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Subject Headings & Classification Or, why catalogers don’t seem to think like normal people IDS4930: 5 February 2013

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Subject Headings & Classification. Or, why catalogers don’t seem to think like normal people. Got collections? . At some point, a system is needed… . Subject Headings. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Subject Headings & Classification

Subject Headings & ClassificationOr, why catalogers dont seem to think like normal peopleIDS4930: 5 February 2013This is a version (revised to fill in the notes section for better independent comprehension) of a lesson taught to undergraduate students at the University of Florida. 1Got collections?

Photo credit: Andy Woo ( Redistributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 GenericLicense Do any of you have items that you keep organized in a particular way? Maybe a VERY particular way?? (Draw out the general organizing principle color, size, frequency of use, etc.)

MP3 collections are organized for you on the basis of information that accompanies the file when you download it. That information is called metadata. (If time permits, talk about inconsistencies and errors in that metadata, or how a new item might tempt you to change the whole system if this person got a few good angels, would they re-sort by color, size, etc.??)

The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and the Library of Congress Classification System (LCC) are metadata systems that librarians bring together to help you find the items that you need.

Thomas Jefferson gave over 6,000 of his own books to establish the Library of Congress. The classification system we use in UFs libraries is a descendant of the personal system Jefferson chose for his own books. 2At some point, a system is needed

Photo credit: sindesign ( Redistributed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 GenericlicenseObviously, once more than one person is working to organize a collection, you need some standards or rules to keep people consistent. (Even if youre still only working with your own system, you need to be careful not to make different decisions at different times).

We use Library of Congress Subject Headings to group things in the library virtually by subject. We use Library of Congress Classification to group things in the library physically by subject, and provide a stable home for library materials. 3Subject HeadingsThe LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) were created by thousands of catalogers over the course of 100 years using a strict set of ever-changing rules.

-- Heidi Lee HoermanSchool of Library and Information Science,U. of South Carolina. But that can be difficult.

LCSH and LCC show their roots. They are inconsistent, complicated, and often show gender, racial, religious, and heterosexual biases. In your lifetimes, the change process has become more streamlined, but its still tricky and cumbersome.

Lists of new and modified LCSH are published weekly. (If time permits, link out to the list and point out some of the new headings that are not really new, may reflect cultural assumptions, or seem just weird.) Only a limited number of the worlds librarians can propose new subject headings. (Some UF librarians can!) But even we cannot propose a new heading unless we have literary warrant proof that the desired term is used the same way in a published work. 4Subject HeadingsCan beIdeas/conceptsEventsPlaces (even imaginary ones)People (even imaginary ones)

Search Hogwarts as a subject in

(As time permits, briefly introduce the idea of authority control unique identifiers for people, places, and organizations, so that similar items are not confused. Use instructors name authority record to show how one is constructed.)

5Narrowing It DownSubdivisions can beGeographic (United States, Florida, etc.)Chronology (dates; these are NOT the same for all headings)Form (what kind of a thing it is: Periodicals, Dictionaries, Blogs, etc.)Topic (Religious aspects, economic aspects)

Subdivisions are added to a big topic to break it down further. Some can be used with ANY heading; others, only with some kinds of headings. Subdivisions for people are different from those for topics, for example. 6What is This?

Image source: (Public domain image)Sure, you THINK its cantaloupe, (and can you spell that??), but to librarians muskmelon. The moral of the story is: if you are not finding what you need, DONT assume its your fault, or that UF doesnt have what you need. Ask a librarian to help you find terms and subdivisions that are an official part of LCC and LCSH. That is NOT cheating. Sometimes, we librarians have to help each other find the right term. 7Why???Parsnip, but also Philodrendrons!Working class women was established about 1985, Working class men in 2005!Neighbors was not a subject heading until 2006Mosquito nets was not a subject heading until 2008 and this term was requested and created by a cataloger at UF. Often, but NOT always, scientific names are used for plants and animals. If your research involves the sciences, use the authority file to find the correct LCSH. It will save much trouble.

LCSH suggestions courtesy of Christopher Walker, The Pennsylvania State University When catalogers cant find the just-right term, we sometimes use the almost-right term, or several of them. Remember that a committee with changing membership approves or denies suggestions for new headings.

