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, Dallas, January 2012
Annual Meeting, Anaheim, June 2012
emcgrath [at] buffalo.edu
This is my first year as AALL's Representative to the Subject Analysis Committee (SAC). Joining such a complex conversation in midstream is quite a challenge, so I want to extend my sincere thanks to Yael Mandelstam for helping me in my attempts to understand and navigate the content and logistics of the SAC meetings and the ALA conference as a whole.
To place SAC in context hierarchically, it is formally the American Library Association (ALA), Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), Cataloging and Metadata Management Section (CaMMS), Subject Analysis Committee. SAC has two subcommittees at present: the Subcommittee on Genre/Form Implementation (which I joined after Midwinter) and the Subcommittee on RDA.
SAC Subcommittee on Genre/Form Implementation
I attended my first of this Subcommittee's meetings at ALA Annual about a month ago. This group is very active and I look forward to increasing my knowledge of genre/form as I participate in its work. I also attended the kickoff meeting of the Working Group on Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT) Literature Terms. I do not have a literature background, but I know I will learn a great deal by observing the process employed. The Literature Working Group includes representatives from public, academic, and research libraries as well as from cataloging vendors.
A resource document entitled Sources for Genre/Form Terms (http://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/saco/documents/Genre-Form%20Reference%20Sources.pdf) was issued by the Subcommittee in February 2012. A related goal is to start drafting an LCGFT manual that can be modeled on the Subject Headings Manual (SHM) instruction pages.
The Subcommittee prepared and presented three discussion papers to MARBI during ALA Annual in Anaheim. Through its work on the various discipline-based and general projects, the Subcommittee realized that in the process of replacing LC form subject headings with LC genre/form terms, some important aspects of the work or expression will be lost (e.g., the geographic and chronological aspects in the LCSH string "Constitutions-Pennsylvania-Early works to 1800" cannot be used with LCGFT "Constitutions," since LC genre/form terms cannot be subdivided). These aspects or facets will need to be recorded elsewhere in bibliographic and authority records. The discussion papers' names reflect this:
- Chronological Aspects in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Formats (2012-DP03: http://www.loc.gov/marc/marbi/2012/2012-dp03.html)
- Recording Audience Characteristics of Works and Expressions in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Formats (2012-DP04: http://www.loc.gov/marc/marbi/2012/2012-dp04.html)
- Recording Creator/Contributor Group Categorizations of Works, expressions, and Persons in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Formats (2012-DP05: http://www.loc.gov/marc/marbi/2012/2012-dp05.html)
Papers available at http://www.loc.gov/marc/marbi/list-dp.html#2012
I was able to attend the MARBI meeting at which these papers were presented and found the discussion very interesting. All three papers were approved, so the Subcommittee will now turn them into MARBI proposals. This will be covered in the MARBI report, so I will not go into detail except for my observation of a few general, probably very obvious, themes:
- There is a constant interplay between the various ALA groups (MARBI, CC:DA, and SAC), the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC) and with RDA itself.
- Data must be appropriately placed and granular enough to allow access and to enable migration and crosswalks.
- Free text vs. encoded data issues must be resolved.
- Facets that allow end users to refine searches are critical.
- References to linked data and semantic web implementation possibilities are frequent, thus assuring that all are looking to the future.
The Subcommittee continued to discuss two other aspects or facets:
- Geographic origin of work/place of production, which also involves the concept of jurisdiction, an important aspect for law libraries. (This topic will be discussed at the TS Cataloging and Classification Roundtable on Tuesday afternoon.)
- Demonyms (the names for the resident of a locality or citizen of a country; for example, citizens of Canada are called Canadians). This paper was tabled rather than being pursued as a MARBI discussion paper, as it is felt there may be a linked data solution to associating Demonyms with genre/form terms.
Since the law genre/form terms have been approved and incorporated into the LCGFT, the focus is now on encouraging catalogers to apply the terms, both on new titles and retrospectively. Yael Mandelstam will give an update on the latter in her report at the TS-SIS Cataloging and Classification Standing Committee meeting.
The Subcommittee formed a new working group to focus on a General Terms Project. Yael Mandelstam and Bruce Tabb will co-chair the effort. The project's outcome will be a thesaurus of general-use genre/form terms that can be incorporated into the LCGFT.
