About us

What is RVM?

RVM is a partially bilingual encyclopedic thesaurus whose terms are classified according to a specific syntax. The constantly expanding database contains subject heading records that are broken down into

  • common names, for example Chirurgie vétérinaire ; Enfants artistes ; Oiseaux nocturnes
  • geographic names, for example Canada ; Paris (France) ; Saint-Laurent (Fleuve)
  • and general, form, chronological, and geographic subdivisions.

RVM is both an adaptation…

RVM has partially adapted the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and fully adapted the Canadian Subject Headings (CSH) of Library and Archives Canada into French in a manner that reflects the specificities of the French language.

…and a source of “original” subject headings

RVM includes subject headings with no English equivalent. These subject headings take into account realities that are not considered by other lists.

But RVM is more than that

RVM includes equivalents of concepts taken from two specialized thesauruses, Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) from the National Library of Medicine, and the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) of the J. Paul Getty Trust.

RVM is a Canadian standard

The Université Laval Library (ULL) receives a contribution from Library and Archives Canada (LAC), which has recognized RVM as the national standard for French-language indexing since 1974. This collaboration with LAC allows the RVM team to stay abreast of the latest developments in cataloguing and indexing standards.


RVM data is coded using the MARC21 format.

RVM at a glance

RVM contains common name authority files; certain proper name authorities, including geographical names; four types of subdivisions; see references; and equivalent terms from other indexing languages.

Detail of statistics:


Authority types Statistics
Total number of subject headings


Total number of topical terms 183,228
Total number of geographic names 53,089
Topical terms: statistics for various authority types  
100 Personal Names 1,607
110 Corporate Names 2,086
111 Meeting Names 6
130 Uniform Titles 356
150 Topical Terms 166,336
151->150 Topical terms beginning with a Geographic Name 12,374
155 Genre/Form Terms 463
Subdivisions : statistics for each of the four types  
180 General Subdivisions 3,876
181 Geographic Subdivisions 47,671
182 Chronological Subdivisions 36
185 Form Subdivisions 666
Total number of see references 322,137
Original headings with no equivalent 53,153
100 Personal Names 417
110 Corporate Names 966
111 Meeting Names 0
130 Uniform Titles 11
150 Topical Terms 16,131
151 Geographic Names 19,264
180 General Subdivisions 169
181 Geographic Subdivisions 16,175
182 Chronological Subdivisions 0
185 Form Subdivisions 9
Number of subject headings with at least one equivalent  
Library of Congress Subject Headings equivalents 225,132
Medical Subject Headings equivalents 12,807
Canadian Subject Headings equivalents 2,151/td>
Art and Architecture Thesaurus equivalents 11,611d>
RAMEAU equivalents 23,986d>
RVM equivalents 1927d>
Number of records with at least one LC call number 47,850d>

Other RVM products and services

Machine translation

For French-English and English-French translation of subject headings and descriptors contained in bibliographic records, on a daily basis, in batches or one-by-one, or in retrospective cataloguing batches. This service is available on a subscription basis only.

RVM training and Le Guide pratique du RVM

To help indexers learn how to use RVM properly.

RVM Staff

A team of librarians and library assistants are tasked with developing RVM.

Isabelle Jandet
Administrative assistant

Phone: 418-656-2131 ext. 6315
Fax: 418-656-3910

Main duties:

  • Management of RVM online subscriptions
  • Management of machine translation subscriptions

Claude Leblanc
Library Assistant

Phone: 418-656-2131 ext. 14574
Fax: 418-656-3910

Main duties:

  • Data entry in the RVM database and entry quality control
  • Updating the RVM website
  • Reception and telephone

Sylvie Bélanger
Library Resource Specialist

Sylvie Bélanger
Phone: 418-656-2131 ext. 6114
Fax: 418-656-3910

Main duties:

  • Training indexers to use RVM
  • RVM site webmaster
  • Updating Le Guide pratique du RVM content

Denise Dolbec
Library Resource Specialist

Denise Dolbec
Phone: 418-656-2131 ext. 6105
Fax: 418-656-3910

Main duties:

  • Training indexers to use RVM
  • Updating and enhancing Le Guide pratique du RVM content
  • Updating RVM subject headings further to LCSH common names updates
  • Geographic names

Rose-Marie Racine-April
Library Resource Specialist

Rose-Marie Racine-April
Phone: 418-656-2131 ext. 6155
Fax: 418-656-3910

Main duties:

  • Training indexers to use RVM
  • Geographic names

Frédéric Parent
Library Resource Specialist


Phone: 418-656-2131 ext. 6153
Fax: 418-656-3910

Main duties:

  • Music headings specialist

Marie-Joëlle Tardif
Library Technician

Marie-Joëlle Tardif
Phone: 418-656-2131 ext. 6120
Fax: 418-656-3910

Main duties:

  • Translation and creation of subject headings
  • Updating the RVM website
  • Technical support to the team

Find out more about the history of RVM

Consult the following articles:

Gascon, Pierre. « Le Répertoire de vedettes-matière de la Bibliothèque de l'Université Laval : sa genèse et son évolution », Documentation et bibliothèques, 1993, vol. 39, no 3, pp. 129-139 (part one) ; 1994, vol. 40, no 1, p. 25-32 (part 2). This article is available in PDF.

Dolbec, Denise. « Le répertoire de vedettes-matière : outil du XXIe siècle », Documentation et bibliothèques, 2006, vol. 52, no 2, p. 99-108. This article is is available PDF.