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FCIL Newsletter / October 1997


Law of the Sea Subject Heading Established

Paul Weiss

Library of Congress

With the implementation of the new subclasses JZ and KZ for international law and relations, the Library of Congress is now turning its attention to improving the range and terminology of subject headings available in this field.

As a first step, the Cataloging Policy and Support Office (CPSO) has identified the need to establish the heading "Law of the sea," in effect splitting the existing subject heading "Maritime law" into two distinct headings: "Law of the sea," to be used for public international law, and "Maritime law," to be used only for maritime commercial law. In order to split the heading in this manner, it will be necessary to review all of the bibliographic records that currently carry the heading "Maritime law" and to identify:

    (a) those that do not require any change,

    (b) those in which the heading "Maritime law" should be changed to "Law of the sea," and

    (c) those that should be assigned both headings.

Although it will be possible to identify many of the records to be changed on a mechanical basis, for example, by segregating records according to the classification number assigned, CPSO estimates that at least 500 of the records will require individual intellectual review.

As a followup to discussions held at the AALL annual conference and as an experiment in a new type of cooperation in the area of subject heading revision, CPSO would like to invite interested libraries to assist with this review of Library of Congress bibliographic records. It is envisioned that a participating library would be assigned a certain block of records which would be accessed over the Internet. After completing its review of the assigned block of records, the library would submit to CPSO two lists, one consisting of LCCNs for records in which the heading "Maritime law" would be changed to "Law of the sea," and the other consisting of LCCNs for records to which "Law of the sea" would be assigned in addition to "Maritime law."

CPSO invites those libraries who would like to participate in this cooperative endeavor to submit their expressions of interest to:

  • Paul G. Weiss
  • Senior Cataloging Policy Specialist
  • Cataloging Policy and Support Office
  • Library of Congress 101 Independence Ave. S.E.
  • Washington, DC 20540
  • Email: pwei@loc.gov
  • Telephone: (202) 707-5803
  • FAX: (202) 707-6629


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