heading include:

  • Balance springs—Isochronism
  • Pendulum—Isochronism

Chronology – Used for Eras; Hours (Time). May be applied as a subdivision “under names of individual persons, sacred works, literatures, wars, individual art forms, headings for national or ethnic art, and topical headings that are inherently historical” (LCSH authorities). The subdivision History–Chronology may be applied “under names of countries, cities, etc., and individual corporate bodies, and under ethnic groups and topical headings that are not inherently historical” (LCSH authorities).

Narrower terms under this subject heading include:

  • Achi chronology
  • Aztec chronology
  • Chronograms – Per Wikipedia, “A chronogram is a sentence or inscription in which specific letters, interpreted as numerals, stand for a particular date when rearranged.”
  • Clocks and watches – Used for Timepieces; Watches.
    • Narrower terms under Clocks and watches include:
      • Advertising clocks
      • Advertising watches
      • Alarm clocks
      • Astronomical clocks
        • Narrower terms under Astronomical clocks include:
          • Calendar watches
          • Antikythera mechanism (Ancient calculator) – Per Wikipedia, “The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance.”
          • Chronograph – Per Wikipedia, “A chronograph is a specific type of watch that is used as a stopwatch combined with a display watch.”
      • Atomic clocks – Per Wikipedia, “An atomic clock is a clock device that uses a hyperfine transition frequency in the microwave, or electron transition frequency in the optical, or ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum of atoms as a frequency standard for its timekeeping element. Atomic clocks are the most accurate time and frequency standards known, and are used as primary standards for international time distribution services, to control the wave frequency of television broadcasts, and in global navigation satellite systems such as GPS.”
      • Balance clocks
      • Banjo clocks – Per Wikipedia, “The banjo clock, or banjo timepiece, is an American wall clock with a banjo-shaped case. … The banjo style of wooden case usually features a round opening for a painted dial, a long-waisted throat, and a rectangular pendulum box with hinged door. Both the throat and door are ornamented with reverse-painted (verre églomisé) glass panels, and the case is usually flanked by curved and pierced brass frets. A finial mounted atop the case usually takes the form of a cast-brass eagle or a turned, giltwood acorn.”
      • Carriage clocks
      • Chiming clocks – “Here are entered works about clocks equipped with carillons or other chiming mechanisms. Works about clocks equipped with mechanical organs are entered under the heading Musical clock” (LCSH authorities).
      • Chronometers – Google defines chronometer as “an instrument for measuring time, especially one designed to keep accurate time in spite of motion or variations in temperature, humidity, and air pressure. Chronometers were first developed for marine navigation, being used in conjunction with astronomical observation to determine longitude.”
      • Comic strip character clocks and watches
      • Electronic clocks and watches – Used for Quartz clocks and watches.
        • Narrower terms under Electronic clocks and watches include:
          • Digital electronic clocks
          • Electronic watches, Digital
      • Gilt-bronze clocks
      • Girandole clocks – Per the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) Online, girandole clocks are “wall clocks first produced in the early 19th century in the United States that resemble banjo clocks but instead of having a rectangular lower frame are circular and are generally decorated with acanthus leaves.” 
      • Lantern clocks – Per Wikipedia, “A lantern clock is a type of antique weight-driven wall clock, shaped like a lantern. They were the first type of clock widely used in private homes.”
      • Longcase clocks – Used for Grandfather clocks.
      • Luminous watches
      • Pillar and scroll clocks – Per www.britannica.com, a “pillar and scroll shelf clock, wooden shelf clock mass-produced in the United States from the second decade of the 19th century onward. The rectangular case is topped by a scroll broken in the centre by an ornament such as an urn; on either side of the case is a vertical pillar topped by the same kind of ornament that breaks the scroll.”
      • Pocket watches
      • Shelf clocks – Used for Mantel clocks.
      • Skeleton clocks – Per Wikipedia, “A skeleton clock is any clock or wristwatch, though typically mechanical in nature, in which the parts that usually conceal the inner workings of the mechanism have been removed or significantly modified so as to display these inner parts.”
      • Stopwatches
      • Talking clocks