Rap (Music) Religious Aspects Christianity

8And some are just odd

LCSH suggestion courtesy of Kevin Furniss, Tulane UniversityText in screen shot: The fury of men's gullets : Ben Jonson and the digestivecanal. "Throughout his work, Ben Jonson referred to writinginterms of ingestion, digestion, and excretion, mimicking the functions of the digestive tract.InThe Fury of Men's Gullets, Bruce Boehrer explores the poet's fascination withalimentarymatters and the wayinwhich such references describe Jonson's personal and cultural transformation." "Drawing on the theoretical work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, the author studies thealimentaryand convivial languageinJonson's work. He suggests that these pervasive metaphors provided the poet with a vocabulary for addressing issues of patronage and friendship, literary production and consumption, and social inclusion and exclusion." "Inhis wide-ranging examination of Jonson's plays, prose, and nondramatic verse, Boehrer discusses the sociohistorical significance of food, the politics of conspicuous consumption, the infrastructure of Jacobean London, and pertinent aspects of Renaissance medical practice and physiological theory. The Fury of Men's Gullets uniquely interprets Jonson's construction of early modern English literary sensibility.

Sometimes catalogers establish a very specific heading AND build a fence around the concept with multiple headings. Someone thought the term Alimentary canal in literature was the best one to describe this book. It appears to be the only time the heading has been used (Library of Congress and searched 2/18/2013. 9Library of Congress ClassificationGet the big picture: What are the large topic areas that cover your areas of interest? Which letters are NOT in the system? Why do you think that might be? I, O confused with numerals, especially in the days when call numbers were handwritten or typed on old typewriters that used letters for the numerals 1 and 0. W -- used for the National Library of Medicine Classification system

X, Y not used by the system

10So What Do You Do?Search keywords, but then look at the whole record and click the subject heading that matches your ideaCheck your subject or name at

Clip art source: MicrosoftAnd DONT hesitate to ASK THE LIBRARIAN.

11Yes, We Have Fiction in West!Not the same amount or kind as the public library, but we do. Here are some of the secret tips:Authors are sorted by nationality and/or language; British authors and American authors are in different classes. You can often find criticism of important books near that book, or near the end of all books by the author. Look around. You may discover authors who were popular in your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents time, but have fallen out of favor.You may have been told that we dont really have fiction at the library, Only books that support research. Or you may have been told that We have some literature, but you cant really browse it the way you can at the public library. Well, thats only partially true. After all, there are research conferences that feature Harry Potter, or spy novels. Im going to show you a few of the authors whose works we have in Library West and well deduce how the books are arranged for your secret browsing pleasure. 12Some Numbers: American AuthorsDashiell Hammett: PS3515.A4347Shirley Jackson: PS3519.A392James Weldon Johnson: PS3519.O2625-----Mary Higgins Clark: PS3553.L287Stephen King: PS3561.I483 Barbara Kingsolver: PS3561.I496Amy Tan: PS3570.A48

Can you see the organizing principle in this group? (Answer: The authors are grouped by the general time period in which they wrote, and then alphabetically by last name. The number gives the first letter of the last name; the portion of the number after the dot is the rest of the authors last name.)

As time permits, give a brief description of some of the authors. 13Some Numbers: British AuthorsAgatha Christie: PR6005.H66Mary Renault: PR6035.E55J.R.R. Tolkien: PR6039.O32Evelyn Waugh: PR6045.A9P.G. Wodehouse: PR6045.O53------Douglas Adams: PR6051.D3352Ian Fleming: PR6056.L4P.D. James: PR6060.A467

This is how authors are arranged in most literature categories. Academic libraries generally DO have some leisure reading, because some professors do research in popular culture or analyze social trends through literature. Literature in other languages begins with different letter pairs (which always start with P).

Now you can browse in the serious research library for leisure reading! But wait, theres more 14PZWe also have the PZ call number for many items.

Cover image source: GoodreadsThis is a catch-all area which can be used for authors who dont have a number of their own already set up. This is my favorite area to peek into when I am ultra-stressed. Its just alphabetical by author, more or less, and VERY random. The childrens literature section in the Education Library is classified in the PZs. 15

Clip art source: MicrosoftQuestions? 16Please Ask!Naomi YoungPrincipal Serials [email protected]

See a mistake in the UF or union catalog? (Typos, the wrong contents note, something obvious like that? )[email protected] 17