Minutes of May 21, 2003 Meeting

Stephanie Bartz, Ruth Bogan (guest), Natalie Borisovets, Jeanne Boyle (convener and recorder), Ellen Calhoun, Bob Warwick, Mary Beth Weber
Vib Bowman

The meeting was scheduled for only one hour so the members could attend the Sirsi program.

The meeting was devoted to reviewing search results using controlled and uncontrolled subject headings. Ruth Bogan distributed a chart showing how 18 different schemes represented in IRIS are handled during cataloging and how they behave during OPAC searching and display. Ellen Calhoun added NASA thesaurus terms to the list. The only schemes with authority control are the Library of Congress Subject Headings and four form and genre schemes. All of the rest are uncontrolled, which means they are not updated after entering the catalog as part of a contributed record. The headings from all of the subject schemes, both controlled and uncontrolled, have the label "Subject" in the catalog, while those from the form and genre schemes have the label "Form/genre."

Sample records reviewed showed that clicking on an uncontrolled subject heading to find like items can mislead by taking a user to only outdated materials. In a subject browse display, uncontrolled headings and their results exist side by side with LC headings but are not part of the cross-reference structure. Users must puzzle through clicking on the outdated heading and then backing up to follow cross-references to current headings.

The example used was "Developmental Disabilities: a Life-Span Perspective." The uncontrolled medical (MeSH) subject heading "Handicapped" in the record is no longer valid as either a MeSH (now Disabled Persons) or an LC (now People with disabilities) subject heading.

Bob will investigate whether it is possible to include the note and link "There are also other headings for searching" on the search results list displayed after clicking on an uncontrolled heading. This note and link displays on search results lists after doing a browse search on LC headings.

The group recommended that uncontrolled headings be retained in the record display in the catalog because of their use in keyword searching, but they should be distinguished by having a different label, such as "Secondary Subject." It was further recommended that uncontrolled headings not be in the browse index. Bob will apply these recommendations to the test catalog, and the group will discuss it by email. A quick decision is needed if all changes needed to the catalog and the Web page are to be in place in time for the fall semester.

Submitted by,
Jeanne Boyle

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/iris_public_access_com/minutes/pac_03_05_21.shtml
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