      • Time clocks – Used for Time recorders.
      • Tower clocks
        • Narrower term under Tower clocks includes: Jaquemarts – Per Wikipedia, “A jacquemart (sometimes jaquemart and also called a quarter-jack) is an automaton, an animated, mechanised figure of a person, usually made from wood or metal, which strikes the hours on a bell with a hammer. Jacquemarts are usually part of clocks or clocktowers, and are often near or at the top of the construction.”
      • Travel clocks
      • Wall clocks
      • Water clocks – Used for Clepsydras. Per Wikipedia, “A water clock or clepsydra is any timepiece by which time is measured by the regulated flow of liquid into (inflow type) or out from (outflow type) a vessel, and where the amount is then measured.”
      • Wrist watches
        • Narrower terms under Wrist watches include:
          • Men’s wrist watches
          • Smartwatches
          • Tank (Wrist watch)
  • Cosmochronology – Per Wiktionary, cosmochronology is “the science of determining timescales for astrophysical objects and events.”
    • Narrower terms under Cosmochronology include:
      • Solar system—Age
      • Stars—Age
  • Dendrochronology – Used for Tree-ring analysis; Tree-ring hydrology.
    • See Also: Tree-rings
  • Geological time – Used for Age of rocks; Geochronology; Geochrony; Rocks—Age; and Time, Geological.
    • Narrower term under Geological time includes: Luminescence dating
    • See Also terms included under the LC subject heading Geological time:
      • Earth (Planet)—Age
      • Sequence stratigraphy
  • Indian chronology – “Here are entered works on systems of arranging time used by the Indians. Works containing listings of events and dates in order of occurrence in the history of the Indians of North America are entered under Indians of North America—History—Chronology” (LCSH authorities).
  • Islamic chronology – Used for Muslim chronology.
  • Jewish chronology – Used for Hebrew chronology.
    • See Also terms included under the LC subject heading Jewish chronology:
      •  Jewish calendar
      • Jews—History—Chronology
  • Mandan chronology
  • Maya chronology
  • Months
    • Narrower terms under Months include:
      • Adar
      • April (Month)
      • August (Month)
      • Av
      • December
      • Elul
      • February
      • Iyyar
      • January
      • July
      • June (Month)
      • Kislev – Used for Chislev.
      • March (Month)
      • May (Month)
      • Nisan
      • November
      • October
      • Rajab
      • September
      • Shaʻbān – Used for Shaaban.
      • Shevat
      • Special months – “Here are entered works on special months sponsored by individuals, organizations, or governmental bodies interested in publicizing or promoting patriotic, charitable, commercial, or other events and observances” (LCSH authorities). Examples of some of LC’s authorized narrower terms include: African American History Month; Childhood Cancer Month.The subdivision Anniversaries, etc. may be applied “under names of countries, cities, etc., names of individual persons and corporate bodies, and under historic and social movements, historic events, classes of persons, and ethnic groups” (LCSH authorities). The subdivision Centennial celebrations, etc. may be applied “under names of countries, cities, etc., and individual corporate bodies, and under historic events” (LCSH authorities).
      • Tammuz – Used for Tamuz.
      • Tevet – Used for Tebet; Tebeth; and Teveth.
      • Tishri – Used for Tishre
  • Sclerochronology – Per Wikipedia, “Sclerochronology is the study of physical and chemical variations in the accretionary hard tissues of invertebrates and coralline red algae, and the temporal context in which they formed.”
  • Tephrochronology – Per Wikipedia, “Tephrochronology is a geochronological technique that uses discrete layers of tephra—volcanic ash from a single eruption—to create a chronological framework in which paleoenvironmental or archaeological records can be placed.”
  • Week
    • Narrower term under Week includes: Special weeks – “Here are entered works on special weeks sponsored by individuals, organizations, or governmental bodies interested in publicizing or promoting patriotic, charitable, commercial, or other events and observances” (LCSH authorities). Examples of some of LC’s authorized narrower terms include: National Volunteer Week, Banned Books Week. The subdivision Anniversaries, etc. may be applied “under names of countries, cities, etc., names of individual persons and corporate bodies, and under historic and social movements, historic events, classes of persons, and ethnic groups” (LCSH authorities). The subdivision Centennial celebrations, etc. may be applied “under names of countries, cities, etc., and individual corporate bodies, and under historic events” (LCSH authorities).

