On 19/11/2012 17:10, Karen Coyle wrote:
Jim, LCSH is not a classification. It isn’t even a complete thesaurus. See:
Simon Spero’s work on LCSH.
“Subject Headings” are not a classification. They are subject headings.
I must disagree. The subject heading itself is a label for a concept that defines a group of records. Classification determines how those concepts are arranged for retrieval. The heading “Dogs” defines a concept that has this label. All records with this concept are grouped together by having this label. The task for the searcher who is interested in “Dogs” is to find that concept. How can someone find that concept?
It can be done through finding it alphabetically, so that “Dogs” is found after “Dogrib mythology” as it is in the arrangement found in LC, or it can be found through a classified arrangement, so that people find it through going through:
— Domestic animals
This is one type of classified arrangement, but another arrangement, more purely taxonomic, could be done.
This type of access is how it is done in many parts of the world. In the US, Cutter et al. decided that their catalogs were not for scholars who supposedly knew the classified arrangement but for the average person who would look for “Dogs” under “D” and not under “Life (Biology)”. This is what makes a dictionary catalog what it is. Otherwise it is not a dictionary catalog. In some parts of the world, you have to look under “Life (Biology)” or its equivalent, to eventually find “Dogs”. Lots (and lots!) of catalogs have been made this way.
Subject headings are the labels that were originally typed at the top (head) of the cards so that they could be found. Arranging those records can be done in various ways. Still, a classified arrangement exists still exists in our current system of authority records.
But I guess this knowledge is being lost.