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 Policy and Outreach (FPOC) Committee

The FAST Policy and Outreach Committee (FPOC) is seeking new members for positions that will become available in January 2023.

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 once a 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 15, 2022.

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:

  • Alan Danskin, British Library
  • Jill Annitto, American Theological Library Association (ATLA)
  • Heidy Berthoud, Smithsonian Libraries
  • Chew Chiat Naun, Harvard University
  • Kim Mumbower, The Library Corporation (TLC)
  • Dean Seeman, University of Victoria Libraries
  • Lucy Kilpatrick, Bibliographic Data Services
  • Carol Campbell, National Library of Scotland
  • Becky Dean, OCLC
  • Cynthia Whitacre, OCLC
  • Nathan Putnam, OCLC
  • Kerre Kammerer, OCLC

The Committee Co-Chairs are Alan Danskin of the British Library and Dean Seeman of the University of Victoria Libraries.

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 form and provide your information. 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