Re: [NGC4LIB] The “A” in RDA

Posting to NGC4LIB

On 26/07/2013 16:52, Karen Coyle wrote:

What about subject access? That isn’t even on the table, as far as I can tell. Are we only interested in serving users who show up with a name or a title?

I’m appalled that we have spent so much time on cataloging, and so little time on providing access to the knowledge that the library should represent. No wonder people see it as a warehouse – we seem only concerned with inventory.

I completely agree. Good, solid subject access would provide something that nobody else provides. As an example of a new type of access, I have suggested tools that would allow someone to do full-text text searches, but limited only to specific subjects or classification areas. As an example, I made a little prototype for “archaeological methodologies” that shows what might be able to happen. If you enter a relevant term, e.g. “pottery”, in the top text box, then click on the box, you will do a full-text search of the LC catalog, limited only to the classification numbers CC73-CC81. The result is a very complex search that the average person could never do, but it is easy to do.

The lower text box does something similar with Google Books. It searches for full-text, but Google books that have the subject heading “Archaeology–Methodologies”. I demonstrated this at a paper I gave in Oslo Something like this could be improved tremendously, but the final product is that people can do highly complex searches, yet the real complexity is hidden from the searcher. Also, getting full-text and authority controlled headings to work together, such as the example with Google Books would create something never really seen before.

But the main problem of working with subjects is to get all of the cross-references to work in a keyword environment. I haven’t seen that work yet. Putting all of the subjects into a wiki could be very interesting.