It took only 9 years from the first appearance of roof shields on the U.S. longwall mining scene to the present predominance of shield faces. An apparent consequence is the welcome downward trend in accidents related to failures in longwall ground control. The report addresses load prediction, the effects of shield geometry on support loads, factors contributing to ground control, and related techniques. The Bureau of Mines took an active part in the evolution of longwall mining, including developing one of the first shield faces in 1975, the first lemniscate-type shields in 1976, the mine roof simulator completed in 1980, the first shields in steeply pitching coalbeds in 1981, and the first multilift working of a thick coalbed in 1982. The information offered in this state-of-the- art report will assist in establishing criteria for roof support selection.