Zhang d lis531_assignment3

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Zhang d lis531_assignment3

  1. 1. Zhang, 1Di ZhangLIS 531 B27 November 2011 Assignment 3- Subject Analysis Subject analysis is an essential part of cataloging.It serves the dual function oflocation (finding the subject under the name you are looking for) and collocation (findingall the documents in the system that share the subject) (Chan, p. 195). The Library ofCongress Subject Headings (LCSH) is a product of decades of (and ongoing) subjectanalysis. LCSH uses enumerative classification, in which subject headings are listedalphabetically for the benefit of direct access (Svenonius, 250). In this paper, I will usethe LCSH as well as Subject Heading Manual (SMH) to assign subject headings for thearticle titled ―The Harried Life of the Working Mother.‖ I begin by analyzing the articlefor its main concepts before assigning subject headings to represent those concepts.Throughout the subject cataloging process, I hope to adequately justify my choices inidentifying and selecting terms. Conceptual Analysis:Working mothers- Possible topical subdivisions: happiness/satisfaction/well-beingGender role- Possible topical subdivisions: family and work, public opinionEmployment inequalityor glass ceiling- Possible subdivisions common to all threeconcepts: [Place]—United States, [Time]—early 21st century, [Form]—researchreport/survey...(website?)
  2. 2. Zhang, 2Specificity Specificity is an important principle to indexing languages, especially LCSH,because it has been classification-free since its inception. Its approach is one that isalphabetic and direct rather than classified and indirect and therefore needs theappropriate level of specificity at the main entry point (heading) (Svenonius, 244). Thismeans that the lead/main/focal heading(s) must be specific enough that, to the greatestextent possible, the specific subject(s) and only the specific subjects covered in the workare described by the heading. I believe the concepts that I have extracted from the document have appropriatelevels of specificity. When it comes to ―working mothers,‖ the title alone suggests thatthe term represents the ―aboutness‖ of the document. A deeper look into the text confirmsmy suspicions. The document is broken up into various sections that explain the results ofa survey of working mothers, from women’s growing presence in the workforce to whysome working mothers (especially those with young children) feel pressure not to work.It would be inappropriate for me to make the main heading ―working parents‖ becausethe work is focused primarily on mothers, although statistics on working fathers serve asnotes of comparison. Likewise, it would be inappropriate for me to be too specific in myentry by using term such as ―high income mothers‖ or ―working mothers of color‖because this is only covers a subset of the subject ―working mothers.‖ Therefore, theconcept ―working mothers‖ seems to offer the appropriate level of specificity forcataloging this document. A topical subdivision that seems appropriate to the document is
  3. 3. Zhang, 3something that addresses the fact that the document is primarily concerned with thehappiness/satisfaction/well-being of working mothers. Gender roles also seem to be an important concept covered by the document,specifically women’s roles in the home and in the workplace.For example, the documenthas a major section with the heading ―Public Views on the Changing Role of Women,‖which includes data on public views on family and marriage as well as childcare andwork. One of the document’s sections discusses ―The Day-to-Day Lives of WorkingMoms and Dads. Therefore, I believe that ―family and work‖ is a concept that deserves tobe a topical subdivision. Furthermore, the subdivision ―public opinion‖ would beappropriate because it addresses the fact that the document is reporting social anddemographic trends rather than theoretical or philosophical discussions of gender roles. Lastly, one less talked-about yet still important topic is that of employmentinequality. The document has a section with the heading ―The Glass Ceiling: Is Family aFactor?‖ which uses survey data to explain public perception of why women have notrisen to the top ranks of American business and politics. Therefore, ―Employmentinequality‖ or ―Glass ceiling‖ would be appropriate main headings, depending on whatterms are available from LCSH.Coextensivity Coextensivity refers to the practice of assigning terms to all the important concepts ina document. We can never be absolutely sure that all the important concepts areexpressed in the terms assigned, because assigning terms is a subjective process.
  4. 4. Zhang, 4However, I believe that a careful examination of the document will confirm that most ofthe major concepts are reasonably covered under my four concepts: 1. Working mothers- happiness/satisfaction/well-being- United States—early 21st century—survey 2. Gender roles—family and work—United States—early 21st century—survey 3. Gender roles—public opinion—United States—early 21st century—survey 4. Employment inequality—United States—early 21st century—surveyor Glass ceiling—United States—early 21st century—survey Thus, I think my initial conceptual headings fulfill the general rule for H 180 ofthe Subject Heading Manual (SHM), which states: ―Assign to the work being catalogedone or more subject headings that best summarize the overall contents of the work andprovide access to its most important topics.‖I should note that the last subject heading isthe least important. According to H 180, one should assign headings only for topics thatcomprise at least 20% of the work. The topic of glass ceilings hovers around 20%, so itmay not be as relevant as the other topics. The Subject Search: A keyword search for ―Working mothers‖ on Classification web yielded 6 results,one of which was the exact term I was looking for.The broader term is ―Mothers‖ andthere are no narrower terms. The scope notes state: ―Here are entered works on the socialconditions of mothers apart from their workplace and on how work affects the quality of
