The National Archives Catalog

Narrower Term (NT)

Mandatory Repeatable Data Type Authority Public Element
No Yes Variable Character Length (700) Topical Subject Thesaurus, Geographic Reference Thesaurus, Specific Records Type Thesaurus, and Program Area Thesaurus Yes



An authorized, preferred heading that is narrower in definition and scope.



Supports the hierarchical relationship between or among headings in a controlled vocabulary.

Supports the primary purpose of vocabulary control to achieve consistency in description and to facilitate retrieval based on the hierarchical relationship of concepts.


Relationship: This element is dependent on Topical Subject, Geographic Reference, Specific Records Type, or Program Area. To have a Narrower Term, one of these authority headings must be created and it must be a preferred record.



For cataloging narrower term reference headings, see the Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings (Library of Congress).




Topical Subject:
    • NT: Suffrage
  • Political rights


Geographic Reference:
    • NT: Charleston (S.C)
  • Charleston (S.C.)


Specific Records Type:
    • NT: architectural photographs
  • photographs


Program Area:
    • NT: Nuclear power plants and reactors
  • Nuclear energy

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Lifecycle Data Requirements Guide