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Oh the things that go on in my line of work XD - The Bibliophile
Too busy reading most likely ...
Oh the things that go on in my line of work XD
Well, I find it hilarious (and simultaneously scary whenever people in the library world appear unable to read and follow instructions)

The Summary of Decisions, May 2016 notes for the Library of Congress editorial meeting on creating and updating subject headings. The general message is "we are fed up with this" ... it's just a lengthy list of invalid and incorrectly submitted proposals that wasted their time. And it contains its moments of snark: "If more attention were paid to these details, processing of the cancellation requests could proceed much more expeditiously."

For the non-library folks: When you look up topics/subjects in a library catalogue, whether online or the old 3x5 card catalogues some of us are old enough to remember, you're entering a world known as fixed vocabulary, called "authorities" in the library world. Cataloguers don't just use whatever words they feel like using as subject headings; we're following a specific list of terminology, loaded with cross references from variant words and wordings. Most English language libraries are using the Library of Congress Subject Headings list as it's big, well-maintained, and for the past three or so decades it's been available online at no charge. Using LCSH is why, if you look up "flying saucers" in your library you'll be redirected (often invisibly these days) to "unidentified flying objects" ... the latter has been decided on as the official subject heading term in this system for this topic. Because human knowledge is ever growing and changing, the LCSH does the same ... continuously adding new subject headings to describe new materials acquired at Library of Congress and also changing existing headings either to match current language usage or based on the shifting percentage of terminology use by the materials in their collection. So of course there needs to be a system for individual cataloguers to let LC know a new heading or a change to an existing one is needed. There is a manual for the consistent formatting of subject headings(the SHM frequently referred to in the notes is the Subject Heading Manual, also an online freebie) and within it a specific set of instructions for submissions. Yep, there are rules within rules within rules. All just so that the public can look up stuff in the library catalogue and think it's magic when they find what they're looking for.

So I didn't get a May list of new and updated headings to enter into my workplace's database. :-( Because the committee spent all their time on bad submissions.

P.S. We don't make up the call numbers at random either ... we have huge books and lists for those as well. And for authors and series and other such things that are the same but can vary in their wording from book to book ... well, for true terror here's William Shakespeare's LC Name Authority with ALL the different ways his name has been spelled/printed and you'll understand why we use a fixed vocabulary for those as well (and those are just the name variations used on materials within LC's collections, a mere fraction of what's actually in published use around the world)

P.P.S. Sometimes name authorities can be fun and educational ... Zane Grey's is an old favourite of mine for demonstrating this (read the last paragraph in the "found in" section)
4 thoughts or The gift of your thoughts
zappo From: zappo Date: 4th July 2016 07:37 (UTC) (Other places)
Mmm, the old cards...

Sweden probably has another system for this, I wouldn't know, but these days when you do an online search at our local library, the results are displayed with tags. Bigger size letter for bigger relevance - just like in any old blog. Would these tags be based on authorities, do you think?
jlsjlsjls From: jlsjlsjls Date: 4th July 2016 22:41 (UTC) (Other places)
Very likely as every country/linguistic area has one (and usually far more than one) authority systems in use by libraries; there are multiple systems because some are general and some are very specialized for specialized collections (law, medicine, engineering, etc.) In Canada we use Canadiana (for personal, corporate, meeting and series names) and Canadian Subject Headings for topical subjects just because Library of Congress authorities are often either too generic or lacking altogether when it comes classifying Canadian materials)

Looking at the list of the major authority systems used 'round the world, I see (and these are just the ones I can tell for sure are Swedish):
*Svenska ämnesord för barn (Stockholm: Svensk biblioteksförening)
*Klassifikationssystem for svenska bibliotek. Ämnesordregister. Alfabetisk del (Lund: Bibliotekstjanst)
*Patent- och registreringsverkets tesaurus (Stockholm: Patent- och Registreringsverket)
*Quiding, Nils Herman. Svenskt allmänt författningsregister för tiden från år 1522 till och med år 1862 (Stockholm: Norstedt)
*Svenska ämnesord (Stockholm: Kungliga Biblioteket, LIBRIS-avdelningen)
*Svenska barnboksinstitutets ämnesordslista (Stockholm: Svenska barnboksinstitutet)
*Svenska filminstitutets tesaurus (Stockholm: Svenska filminstitutet)
*Att indexera skönlitteratur: Ämnesordslista, vuxenlitteratur (Stockholm: Svensk biblioteksförening)
*Svenska MeSH = Swedish MeSH (Stockholm: Karolinska Institutets Bibliotek)

Edited at 2016-07-04 22:42 (UTC)
libwitch From: libwitch Date: 13th July 2016 23:00 (UTC) (Other places)
One of my colleagues frequently attends the ALA meetings where the Big Decisions on Authority Headings are discussed and decided. She stormed out of one when there was a very heated (and long debate) over "ghosts."

Specifically, it centered around whether they were all fiction; or needed to be considered non-fiction as deceased persons. After two hours that part of the debate still hadn't be resolved, so they hadn't gotten to the actual question.

And I don't think she has ever gotten over them making Sherlock Homes a non-fiction person.
jlsjlsjls From: jlsjlsjls Date: 14th July 2016 03:29 (UTC) (Other places)
Re ghosts: silly me, I thought the purpose of subject classification was to describe the content of the books, not pass judgment on their authenticity ... isn't that what the "Fiction subdivision is for? (yeah, I know it's "Ghost stories", not "Ghosts--Fiction", but you know what I mean. Though I confess that in my perfect fantasy library I get to put 90% of the self-help books in the fiction section. As for the round and round and no resolution, that doesn't surprise me ... after years in the Voyager forum seeing the same librarian repeatedly (practically monthly) and obsessively posting about AACR2 saying the bibliographical note should precede the index note while marc coding put them the other way 'round over and over and over because this was the hugest damn trauma in he'd ever experienced in his life ... well, all else pales after several years of him. ;p

Re Sherlock Holmes: He's not actually been made into a nonfiction person. It's actually a rather sensible decision that names of persons should all be coded as names whether the person is real or fictitious, and a further decision that this means fictitious characters can now be used as author entries when cataloguing. Considering the rising number of books "written" by fictitious characters I'm quite happy with this one ... makes far more sense to the patrons to have Richard Castle and Jessica Fletcher's novels catalogued and shelved under their names instead of a title main entry or (in Fletcher's case) Donald Bain.
4 thoughts or The gift of your thoughts