Identifying suitable topics

The topics to assign to a talk or a series are drawn from the Library of Congress Subject Headings. This is a huge database and it is sometimes hard to find the right keywords. Here are some tips, if you are not sure what topics to use, or, if you can’t find the appropriate topic for your subject.

Ask a Librarian for advice

Your subject librarian should have a good idea of the appropriate LC Subject Headings for your particular subject area.

Check the Libraries Catalogue for ideas

  • Search SOLO for a key publication or author.
  • Select a publication record.
  • Choose More bibliographic information from the Links box on the right.
  • LC Subject Headings are provided under Subject - Lib.Cong.
Check the Libraries Catalogue for ideas


Often the subject headings provided by the library catalogue are ‘complex subjects’. These might show up when you start typing into the Topic field on the Add Talk form, but if they don’t, you should be able to enter two separate topics e.g.: ‘Democracy’ and then ‘Case Studies’

Use assignFAST for suggestions

This is a useful tool when you need to distinguish between homonyms, or just can’t find the right subject heading

  • Go to the assignFAST website
  • Start typing and recommendations should appear
  • Select and option and it will appear in the box ready to copy
  • Copy and paste it into the Topic field in the Add Talk form and it should pop up ready to select
Use assignFAST for suggestions


Unfortunately, at the moment, Oxford Talks doesn’t present us with all available Subject Headings - only those of ‘Topic’ / ‘Topical’ type.

  1. You can limit the assignFAST results to show just ‘Topical’ Subject Headings
  2. or take a note of the Type in the results provided