FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology)

Assign subject headings faster and easier

FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) is derived from the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), and is one of the library domains most widely used subject terminology schemas. The development of FAST has been a collaboration of OCLC Research and the Library of Congress. Work on FAST began in late 1998.

FAST was developed in large part to meet the need for a general-use subject terminology scheme, which is:

  • simple to learn and apply,
  • faceted-navigation friendly,
  • modern in its design, and
  • maintains upward compatibility with LCSH.

FAST has evolved into a multi-faceted vocabulary with a universe of approximately 1.7 million headings across all facets. The facets are designed to be used together, but each may also be used independently.

FAST Applications


A full feature search interface to the FAST database.

FAST Converter

Web interface for the conversion of LCSH to FAST headings.

assign FAST

A Web service that automates the manual selection of FAST subjects.

FAST Linked Data

A Linked Data service to interact with the Semantic Web.

Fast Funnel

The FAST Funnel Project was established to provide a route for new and changed terms to be proposed via SACO (Subject Authority Cooperative Program) for LCSH and other LC vocabularies, allowing those terms to also become part of FAST once accepted by the Library of Congress. Any FAST user may propose a term via the FAST Funnel. See the proposal form or send an email to the Funnel coordinators with your proposal. Note that this is not a route to directly change FAST, but to change LC vocabularies.

Fast Policy and Outreach (FPOC) Committee

The FAST Policy and Outreach Committee (FPOC) seeks new members each calendar year.  Additional positions will become available in January 2024.

Established in September 2018, the joint committee of OCLC and FAST implementers acts as an advisory and outreach body. Their priority is to ensure FAST will be a fully supported, widely adopted and community developed general subject vocabulary derived from LCSH with tools and services that serve the needs of diverse communities and contexts.

Members serve for a maximum of two terms, each of two years, and are eligible to serve as co-chair.  The committee meets online every other month, with meetings usually lasting one hour. Members are also expected to contribute to the advisory work of the committee and the promotion of FAST.

Membership guidelines can be found here. Interested candidates can self-nominate using this form and return it no later than November 15th of the year, for nomination for membership in the following year.

FPOC is focused on promoting the use and implementation of OCLC’s faceted vocabulary and encourages candidates working in diverse subject areas to apply. 

Committee members

Members of the FAST Policy and Outreach Committee (and organizations they represent) include:

  • Kim Mumbower, The Library Corporation (TLC)
  • Maxime Bouchard, Université Laval
  • Erica Findley, Multnomah County Library
  • Thomas Ma, Harvard University
  • Nancy Cooey, Library of Congress
  • Tonya Dority, Augusta University
  • Caroline Kent, British Library
  • Joan Wang, Washington University in Saint Louis
  • Dean Seeman (Corresponding Member), University of Victoria Libraries
  • Cynthia Whitacre, OCLC, Membership & Research
  • Becky Dean, OCLC, Metadata Quality

The Committee Co-Chairs are Erica Findley of Multnomah County Library and Joan Wang of Washington University in St. Louis.

Comments or questions? Please contact customer support

Service availability

  • Available everywhere

Join this listserv

Join FACETVOC-L, a listserv discussion of all Faceted Controlled Vocabularies. To subscribe, simply go to the Internet Subscription page and follow the instructions. To post messages, simply send an e-mail message to FACETVOC-L@oclclists.org.

Recent news

See the new 2022 FAST Quick Start Guide developed by FPOC.

Watch this space for FAST news.

Upcoming events

On-demand webinars