ACAT is it ever ok to omit subject headings?

Posting to Autocat

On 30/06/2014 23.27, Mary L Miller wrote:

We are working with a news collection donated by a local station. We have 35,000 tapes with about 50 sequences of raw news footage per tape… or about 1,750,000 sequences to describe.

But where is the value: Fewer but more detailed records, or more records with less information?

The topics on each tape are so disparate that it’s impossible to assign subject headings to each tape as a whole and have them mean anything.

Of course, that is a huge question and much depends on the resources you have, but the first question I think of is: how did the local station deal with it? Do they have anything at all that could help? It seems likely that a station would want/need to get their hands on specific footage should the need arise (legal, historical etc.) and they should have something.

Another idea: especially for a news collection, being able to deal with it by time (e.g. find what was broadcast on a specific day) could be a tremendous help in finding something.

If there is absolutely nothing and you really have chaos, and you are faced with the situation of “The topics on each tape are so disparate that it’s impossible to assign subject headings to each tape as a whole and have them mean anything,” then there is little to do.

Still, there may be possibilities. I would like to refer people to the Wikileaks “Kissinger Cables” which is 1.7 million cables. They discussed how they did it at “Preparing the Kissinger Cables for the WikiLeaks Public Library of US Diplomacy (“PlusD”)” (https://search.wikileaks.org/plusd/about/#ptk) (just below it is how they worked with the Cablegate materials).

Of course, these are text based so there may be little there for you, but I think it is interesting to see how other organizations are dealing with these massive amounts of information.

-474

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