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Friday, January 25, 2008

LCSH, Faceting, searching and more

I finally got around to reading the first issue of the Code4Lib journal.

Of interest to those interested in library catalogs, metadata, etc. is the article, Facet-Based Search and Navigation With LCSH: Problems and Opportunities

As a person who uses LCSH, I completely understand some of the frustrations in wrangling with it.
Although LCSH is dynamic with revisions and updates, in all honesty, I think it is generally slow to change, is hard to maintain, and is not easy to use. It also seems to be rather hard for libraries and others who use LCSH to easily implement headings changes in an automated way, without considerable manpower and oversight. Perhaps, that is a problem with both the automated systems used in libraries and also with LCSH, as alluded to in the article.

Anyhow, I found this article interesting and thoughtful.

Facet-based search and navigation interfaces are becoming increasingly popular on commercial websites, and several facet-based interfaces for library catalogs are now available. Many of these interfaces attempt to provide Web-style faceted interfaces to Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) in order to provide options for browsing and for navigating large result sets.

Three types of solutions are proposed. Changes to:
  • System design, which can be implemented with existing data
  • LCSH practice or the rules for applying LCSH
  • Structure of LCSH or data encoded in LCSH authority records

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