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DC-LIBRARIES  June 2000

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Subject:

Re: Subject vs. Coverage?

From:

Mary Larsgaard <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Fri, 09 Jun 2000 08:16:00 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (136 lines)

Hi, Stina.
You've touched on several topics that certainly came to my
mind while I was in the group working on DC-Coverage -
and far earlier than that, since it's an interesting
part of the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH).

I hasten to say that the below is my take on it and
other catalogers on this listserv may well view
matters differently.

1. In LCSH, the word "subject" covers everything - thematic
words (e.g., 'geology'), geographic places, chronological
periods, form/genre terms (e.g., 'databases', 'maps').

In DC, there are (rather surprisingly, given the push for
DC being as easy and straightforward as possible) a couple
of places where it's actually more precise than are standard
library practices (e.g., there are many more 'relations' than
we exactly specify in marc21).  One of these is the
area of subject.  Subject is ONLY thematic words; it is
not geographic areas (those are Coverage), chron.
periods (those are Coverage), or form/genre (those
are e.g. Type etc.).

So yes, use your authority-list words, and specify
the list that you use, but use them in Coverage,
not in Subject.

2. Re pre-coordination - this has been on my mind
ever since the online catalog my library uses finally
got keyword search (simultaneous author/title/subject
search, any word in any one of those fields).
         a. What keyword search does is tear precoordination apart
and in effect it does make a relatively small number
of false drops possible because of this.
         b. We find that straight subject search using precoordinated
terms requires that the user either:
                 i. have a thorough understanding
of LCSH and how it works; OR
                 ii. (what actually happens) find something
that's right on topic through a keyword search and then
religiously type in the subject-heading search in a
subject search.

         Precoordinated subject headings are extremely
powerful in zeroing in on a topic.  The problem is that they
are much easier for users to find in the first place in a hardcopy
card catalog than in an online catalog.  This is logical - after
all, precoordinated headings were designed in a hardcopy-card-
catalog era.  But I have had some very demanding discussions
with a person who specializes in thesaurus design and construction
using NO precoordinated headings - you just apply as many
as fit.  So for example, let's say we had a geology map of
California.  The LCSH heading would be:
         Geology--California--Maps.
The headingS using her thesaurus rules would be:
         Geology
         California
         Maps

  So ... it seems to me we need to rethink LCSH
a bit in light of this.  But perhaps your experience
has been different>

3.  I would certainly like to look over your subject-headings
list when you have English translation available.
Looks very similar to LCSH.

Mary



At 11:06 AM 6/8/00 +0200, Stina Degerstedt wrote:
>Hello!
>
>I have a question concerning the usage of DC.SUBJECT as apposed to
>DC.COVERAGE:
>
>The Royal Library runs a subject heading list which is used by many
>Swedish libraries. The list contains of both single terms and
>pre-coordinated terms for general use. It is also
>possible to add a geographical name or a time aspect to the terms
>(according to our guidelines).
>Example: 'Byggnader - arkitektur - Sverige - 1900-talet' (= Buildings -
>architecture - Sweden - 20th century).
>
>This subject list is freely available on Internet (as a database -
>adress, se below) and ment to be a tool for describing both printed
>material and electronic resources. We also plan to add an English
>translation of the terms in order to gain greater interoperability with
>other systems.
>
>Now to the point: We are just now discussing the relationship between
>the dc elements of Subject and Coverage when it comes to place names and
>time. Which is the "best" element for place names? Should we double the
>information? Are pre-coordinated subject headings only for librarians
>while "ordinary people" prefer a combination of single terms in both
>Subject and in Coverage?
>We are very much interested to learn if there have been any previous
>discussions in these matters. We would also be much greatful if those of
>you who use subject headings similar to ours could tell us about your
>praxis and experiences when working with Dublin Core.
>
>Adress to "Svenska ämnesord" (only in Swedish):
>http://www.amnesord.kb.se/
>
>Kindly,
>
>Stina
>
>--------------------------------------------------------------------
>Stina Degerstedt
>Enheten för bibliografisk utveckling och samordning (BUS)
>- Division for Bibliographic Development and Co-ordination
>Kungl. biblioteket - Royal Library - National Library of Sweden
>Post adress: Box 5039, S-102 41 Stockholm, Sweden
>Telephone: +46 8 463 42 42, Fax: +46 8 463 42 25
>Mail to: [log in to unmask]
>--------------------------------------------------------------------
>

______________________________________

Mary Lynette Larsgaard
Assistant Head, Map and Imagery Laboratory	
Davidson Library
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara CA 93106
telephone: 805/893-4049
fax: 805/893-8799
email: [log in to unmask]
______________________________________


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