Subject Headings & Classification, or, Why librarians don't seem to think like normal people


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Intended for an undergraduate audience, this is a brief introduction to the principles of organization; an overview of the Library of Congress Classification system (LCC) and the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH); a discussion of some oddities and limitations of those systems and how they have developed. Concludes with an introduction to how to browse leisure reading in an academic library.

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Subject Headings & Classification, or, Why librarians don't seem to think like normal people

  1. 1. Subject Headings & IDS4930: 5 February 2013ClassificationOr, why catalogers don’t seem to think like normal people
  2. 2. Got collections? Photo credit: Andy Woo ( oandy/) Redistributed under Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0
  3. 3. At some point, a system is needed… Photo credit: sindesign ( design/) Redistributed under Creative Commons Attribution-
  4. 4. Subject Headings“The LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) were createdby thousands of catalogers over the course of 100 years using astrict set of ever-changing rules.”-- Heidi Lee HoermanSchool of Library and Information Science,U. of South Carolina.
  5. 5. Subject Headings• Can be • Ideas/concepts • Events • Places (even imaginary ones) • People (even imaginary ones)
  6. 6. Narrowing It Down• Subdivisions can be • Geographic (United States, Florida, etc.) • Chronology (dates; these are NOT the same for all headings) • Form (what kind of a thing it is: Periodicals, Dictionaries, Blogs, etc.) • Topic (Religious aspects, economic aspects)
  7. 7. What is This? Image source: / (Public domain image)
  8. 8. Why???Parsnip, but also Philodrendrons!Working class women was established about 1985,Working class men in 2005!Neighbors was not a subject heading until 2006 Pennsylvania State University Christopher Walker, The LCSH suggestions courtesy ofMosquito nets was not a subject heading until 2008 – and thisterm was requested and created by a cataloger at UF.Often, but NOT always, scientific names are used for plants andanimals. If your research involves the sciences, use the authorityfile to find the correct LCSH. It will save much trouble.
  9. 9. And some are just … odd…LCSH suggestion courtesy of Kevin Furniss, Tulane University
  10. 10. Library of CongressClassificationGet the big picture:
  11. 11. So What Do You Do? • Search keywords, but then look at the whole record and click the subject Clip art source: Microsoft heading that matches your idea • Check your subject or name at http://authorities.loc .gov
  12. 12. Yes, We Have Fiction in West!• Not the same amount or kind as the public library, but we do. Here are some of the secret tips: • Authors are sorted by nationality and/or language; British authors and American authors are in different classes. • You can often find criticism of important books near that book, or near the end of all books by the author. • Look around. You may discover authors who were popular in your parents’, grandparents’, or great-grandparents’ time, but have fallen out of favor.
  13. 13. Some Numbers: AmericanAuthorsDashiell Hammett: PS3515.A4347Shirley Jackson: PS3519.A392James Weldon Johnson: PS3519.O2625-----Mary Higgins Clark: PS3553.L287Stephen King: PS3561.I483Barbara Kingsolver: PS3561.I496Amy Tan: PS3570.A48
  14. 14. Some Numbers: BritishAuthors • Agatha Christie: PR6005.H66 • Mary Renault: PR6035.E55 • J.R.R. Tolkien: PR6039.O32 • Evelyn Waugh: PR6045.A9 • P.G. Wodehouse: PR6045.O53• ------ • Douglas Adams: PR6051.D3352 • Ian Fleming: PR6056.L4 • P.D. James: PR6060.A467
  15. 15. PZWe also have the PZ call number for many items. Cover image source: Goodreads
  16. 16. Clip art source: Microsoft
  17. 17. Please Ask!Naomi YoungPrincipal Serials Catalogernaomi@uflib.ufl.eduSee a mistake in the UF or union catalog? (Typos, the wrongcontents note, something obvious like that? )