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

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.

If you would like to nominate yourself or a colleague for the FAST Policy and Outreach Committee, please complete this form.

Committee members

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

  • Jill Annitto, ATLA (American Theological Library Association)
  • Heidy Berthoud, Smithsonian Libraries
  • Chew Chiat Naun, Harvard University
  • Alan Danskin, British Library
  • Jesse Lambertson, University of Chicago, D’Angelo Law Library
  • Estelle Markel-Joyet, American Philosophical Society Library & Museum
  • Steve McDonald, Tufts University and Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC)
  • Dean Seeman, University of Victoria Libraries
  • Becky Dean, OCLC
  • Sandi Jones, OCLC
  • Nathan Putnam, OCLC
  • Diane Vizine-Goetz, OCLC

The Committee has two Co-Chairs: Jill Annitto of ATLA and Alan Danskin of the British Library.

Comments or questions? Please contact customer support

Service availability

  • FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology)

    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.

Upcoming events

14 October 2020

21st Century Indexing

Learn how FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) can help libraries and other cultural institutions to assign subject headings

Recent news