Report of the
AALL Representative to the American Library Association
Association for Library Collection and Technical Services
Cataloging and Classification Section
Subject Analysis Committee (SAC)
Midwinter Meeting, Philadelphia, January 2008
Annual Meeting, Anaheim, June 2008
Fordham Law School Library
ymandelstam [at] law.fordham.edu
The Subject Analysis Committee is charged with "studying problems and recommending improvements in patterns, methods, and tools (particularly classification and subject headings systems) for the subject analysis, organization, and retrieval of information resources, and providing liaison for those areas of interest between CCS and other ALA and non-ALA organizations that have an interest in and concern for these activities."
The Committee meets at ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual on Sunday, 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM and Monday, 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM. Meetings are mainly devoted to reports from the various SAC liaisons and reports from the chairs of SAC and its subcommittees.
Following is a summary of SAC activities and highlights from the Library of Congress reports.
Joint SAC/PCC Task Force on Library of Congress Classification Training
The task force has completed its work and submitted its final report at Midwinter. Information on the Fundamentals of Library of Congress Classification workshop is available at http://www.loc.gov/catworkshop/cct/classify/index.html.
Subcommittee on the Future of Subject Headings
The charge of the subcommittee is to "analyze the future of subject analysis using controlled vocabulary through the use of SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis, taking into consideration both internal forces within the library community and external environment."
Since the subcommittee broadened the scope of its charge from Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH ) to controlled vocabularies in general, it reopened the discussion on its Listserv at http://lists.ala.org/wws/arc/headings/. Though the discussion is now closed, the archived postings are worth reading. The subcommittee will submit its final report at ALA Midwinter 2009 and is planning a panel discussion at Annual 2009.
Subcommittee on Genre/Form Implementation
The subcommittee acts as a facilitator of two-way communication between the Library of Congress Cataloging and Support Office (CPSO) and the cataloging communities with interest in genre/form headings, including but not limited to the moving images, music and law communities.
In a recent open letter to the Library of Congress Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate, the subcommittee stated its support for the continued creation of authority records for genre/form headings. The subcommittee offered to partner with the Library of Congress in the Genre/Form Authority Record Project and voiced interest in the creation of a SACO Genre/Form Funnel.
The subcommittee plans to identify genre/form headings currently established as 150 authority records, develop a list of general genre/form terms that are used across disciplines (e.g. Periodicals), and explore the use of geographic subdivisions for genre/form headings.
Subcommittee on FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology)
FAST--a subject vocabulary derived from LCSH-- was developed by OCLC in cooperation with the Library of Congress. The subcommittee on FAST continued to refine and expand the FAST manual and explore issues related to FAST implementation.
As of July 20, 2008, the FAST authority file contained 1,668,161 terms for topics, forms, personal and corporate names, geographic names, events, periods, and uniform titles. The latest version of the FAST database and the FAST manual are available at http://fast.oclc.org.
Highlights from reports submitted by Janis Young (Midwinter) and Ana Cristán (Annual), Library of Congress Cataloging Policy and Support Office (CPSO)
The full LC at ALA report is available at http://www.loc.gov/ala.
LCSH: Pre- vs. Post-coordination. In response to a request from the Director of Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access (ABA) for a review of the pros and cons of pre- versus post-coordination of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), CPSO prepared a report, "Library of Congress Subject Headings: Pre- vs. Post-Coordination and Related Issues." In addition to a review of the issue of pre- versus post-coordination, CPSO made recommendations to reduce the costs for and further automate the process of subject cataloging while retaining the benefits of the pre-coordinated strings of LCSH. The final report is available on the Library's Cataloging and Acquisitions home page at http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/pre_vs_post.html.
LCSH Subject Validation Records and Classification Web. In May 2007, the Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) began distributing a series of subject authority records that were created solely for the purpose of allowing for machine validation of commonly used subject strings consisting of established headings combined with free-floating subdivisions. As of June 2008, over 29,000 of these so-called "validation records" have been distributed, and they are continuing to be distributed at an accelerated pace. The LC Subject Search screen in Class Web was recently restructured to allow users the option of excluding or including the validation records in their search results.
Genre/Form Authority Records. The Library of Congress is continuing its efforts to develop genre/form headings (MARC tag 155), and is currently active in two areas: moving images (films, television programs, and video recordings) and radio programs. The Cataloging Policy and Support Office has submitted a report to the Director for Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access, recommending that further projects, e.g., genre/form authority records for music and law headings, be investigated and undertaken.
Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings. With the 2008 update, the Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings is current through the end of February 2008. This is the final update to the 5th edition of the manual. In autumn 2008, a new edition of the manual will be published under the title Subject Headings Manual. The new edition will consolidate the previous updates and complement the Classification and Shelflisting Manual, published in May 2008.
Classification and Shelflisting Manual. In 1992, a classification manual consisting of individual instruction sheets on the application of Library of Congress Classification in specific cataloging situations was published under the title Subject Cataloging Manual: Classification. The first edition of a shelflisting manual was published in 1987 as Subject Cataloging Manual: Shelflisting, followed by a second edition in 1995. Because classification and shelflisting are such closely related processes, for this new 2008 edition the two manuals were combined into a single loose-leaf volume with the title Classification and Shelflisting Manual. The shelflisting portion of the manual in particular has been extensively revised and reorganized, and many of the instruction sheets have been assigned new numbers. The 2008 edition of the Classification and Shelflisting Manual is available from the Cataloging Distribution Service.
LCSH and SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System). LC is working with the Semantic Web Deployment Working Group of the World Wide Web Consortium to develop SKOS, which will support the use of classification systems and thesauri in the World Wide Web. Here is information from http://lcsh.info, the project's site: "This is an experimental service that makes the Library of Congress Subject Headings available as inked-data using the SKOS vocabulary. The goal of lcsh.info is to encourage experimentation and use of LCSH on the web with the hopes of informing a similar effort at the Library of Congress to make a continually updated version available. More information about the Linked Data effort can be found on the W3C Wiki."