Monday, July 23, 2007

Please volunteer for FAST cleanup project

Dear colleagues,

Those who attended the Cataloging & Classification Committee meeting in New Orleans already know about the FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) cleanup project. For those who were not there - here is an explanation:

As I reported last year, the Inherently Legal Subject Headings (ILSH) task force formed an interesting partnership with the FAST team. FAST--developed by OCLC in cooperation with the Library of Congress--is a simplified subject vocabulary derived from LCSH. For more information on the FAST project, go here. You may also read more about the ILSH/FAST partnership in my AALL report posted on the TS-SIS site.

In September 2006, Ed O'Neill, the FAST team leader, sent the ILSH task force a file with FAST topical headings that included Law and legislation (L&L) but did not have corresponding LC authority records. The data was very helpful for our ILSH project. In the spirit of cooperation, we offered to help the FAST team clean up all the incorrect L&L headings in their authority file.

We already have several hundred headings marked, but still have about 800 to go. Some of the strings are correct and some are not (e.g. AIDS (Disease)-- Law and legislation is correct, since it falls under the pattern heading for diseases; while Civil rights--Law and legislation is incorrect - not only because "Civil rights" is inherently legal, but also because it has not been established by LC with L&L and does not fall under any of the pattern headings).

So, what exactly needs to be done? Each volunteer will receive a small Excel file of FAST headings with L&L. Each file will have a column for marking the heading (D=delete, P=pattern, ?=not sure, etc.). The headings that volunteers are not sure about (and I have quite a few of those myself) will be discussed at the end by the whole group, so it will probably be a good learning experience for all of us.

PLEASE VOLUNTEER NOW! The bigger the group, the faster we'll be done!!


Yael Mandelstam
Head of Cataloging
Fordham University School of Law
Leo T. Kissam Memorial Library
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023-7485

Phone: 212.636.7971
Fax: 212.930.8818
E-mail: ymandelstam at

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