On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 7:21 PM, Kelley McGrath <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> It used to be that geographical subdivision was much more flexible and was
> supposed to convey different meanings depending on where it occurred in the
> string. Then there was some research showing that not only did users not
> know how to interpret this, but catalogers did not understand these rules
> and were constructing inconsistent headings.
The main study on this subject was the Michigan study performed/led by Karen
Markey (some reports were written as Karen M. Drabenstott. The final report
of the project is available at
http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/57992 . The work took place in
the mid to late 90s, after Airlie .
This study had serious methodological problems; these became apparent during
the course of the study, and were partly due to the results being so
unexpected. Unfortunately, there have not been any follow up studies at
scale that would correct for these methodological issues. Some of the
scoring approaches used by the Gleitmans for "Phrase and Paraphrase" might
The most perplexing results were those that showed that measured
understanding was lower when headings were displayed in the context of a
bibliographic record rather than on their own. This indicates either a
problem in the measurement process, or an either more fundamental problem
with subdivided headings that may so negate the significant theoretical
advantages of pre-coordination that the value of the whole practice is
thrown in to doubt.
(Incidentally, this year is the diamond anniversary of the pre- v. post-
Touching on another topic, I believe that the movement of geographical
subdivisions to follow the right most geographically sub-dividable
subdivision can sometimes be interrupted by the interposition of a $x
topical subdivision, but I haven't determined whether this is a legacy
exception (the ones that came to mind were related to subtopics of the US
Civil War, which seems inevitable given that the first elements are "United
States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--").