Canadian Subject Headings (CSH) - File download

Canadian Subject Headings (CSH) are maintained by Library and Archives Canada (LAC). LAC will produce updated versions periodically.

Note: The existing Canadian Subject Headings do not reflect current terminology used by First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation for describing material with Indigenous content. The direct contribution of First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation is an essential part of our efforts to update this list. In the fall of 2019, we began discussions with the librarian community, particularly with Indigenous librarians and knowledge keepers across the country. Revised headings will be included in updated versions of the following files once completed.

We recommend using Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Chrome to download the following files.

  • CSH records in MARC21 tagged format - ANSI file: June 2024 (TXT/ANSI; 2 MB)
    • Please note that the recommended character set for CSH is UTF8. The ANSI character set is not adequate to represent all of the diacritics used in CSH. For example,
      ASNI: K'ashgot'i?ne Goxed dialect
      UTF8: K'ashgot'ne Goxedǝ́ dialect
  • CSH records in MARC21 tagged format - UTF8 file: June 2024 (TXT/UTF8; 2 MB)
  • CSH list: June 2024 (PDF; 2.9 MB)
  • CSH subdivision list: June 2023 (Excel; 103 KB)
  • CSH related to Indigenous Peoples: June 2024 (Excel; 178 KB)

The MARC files provided above contain "tagged" or eye-readable records. These files can be converted to machine-readable records for loading using MARC editing software. LAC also provides machine-readable MARC files of CSH via its SFTP subscription service.

Contact us:
Description Division, Standards and Systems
Private Archives and Published Heritage Branch
Library and Archives Canada
550 de la Cité Boulevard
Gatineau QC J8T 0A7