A subgroup of the Subcommittee will begin to focus on the placement of genre/form terms in authority records for works and expressions. There was also discussion of other areas/disciplines that potentially need genre/form lists: video games, art, science, newspapers, and archival material.
SAC Subcommittee on RDA
This Subcommittee is charged with responding to subject-related proposals for revisions to RDA. Comments on such proposals are made by the Subcommittee and also the CC:DA. Both sets of comments are sent to the ALA representative to the JSC, John Attig, who uses them to formulate ALA's official response. One proposal has followed this path so far. It was discussed at the November 2011 JSC meeting and this is JSC's response:
"It was agreed that RDA is not intended to replace any subject indexing or classification system. In order for RDA to provide comprehensive guidelines and instructions covering all types of content and media, it is necessary to include the subject relationship and those entities that may be the subject of works. Library of Congress will prepare a follow-up discussion paper on these issues, including recommendations for object, concept, and place. It was also recognized that the properties of Object, Event, Time, and Place are not limited to the subject relationship. This is an issue with the underlying FRBR model, which JSC will raise with the FRBR Review Group." (http://www.rda-jsc.org/1111out.html)
It was reported at Annual that the LC paper was done, but then withdrawn. It was acknowledged that there are many gray areas associated with the recording of subject aspects in authority records for expressions.
SAC Research and Presentation Working Group
SAC also has a Research and Presentation Working Group, which I just volunteered to join. This latter group organizes a formal presentation for the first hour of each SAC Monday meeting. These were the two presentations this year:
- KO: Knowledge Organization presented by Karen Coyle (Midwinter)
- It's All About Discovery presented by Diane Vizine-Goetz (Annual)
Library of Congress Updates
Here are some highlights excerpted from the Midwinter and Annual reports submitted by Janis Young, the liaison to SAC from the Library of Congress Policy and Standards Division (PSD). The full LC ALA reports are available at http://www.loc.gov/ala/
- The Collection Development Office (CDO) has been established and Joseph Puccio appointed Collection Development Officer on March 26, 2012.
- There has been a complete overhaul of LC's main web search on its website.
- After extensive discussion and focus groups, LC has decided not to obtain a webscale discovery system at present.
- LC's online catalog has been redesigned using the Voyager "Tomcat" OPAC application.
- An e-books pilot began in October 2011, with four publishers participating. Through this new initiative, LC will provide quality metadata for use by the international library community for e-books that are simultaneously published in print.
Subject Cataloging & Classification
- New LCC schedule on Law of the Indigenous Peoples in the Americas (Classes KIA-KIX: North America) is currently in final draft stage after comments were received through May 20, 2012. More information will be forthcoming from Jolande Goldberg in her LC Update and in Program J5 on Tuesday afternoon at 2:30.
- Other newly released schedules are KBS (Canon Law of Eastern Churches) and KBT (Canon Law of Eastern Rite Churches in Communion with Rome), which are being applied by the Law Section.
- Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH red books) 34th edition will be available in late summer 2012.
- Subject Headings Manual (SHM) Update No. 2 (2011) and Update No. 1 (2012) have been published.
- New Library of Congress Classification (LCC) schedules published: D-DR, History (General) and History of Europe; KZ, Law of Nations; L, Education; S, Agriculture. New LCC schedules due by end of summer: Class B-BJ, Philosophy. Psychology and Q, Science.
- Mark Strattner retired as chief of the Law Library's Collections Services Office on November 3, 2011.
- Judy Kuhagen, senior cataloging policy specialist, retired on December 31, 2011. She is now part-time secretary to the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA.
Law Reclass Projects: The Law Section reclassed about 800 international law titles from the K schedule to the new portions of the KZ schedule, with the assistance of Jolande Goldberg and George Prager. The Section also continued to reclass the 554,927 volumes shelved under the legacy in-house LAW system, completing 24,697 titles, representing 41,887 volumes during this year. Overall, over 59,980 titles have been reclassed though this project. The current focus is on Italy, Japan, and Russia.
