January 2003, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Subject Analysis Committee and its subcommittees met during ALA mid-winter in Philadelphia. The SAC Subcommittee on Subject Analysis Training Materials has finished most of the intellectual component of a basic course in subject heading assignment and has begun to edit the course modules. Part of the course will be given during a panel presentation at ALA in Toronto, and hopefully the course itself will be given prior to ALA in Orlando 2004. It follows the outline developed by the serials cataloging workshops. This will be a worthwhile workshop for all law catalogers to learn, or relearn, the basics of subject analysis. The basic law subject heading presentation given at our basic cataloging institutes will go nicely with the SAC course.
The Subcommittee on Semantic Interoperability is beginning to develop an inventory of known projects and guidelines for evaluating them. The group's working definition of subject semantic interoperability is "The ability of two or more systems or components to exchange or harmonize cognate subject vocabularies and/or knowledge organization schemes to be used for the purposes of effective and efficient resource discovery without significant loss of lexical or connotative meaning and without special effort by the user."
The SAC Subcommittee on Subject Reference Structures in Automated Systems is close to finishing its recommendations for the display of reference structure and will present a panel discussion at ALA in Toronto in June.
Items of interest presented at the two main committee meetings were: implementation of KPB for Islamic law on January 20, 2003, the addition of data on form of geographic subdivision in field 781 on the authority records, the addition of field 667 if the heading is not to be used as a geographic subdivision, and the continuation of creating authority records for topical, form and chronological free floating subdivisions.
Lynn El Hoshy, the LC liaison to the committee, reported on the proposed change to the use of the subdivision –Great Britain in law subject heading practice. Previously Great Britain was used for law topics in England and Wales. It was also used for legal works that discussed England, Wales, and Great Britain. With the devolution of Wales, the British librarians felt that it would be better to use all three countries as geographic subdivisions and to use –Great Britain for works discussing all three countries. The CPSO comment period ends March 31, 2003 and Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings instruction sheet H955 will be revised to reflect the new practice once approved. The sheet will include a list of subjects where the law of Scotland differs from Great Britain and Wales.