  5. 5. Zhang, 5life of mothers.‖ This seems right on the money, because it addresses the quality of life ofmothers outside of workplace conditions. The heading covers myhappiness/satisfaction/well-being concept without needing any further topicalsubdivisions. And because the subject allows for geographic subdivision, so I will add thesubdivision ―—United States‖. The second heading gave me difficulties, because I could not find the term―Gender roles‖ under a keyword search. The LC subject search directed me to the term―Sex roles,‖ which seemed too vague and broad and brought up questions of whethergender/sex were the appropriate terms for me to use in the first place. Scanning down tothe narrower terms, I found the term ―Sexual division of labor,‖ which seemed the mostappropriate because the work being cataloged has to do with labor in the home and in theworkplace, as opposed to other potential ―gender/sex roles.‖ Thus, the narrower termturned out to be more appropriate than the broader term I had in mind for the mainheading. The LC conveniently has the heading with a geographical subdivision forUnited States. When it comes to free-floating subdivisions, I looked in H 1095 for theterms ―work and family‖ as well as ―public opinion‖ and only found a subdivision for thelatter. Public opinion gives the option to ―[u]se under names of individual persons andcorporate bodies, and under classes of persons, ethnic groups, individual wars, andtopical headings for works on public opinion on those persons or topics.‖ In H1955 of theSpecial Topics section of the SHM, the discussion of public opinion confirms that theterm is appropriate for my purposes. The general rule states: ―Assign to works aboutpublic opinion on a topic the following combination of headings:
  6. 6. Zhang, 6 (1) [topic]—[place, if appropriate]—Public opinion (2) Public opinion—[place]Thus, the MARC format for these headings would be:650 _0 $a Sexual division of labor—United States $x Public opinion650 _0 $a Public opinion $z United States I began my search for the third term by doing a LC subject search on ―Glassceiling,‖ which yielded the term ―Glass ceiling (Employment discrimination).‖ The scopenotes state: ―Here are entered works on an unacknowledged barrier to careeradvancement experienced by women and minorities.‖ For the purposes of this work I’mcataloging, I would have preferred the phrase ―unseen, seemingly unbreachable barrier‖(or something to that effect) rather than the phrase ―unacknowledged.‖ The termunacknowledged is vague because it raises questions such as ―unacknowledged bywhom? Women? Society at large?‖ However, the scope notes still offer the generalconcept that I am looking for. In other words, the heading ―Glass ceiling (Employmentdiscrimination)‖already contextualizes the concept enough that I do not need topicalsubdivisions. Other subdivisions: Both of the headings ―Working mothers‖ and ―Glass ceiling (Employmentdiscrimination)‖ allow for geographic subdivision, so I use geographic subdivisionsunder the rules of H 830 to indicate that the region being reported on is the country of the
  7. 7. Zhang, 7United States (indicated by the repeated use of the term ―American‖ in the document,although the term ―United States‖ was never used). Under H 1140, free-floatingsubdivisions for names of places, the form subdivision ―survey‖ is allowed, so I will addthis to the headings for the work being cataloged, which is basically a report of a surveyof working mothers in the United States. Upon further review of H 1075, the subdivisionssection of the SHM, it does not make much sense to use chronological subdivisionsbecause such subdivision are usually associated with a historical treatment of a topic andare established under topics after the subdivision ―–History‖ (H 1075 1c). Conclusion: After the process described above, I have constructed the following subjectheadings for the article entitled ―The Harried Life of the Working Mother‖:650 _0 $aWorking mothers $z United States $v Surveys650 _0 $a Sexual division of labor—United States $x Public opinion $v Surveys650 _0 $a Public opinion $z United States $v Surveys650 _0 $a Glass ceiling (Employment discrimination) $z United States $v Surveys I have listed ―Working mothers‖ as my first subject heading because it representsthe most prevalent theme of the document. That is, every section in the document dealswith the topic of working mothers, whereas the other subject headings either arerepresented in just one or two sections or are not sufficiently strong statements of the―aboutness‖ of the work (e.g. ―Public opinion‖).
  8. 8. Zhang, 8 It is important to note that subject analysis is inherently a subjective, interpretiveprocess. According to Mai: ―[when] two people who look at the same thing [they] maynot see the same subject matter‖ (p. 271).1 Despite the vagueness of manuals aboutsubject identification, subject analysis is an art that if done well can help the userimmensely in finding the resources on the subjects they need.1 This was one of the readings from your LIS 530 class that I took in spring 2011. Unfortunately, I cannotfind the bibliographic information to cite it properly.

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