See Also terms included under the LC subject heading Chronology:

  • Hindu chronology
  • Calendar
    • Narrower terms under Calendar include:
      • Achi calendar
      • Aymara calendar
      • Aztec calendar
      • Bahai calendar
      • Buddhist calendar
      • Cherokee calendar
      • Chibcha calendar
      • Church calendar – The subdivision Liturgy—Calendar may be applied “under individual denominations, e.g. Catholic Church—Liturgy—Calendar”(LCSH authorities).
      • Clog-almanacs – Per merriam-webster.com, a clog almanac is “a calendar formerly used in England made by cutting notches and figures on the four edges of a square block of hard wood.”
      • Dakota calendar
      • Garifuna calendar
      • Hindu calendar
      • Huichol calendar
      • Inca calendar
      • Indian calendar
      • Islamic calendar
      • Ixil calendar
      • Jacalteca calendar
      • Jewish calendar – Used for Calendar, Hebrew; Hebrew calendar.
        • Narrower term under Jewish calendar includes: Karaite calendar
      • Kainah calendar
      • Kekchi calendar
      • Kiowa calendar
      • Lakota calendar
      • Leap year
      • Maya calendar
      • Mixtec calendar
      • Nahua calendar
      • Navajo calendar
      • Oglala calendar
      • Otomi calendar
      • Pima calendar
      • Pueblo calendar
      • Quechua calendar
      • Quiché calendar
      • Religious calendars – “Here are entered texts and comparative studies of calendars of ritual observances for particular days. Works on the Christian liturgical calendar are entered under Church calendar. Works on the ritual calendars of other religions are entered here with the subdivision for the name of the religion, e.g. Religious calendars—Greek religion. Works on the Islamic [Jewish, etc.] calendar from the viewpoint of chronological reckoning are entered under Islamic [Jewish, etc.] calendar” (LCSH authorities).      
      • Tlapanec calendar
      • Tlaxcalan calendar
      • Tohono O’odham calendar
      • Tzotzil calendar
      • Zapotec calendar

Calendars – The plural word of the subject heading Calendar may be used as a subdivision “under names of countries, cities, etc.; names of individual corporate bodies; and under topical headings for works that list recurring, coming, or past events occurring in those places, associated with those organizations, or relating to those topics; and under names of individual persons for calendars that include information on events associated with the person or quotations from the person” (LCSH authorities).

Narrower terms under Calendars include:

  • Advent calendars
  • Appointment books – Used for Appointment calendars; Datebooks.
  • Art calendars
  • Birthday books – “Here are entered books with space for recording birthdays of acquaintances, with accompanying quotations, pictures, or other information for each day or month” (LCSH authorities).
  • Devotional calendars
  • Electronic calendars – Used for Online calendars.
  • Heraldic calendars
  • Literary calendars – The subdivision Calendars may be applied “under names of individual persons for calendars that include information on events associated with the person or quotations from the person, e.g. Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616—Calendars” (LCSH authorities).
  • Lunar calendars
  • Music calendars
  • Parapegmata – Per the OED, a parapegma (pl. parapegmata) is “an astrological and meteorological calendar, written on a stone tablet with movable pegs used to insert the days of the month at the side of the text.”
  • Perpetual calendars
  • Photo calendars

See Also term included under the LC subject heading Calendars:

  • Almanacs

Time measurements

Narrower terms under this subject heading include:

  • Age
  • Automatic timers – Used for Timing devices.
  • Geochronometry – Used for Dating of fossils; Dating of rocks; Fossils—Dating; Geological chronometry; Geological time—Measurement; Rocks—Dating.
    • Narrower terms under Geochronometry include:
      • Electron spin resonance dating
      • Hydration rind dating
      • Radioactive dating
  • Hour-glasses
  • Sundials
    • Narrower terms under Sundials include:
      • Cylinder (Timepiece)
      • Scratch dials – Per britainexpress.com, a scratch dial is “a very simple form of sun dial, usually in a circular shape. Scratch dials were scratched or carved into the exterior church wall and used to tell the time, especially the time of church services. In an age when clocks were unknown or exceptionally rare, such primitive sundials may have been essential as a way to determine the correct time for services. At the centre of the dial is a hole where a small peg was inserted to act as a simple sundial marker. They might have had only three or four radiating sections, rather than a full 360 degree of lines, as it was only necessary to tell the time of services, so extra lines were unnecessary.”  
  • Synchronization
  • Time code (Audio-visual technology)
  • Time-of-flight mass spectrometry
  • Time-signals
  • Timing circuits         

Time—Systems and Standards – Used for Standard time; Time—Standards; and Time zones. Narrower terms under this subject heading include:

  • Daylight saving
  • International Date Line
  • Metric time system – Used for Decimal time system.
  • National Measurement System for Time and Frequency
  • Railroads—Time standards

It should be noted that many of the subject headings and their narrower terms listed above can be further subdivided geographically, topically, chronologically, and/or by form/genre.