Apply the following for current place names:

1. For names in the United States, base the heading on the form found in the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), U.S. Geological Survey (United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN) domestic names system). GNIS may be accessed through the World Wide Web ( A recent edition of the Rand McNally Commercial Atlas & Marketing Guide may also be used when access to the World Wide Web is not available.

2. For names in Australia and New Zealand, base the heading on the form found on the GEOnet Names Server (GNS), Defense Mapping Agency (the BGN foreign names system). GNS may be accessed through the World Wide Web ( A gazetteer published within the last two years may also be used when access to the World Wide Web is not available.

3. For names in Canada, use the heading provided by the National Library of Canada (NLC). Accept the NLC form, even if it differs from LC policy in such matters as abbreviations, diacritics, fullness, qualifiers, etc.

4. For names in Great Britain, base the name on a recent edition of The Ordnance Survey gazetteer of Great Britain. Online access may be found at ( Click on Place name gazetteer.

5. For other names, base the heading on the form found in the work being cataloged together with a consideration of the form found on GNS (or an appropriate gazetteer if access to the World Wide Web is not available).

English or Vernacular Forms:

If BGN approves both a vernacular and an English form (called a conventional name in BGN terminology), use the English form.

For the following names, use the English form listed rather than the BGN-approved form:






Bosnia and Hercegovina










East Flanders














Lower Austria

Lower Saxony




Mexico City



North Brabant

North Holland

North Rhine-Westphalia












Saint Gall





South Holland




Tehran [instead of Teheran]




Upper Austria


West Flanders



Note: If a foreign name is established in an English form, use the same form if the name is used by more than one jurisdictional level or is used as part of another name, whenever the same name occurs at the beginning of the name.


Note: Before 1999, headings for the provinces and major cities of China were established in a conventionalized English-language form based on the Wade-Giles romanization system. After 1998, these geographic administrative areas of China are to be established in the BGN-approved pinyin form. Existing headings will be revised by LC on a project basis.

Modifications of the Name:

1. Initial articles. Drop initial articles from the beginning of the entry element of geographic names in Arabic, Urdu, Hebrew, and Yiddish. Retain initial articles in other non-English geographic names when retention is supported by current gazetteers in the country's language. ("Non-English" is meant to include names in French, Spanish, etc., when these are used in the United States (e.g., Los Angeles) or other English-speaking countries.) Drop all other initial articles (e.g., drop "The" from "The Dalles").

2. Gazetteers. If the name is based on the form found in a recently published gazetteer, generally use in the heading the form found on the item being cataloged rather than a shortened form or unabbreviated form found in a gazetteer, unless 23.5A is applicable.


However, for the English-language terms "Saint" or "St." and "Mount" or "Mt.," always use the spelled out form regardless of the item being cataloged or other evidence unless the name is for a place or jurisdiction within the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, in which case the abbreviation "St." should be preferred to the spelled out form "Saint," or the name is for a place or jurisdiction in Canada, in which case the heading supplied by the National Library of Canada should be used. Make a reference from the form not used in the heading.


3. U.S. Board on Geographic Names. If BGN approves a romanized form that conflicts with LC's policy for the romanization of that language, use the LC form of romanization in the heading. If the BGN response indicates both a brief and a long form of the place name, generally select the long form as the heading, unless 23.5A is applicable.


Note that in the case of conflicts, 23.4F1 mandates a preference for long forms found in sources (including BGN "variants"), rather than adding "an appropriate smaller place" within parentheses after the conflicting name.


4. Districts of India. In order to have consistent headings for the districts of India, establish all of them with the word "District" (or its equivalent in non-English) omitted. If the resulting heading conflicts, as in the case of the city's bearing the same name, add "District" as an element of the parenthetical qualifier (24.6).

5. U.S. Townships. For U.S. townships (called "towns" in some states) that encompass one or more local communities and the surrounding territory, do not include the term "township" or "town" as part of the name. Instead, add the term after the name of the state.


These non-local jurisdictions are called "townships" in Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota; they are called "towns" in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. If there is more than one township with the same name in the same state, apply LCRI 23.4F1.

Note: For the period 1980-1990, the term "Township" or "Town" was added only if the name conflicted. Change existing headings for U.S. townships lacking the term "Township" or "Town" when the headings are needed for post-1990 cataloging.

Special Decisions:

1. China. For all the governments that have controlled the mainland of China, use "China" for all periods except 1931-1945. For the government headquartered in Nanking, 1931-1937, and in Chungking, 1937-1945, use "China." For the government headquartered in Jui-chin, 1931-1937, use "China (Soviet Republic, 1931-1937)." For the government headquartered in Peking, 1937-1940, use "China (Provisional government, 1937-1940)." For the governments headquartered in Nanking, 1938-1945, use "China (Reformed government, 1938-1940)" for 1938-1940, and use "China (National government, 1940-1945)" for 1940-1945. For the post-1948 government on Taiwan, use "China (Republic : 1949- )." For the province of Taiwan, use "Taiwan."

2. Germany. For the Federal Republic of Germany, use "Germany (West)" for 1949-1990 and "Germany" after 1990. For the German Democratic Republic, use "Germany (East)."

3. Great Britain. For the United Kingdom, use "Great Britain."

4. Korea. For Korea until September 1945, including the Japanese occupation (1910-1945), use "Korea." For Nam Chosimage\232KOREA.gifn Kwado Chimage\232KOREA.gifngbu (South Korean Interim Government, 1947-1948), the American occupation government (1945-1948), and the Republic of Korea, use "Korea (South)." For the Soviet occupation government (1945-1948) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, use "Korea (North)."

5. London. In dealing with London, use the following headings:

a. Use "City of London (England)" for items from the 677-acre entity.

b. Use "Greater London Council" for items from the former entity bearing this name that had administrative control over the 32 London boroughs that made up "Greater London" (excluding the City of London). (The entity ceased April 1, 1986.)

c. Use "London (England)" as the qualifier added to corporate headings for a body located in the City of London or in an inner borough. Use "London (England)" also as the qualifier added to a corporate heading for a body located in an outer borough when the body is commonly associated with London rather than with the name of the particular outer borough. Otherwise, use the heading for a particular outer borough. (The inner London boroughs are Camden, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, and the City of Westminster.)

6. Soviet Union. For the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, use "Soviet Union."

For the republics that constituted the Soviet Union, use the following headings:

Before 1992:

After 1991:

Armenian S.S.R.

Armenia (Republic)

Azerbaijan S.S.R.


Byelorussian S.S.R.




Georgian S.S.R.

Georgia (Republic)

Kazakh S.S.R.


Kirghiz S.S.R.






(Before 1990: Moldavian S.S.R.)



Russian S.F.S.R.

Russia (Federation)

Tajik S.S.R.


Turkmen S.S.R.




Uzbek S.S.R.


7. Washington, D.C. For Washington, D.C., use "District of Columbia" as the heading for the government of this name. Use "Washington (D.C.)" only as a location qualifier or as the entry element for cross references from place.

See also:

23. Geographic Names