"Orphan" LCSH: PSD has begun to investigate the possibility of adding broader terms (BTs) to categories of headings that are currently "orphans" - those headings which are not hierarchically related to any others. So far, headings for periodicals and newspapers qualified by nationality, language, or ethnicity have been provided with the BTs Periodicals and Newspapers, respectively. This work will bring LCSH into closer alignment with the American National Standards Institute/National Information Standards Organization (ANSI/NISO) standard for monolingual controlled vocabularies. It will also enhance the usefulness of LCSH in the semantic web environment. SACO members should not submit change proposals about this; only PSD will work on it at present.
072 Fields in LC Subject Authorities Experiment: PSD will begin an experiment to add subject category codes (MARC 21 tag 072) to authority records for subject headings, which will commence no earlier than August 2012. It is anticipated that the addition of this information will enhance the usability of LCSH on the semantic web; assist catalogers by allowing integrated library systems (ILSs) and resource discovery platforms to provide a list of the subdivisions that are appropriate to headings being assigned; and improve automatic heading string creation and validation in ILSs and resource discovery platforms. For the first time, subject authority records will include information that indicates into which of the 34 pattern and free-floating lists an individual heading falls. It is anticipated that computers will be able to match the data in the 072 field to the data in the 073 field (Subdivision usage) of the subdivision authority records and suggest applicable subdivisions for a heading, and even construct valid headings. This experiment is very limited in scope with only PSD subject specialists adding 072s. It was emphasized that 072s should not be added to NACO authority records or added to SACO proposals. For more detail, see http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/field_072_announcement.pdf
RDA's Effect on Subject Analysis: So far, PSD has identified two areas in which RDA access points could conflict with LCSH policy: family names and names of fictitious characters. Under AACR2, neither could be provided as descriptive access points; since RDA permits this practice, PSD has determined that in each case the subject and descriptive headings should coexist. The descriptive headings for family names and fictitious characters may not be used as subject headings. The analogous LCSH should be used instead.
South Sudan: PSD undertook a project to update LCSH and LCC to reflect the existence of South Sudan as an independent country. Approximately 200 LCSH had to be revised and a new classification span, DT159.915-159.978, was approved, as were revisions to the schedule for Sudan (DT154.1-159.9). A geographic cutter for South Sudan, S643, has been established and will be added to the Classification and Shelflisting Manual G300 table.
Military Expeditions: Military expeditions that are campaigns, battles, sieges, etc. should now be established in LCSH with MARC tag 150, while those that are not should be established in the name authority file using MARC tag 111. BISAC Terms: Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC) subject headings were added to ECIP (electronic cataloging in publication) records this year, at the request of ECIP publishers. These headings are extracted automatically from the ONIX data created and supplied by the publishers. The CIP Group will explore adding other specialized vocabularies as the opportunity arises.
New LCSH of Current Interest
- Arab Spring, 2010-
- Egypt-History-Demonstrations, 2011-
- Genre/form terms, Library of Congress
- Libya-History-Civil War, 2011-
- Soldiers with disabilities
- Syria-History-Protests, 2011-
- Tunisia-History-Demonstrations, 2010-
Moving Images Project: Approximately 70 character- and franchise-based terms for moving images (e.g., Batman films; Star Trek television programs) were canceled on the Monthly List for February 2012. (http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/character_franchise_disposition_112211.pdf) Twenty-two sport-specific terms were canceled on the Monthly List for June 2012. (http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/genre_form_sports_terms_cancellation.pdf)
Cartography Project: PSD issued the discussion paper "Proposed Treatment of Globes in the LCGFT Environment" on May 24, 2012. (http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/genre_form_globes.pdf)
Music Project: The Music Library Association (MLA) continues to partner with PSD to develop genre/form terms for music. Over 800 genre/form terms have been agreed upon and work on the development of hierarchies is underway. There is a separate, but related, project to develop medium of performance as a separate facet since that is out of scope for LCGFT, but requires a controlled vocabulary.
Religion Project: The partnership to develop the genre/form terms for religion between the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) and PSD continues. ATLA is finishing its first draft and expects to forward it to PSD fairly soon. Literature Project: The SAC Subcommittee on Genre/Form Implementation has formed a Working Group on LCGFT Literature Terms and will partner with PSD on this project. PSD has begun the process of examining LCSH for subject headings that denote literary forms and genres. Approximately 400 LCSHs that are candidates for inclusion have been identified so far.