Re: Interoperability - subject classification/terminology

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PHOENIX.PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 20:22:44 -0500

LC subject headings -- and the LC classification -- were never meant to
apply to individual articles.
The systems were devised, and have been maintained, to describe and
classify entire books. (There do exist other systems that were intended to
be suitable for both books and articles, such as BSO and UDC.)

As a librarian, I consider both LC systems to be of only slight
usefullness in science for books, even if one is an expert in the system,
and totally useless and misleading if one is not. They are more valuable
for books in other fields--I am told LC subject headings work nicely
in history, and the LC classification for literature.

As applied to journal articles, either of them is absurd altogether. The
existing indexing and classifying systems for journal articles,
such as Inspec's or Chem Abs's have enough difficulties,
without using a system not even intended for the purpose.

In science, if you write a descriptive title
 and an informative abstract that includes all the important
keywords, free text searching and citation linking will do much better
than LC.

 [iso-8859-1] Guy Aron wrote:

> I think we need to be careful to identify just what
> activity the original poster was being required to do.
> The discussion so far seems to assume that Eprints was
> requiring input of Library of Congress classification
> number. From his original post, however, it seems more
> likely that the input being required was Library of
> Congress subject headings:
> > >
> > > On Fri, 7 Mar 2003, W F Clocksin wrote:
> > >
> > > > Hi. I am a beginning user of Eprints, and am
> > entering metadata on the
> > > > default test archive interface. It is a real
> > nuisance to have to
> > > > specify the Subject (which uses the Library of
> > Congress system). For
> > > > books this makes sense because the catalog
> > information is in the front
> > > > matter of the book, but it is unclear to me why
> > I should have to do
> > > > this for journal articles.
> I would not particularly support the use of a
> classification system like LC or Dewey in an eprint
> archive. The use of a controlled vocabulary like LC,
> however, seems much more appropriate. Controlled
> vocabulary versus free text is still controversial;
> it's a different issue, however, from classification.
> Before we spend more time on this discussion I think
> we need to be clear just what it is we're debating.
> Perhaps the original poster could clarify this point?
> Guy Aron
> - Yahoo! Mobile
> - Check & compose your email via SMS on your Telstra or Vodafone mobile.

Dr. David Goodman

Princeton University Library
Palmer School of Library and Information Science, LIU
Received on Wed Mar 12 2003 - 01:22:44 GMT

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