Thursday, July 21, 2005

Cataloging & Classification Roundtable

TS-SIS Cataloging & Classification Roundtable

Cataloging & Classification Committee Chair Amy Lovell opened the roundtable by having attendees introduce themselves, and by laying down a few ground rules, asking participants to raise their hands before speaking, and asking us to make sure everyone was given an opportunity to speak.

Inherently legal subject headings

Yael Mandelstam (Fordham) led a discussion of the inherently legal subject headings project. The project’s purpose is to make the inherently legal status of certain subject headings clearer to catalogers (both law and non-law) and to catalog users, by adding see references. Some of these have already been added, e.g.


In March 2005, Yael recruited about 20 volunteers. She divided up the LCSH red books into 50 ranges of about 150 p. each and assigned them to the volunteers; to date 43 of the ranges have already been assigned & many have been completed. Volunteers add all the potential “inherently legal” subject headings they find to a specially created website:

Yael would like to see a task force appointed that would decide which of the subject headings harvested by these volunteers should be submitted to LC. The lists are intentionally very inclusive and need to be pared down, and decisions need to be made about borderline cases.

Yael cautioned that in some cases LC may decide to establish the subdivison LAW AND LEGISLATION rather than see references, but most attendees agreed that we should proceed nonetheless.

Yael will ensure that the final list includes headings in any updates issued by LC since the start of the project..

There may be situations in which TS-SIS would like to ask LC to reconsider its decision that a heading is inherently legal, e.g. SALES currently has a see reference from SALES–LAW AND LEGISLATION, but there are many books that deal with non-legal aspects of sales.

Crime-related headings are problematic because, although the very definition of crime entails “against the law,” laws do vary by jurisdiction, and a crime in one jurisdiction may not be a crime in all. Furthermore, many books deal with sociological, psychological, etc. aspects of crime; perhaps the HV vs. K distinction may be useful here.

Once this project is completed, maybe the C&C Committee could appoint a task force to tackle pattern headings. Such a task force might begin by asking LC whether it would be feasible for them to begin creating authority records for individual instances of pattern headings under which LAW AND LEGISLATION has been used.


The corporate name for the former West Publishing Company is currently established as “West Group” rather than Thomson West or Thomson/West, regardless of how it appears on the title page or verso. Similarly, “RIA Group”is the authorized heading when Thomson RIA is generally the form used on the title page or verso. Does this make sense to staff or catalog users? Should we work to get it changed?

Death dates

Although most of us welcome LC’s proposal to add death dates to name authority records for famous people who have died, there is a serious question of maintenance for the many systems that don’t have global change functionality. Someone suggested that LC publish lists of the “newly dead” in the Cataloging Service Bulletin.

Laws, etc.

Discussion continued over from the Cataloging & Classification Committee Meeting on the possibility of eliminating the uniform title “Laws, etc.” LC would like to discontinue “artificially constructed” headings such as “Laws, etc. (Compiled statutes)” and “Laws, etc. (Session laws).” A new subject heading could be established to compensate for potential loss in access, e.g. COMPILED LAWS could be established to parallel the already-established heading SESSION LAWS. Attendees wanted more time to study this issue before participating in a straw poll on whether or not they favor such a change.

1 comment:

  1. One thing that springs to mind is what effect replacing uniform titles with subject headings would have on things like the way local systems FRBRize records -- we've seen how Blackstone becomes a mess because there aren't UTs to separate it -- would the loss of those UTs cause similar problems?

    Just a thought --

    Chris Tarr