FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) Users:
Summary and Case Studies

An OCLC Research Report by:

Jeffrey Mixter and Eric R. Childress, OCLC Research

Download the report »
(.pdf: 1MB/51pp.)

Key findings:

  • Most cited FAST attributes: ease of use, simple syntax, and suitability for non-cataloger application
  • Top three FAST facets used (of eight facets total): Topic, Geographic Names, Form/Genre
  • Publishing FAST as linked data under an open license has favorably advanced its adoption



FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) Users: Summary and Case Studies, written by  Research Assistant Jeff Mixter and Consulting Project Manager Eric Childress, includes case studies of sixteen parties (nine adopters, seven non-adopters) in six countries that have expressed interest in FAST, as well as a profile of OCLC’s own use of FAST.

FAST is an enumerative faceted subject heading schema derived from Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). Development was initiated in 1998 by OCLC Research with the Library of Congress to work together on a research project aimed at developing a faceted controlled vocabularly based on LCSH.  Over the period of the project, FAST has been built out into an eight-facet vocabulary with a universe of approximately 1.7 million headings across all facets and has been made available as Linked Open Data and integrated into a number of metadata workflows and discovery systems.

Community interest in knowing who is using FAST and how FAST is being used has also grown. To address this interest, OCLC Research conducted a census of FAST users in late 2012 and early 2013 to examine:

  • How FAST is being utilized
  • Why those using FAST selected it as their cataloging vocabulary
  • What benefits FAST provides
  • What can be done to enhance the value of FAST

The interviews in summary form and an analysis of the information gathered from the interviews are published in the report.


The information presented in this report will broaden knowledge about who uses FAST as well as how FAST use has grown.

For more information:

Eric Chilldress
Consulting Project Manager
OCLC Research


Quick links:

FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) Users:
Summary and Case Studies

  • Report publication announcement [link]
  • Download the report (.pdf: 1MB/51 pp.) [link]

FAST activity page [link]

Suggested citation:
Mixter, Jeffrey, and Eric R. Childress. 2013. FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) Users: Summary and Case Studies. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research.


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