2013 Annual Report

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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)

Submitted by Suzanne Graham

Genre/Form Headings: SAC continues to work through the creation of genre/form terms for constituent groups. The music and literature communities currently are compiling term lists. The law community completed its initial list of terms in 2011, but additional terms may be proposed as identified and/or needed.

Yael Mandelstam, active member the American Association of Law Libraries, is chairing a group to identify general genre/form terms (overarching and/or non-specific).

As part of the disambiguation of genre/form and subject, the committee submitted several proposals to the Machine-Readable Bibliographic Information Board (MARBI) to have additional fields identified and reserved, in bibliographic and authority records, to accommodate data on intended audience (385) and creator (386) demographics and on chronology (additional fields in 648 and 388) of the work. MARBI approved all of these proposals and they are now available for use and are included in the online version of MARC21 Format for Bibliographic Data and MARC21 Format for Authority Data.


Title: Law for the Small Businessman by a Lawyer
385 _ _ $a Businesspeople $2 lcsh
386 _ _ $a Lawyers $2 lcsh

Title: New law for wives and daughters (published in 1920s)
385 _ _ $a Married women $a Daughters $2 lcsh
648 10 $a Nineteen twenties

In June, the committee read and commented on a discussion paper by Janis Young, Library of Congress Policy Standards Division, justifying the need for and outlining the creation of a new controlled vocabulary for demographic terms to be used in the 385 and 386 fields (Library of Congress Demographic Group Term and Code List, $2 lcdgt). Most of the new terms will be taken from existing Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), and only in situations in which LCSH does not have an appropriate term would additional terms be created. The committee agreed that a single controlled vocabulary was essential and supported the use of LCSH. The Committee also volunteered to assist with the creation of the initial list should the PSD agree to pursue.

RDA Implementation: The RDA Implementation subcommittee forwarded a discussion paper to the full committee recommending that the RDA Joint Steering Committee should base its guidance on subjects on Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data (FRSAD), not Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records (FRBR). This decision would mean that the four subject elements in FRBR would be replaced by the two FRSAD terms: Themen and Nomen. Both would be referred to as "subjects" in RDA.

FRBR is found lacking for its overly proscriptive guidance that goes beyond subject analysis and would exclude some descriptors that our communities might choose to use.

Additional, specific proposed points:

  • RDA will have only one subject entity. Nomen will be part of "Subject" (previously, themen)
  • Only have works will have subjects
  • Genres will have a separate treatment (and be covered in a separate chapter of RDA)
  • Proposes only three chapters on subjects: a general chapter on attributes on subjects; a general chapter on recording subjects; and a chapter on recording relationships between subjects
  • Jurisdictions would move to Chapter 11 (with Corporate Bodies)
  • JSC will need to identify core elements, but subcommittee recommends:
    • Name of subject
    • Preferred name of subject (a subtype)
    • Identifier of subject
    • Controlled access point for subject
    • Scheme (LCSH, MeSH, etc.)

The committee will continue to discuss the paper until July 22, when it will be forwarded to the RDA Joint Steering Committee for consideration at its November 2013 meeting.

Presentation by Eric Miller on BIBFRAME: Committee heard an explanation of BIBFRAME by Eric Miller focusing on the potential for automated subject heading proposal creation. He described in general terms how a trusted series of links creating new connections. For example, a "popular" 653 (local, non-authorized heading) could be submitted to PSD for authorization without interrupting workflow of libraries. Authentication would need to be part of the process to keep some provenance and to track errors.