One factor that current search systems tend to overlook is that LCSH, all
of it, is intended intended to be a first class search target. The LCSH
headings that get into bib records are only the tip of the iceberg. The
LCSH authority for "Cuba--History--Invasion, 1961" includes a 450 "see
from" reference for "Bay of Pigs Invasion, Cuba, 1961." Real use of LCSH
would search the reference vocabulary as well as the preferred term
headings which get into bib records. Working with LCSH bib headings alone
misses the point of a sophisticated controlled vocabulary, where much of
the terminological and semantic richness for searching is contained in
"see" and "see also" references, complex references and scope and other
kinds of notes. The controlled vocabulary itself needs to be integrated
into search results so that searches call up not only bib records with a
matching heading but vocabulary records which can expand the user's search
vocabulary and point to related controlled terms outside those generated by
the retrieved bib records' themselves. LCSH's weakness is that it is
designed for left-anchored browse searching, which has fallen out of favor;
but the idea that the full semantic structure of a controlled vocabulary
needs to be foregrounded in search results is still valid.
On Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 9:32 PM, Kent Fitch <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Yes, it's exploring what advantage there may be of using overlapping search
> terms to help bridge the differences between LCSH and "common usage", or
> "what the searcher is thinking of" that motivated this subject display.
> For example, the person-in-the-street would reasonably think that when
> searching a library catalogue where people have gone to the bother of
> subject-classifying, then the results on searching "bay of pigs" would
> return everything relevant, even if that string didn't appear in the title,
> even if the full text wasn't being searched.
> But LCSH organises that content under "Cuba -- History -- Invasion, 1961".
> There's a high correlation/overlap between "bay of pigs" results and this
> subject, which is why this subject string is highlighted in the prototype
> results. But a search on that subject, removing "bay of pigs" as a search
> term, returns, for example, from 1962 "The Cuban Invasion : the chronicle
> of a disaster / by Karl E. Meyer and Tad Szulc ".
> This isn't returned on a search for "bay of pigs" (on the prototype, or on
> Trove). Maybe "bay of pigs" wasn't even "a thing" when this book was
> catalogued, or, if it was, it was thought to be an ephemeral description.
> On Trove (and I guess most library catalogues), by paying carefully
> attention and tallying the subjects assigned to a "bay of pigs" results,
> you may eventually realise a good search may be:
> "Cuba Invasion 1961" OR "bay of pigs"
> because there are LOTS of resources I'd want to know about if I were
> searching for "bay of pigs" that don't have an assigned subject string
> "Cuba -- History -- Invasion, 1961" for various reasons, such as a tendency
> not to assign more subjects that you want cards in the catalogue! (eg
> http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/13249747 )
> I guess a better approach is to do this automatically for the searcher: to
> note "bay of pigs" results have a high but not total correlation with
> results assigned LCSH's "Cuba -- History -- Invasion, 1961", and I guess
> that's one of the attractions of searching on Google: that we take this
> type of "magic" for granted.
> Kent Fitch
> On Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 11:19 AM, Harper, Cynthia <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > From a librarian’s perspective, we know searching is messy – a researcher
> > can’t hope to find the perfect subject heading that will reveal all their
> > related content in one term. Searching is exploring through overlapping
> > terms, and compiling a bibliography from the pearls found in the process.
> > This interface makes clearer what the related terms may be, given a borad
> > term like practical theology. And it’s so nice that it combines the
> > classification structure with the subject headings.
> > Cindy Harper
> > @vts.edu<http://vts.edu>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:
> > [log in to unmask]>] On Behalf Of Kent Fitch
> > Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 8:17 PM
> > To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
> > Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LCSH, Bisac, facets, hierarchy?
> > About ten years ago, I was wondering how to make the structure in LCSH,
> > at least how it was encoded in MARC subject tags more useful, so when
> > implementing a prototype for a new library catalogue at the National
> > Library of Australia, I tried using the subject tag contents to
> represent a
> > hierarchy, then counted the number of hits against parts of that
> > for a given search and then represented the subject tags in a hierarchy
> > with hit counts. One of the motivations was to help expose to the
> > searcher how works relevant to their search may have been
> > LCSH-subject-catalogued.
> > I'm a programmer, not a UI person, so the formatting of theresults were
> > fairly primitive, but that prototype from ten years ago ("Library Labs")
> > still running.
> > For example, search results for /ancient egypt/
> > /computer art/
> > /history of utah/
> > This prototype also explored a subject hierarchy which had been of
> > interest to the NLA's Assistant Director-General, Dr Warwick Cathro, over
> > many years, the RLG "Conspectus" hierarchy, which I guess was not unlike
> > BISAC in its aims. It is shown further down the right-hand column.
> > Both the subject hierarchy and Conspectus were interesting, but neither
> > made it into the eventual production search system, Trove, implemented at
> > the NLA, in which subject faceting or hierarchy is absent from results
> > display:
> > http://trove.nla.gov.au/book/result?q=ancient+egypt
> > http://trove.nla.gov.au/book/result?q=computer+art
> > http://trove.nla.gov.au/book/result?q=history+of+utah
> > The "Library Labs" prototype is running on a small VM, so searching may
> > slow, and it hasnt been updated with any content since 2006.. But maybe
> > the way it attempted to provide subject grouping and encourage narrowing
> > search by LCSH or exploring using LCSH rather than the provided search
> > terms may trigger some more experiments.
> > Kent Fitch
> > On Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 3:11 AM, Mark Watkins <[log in to unmask]
> > <mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
> > wrote:
> > > <head starting to swim> :)
> > >
> > > sounds like there is a lot of useful metadata but somewhat scattered
> > > amongst various fields, depending on when the item was cataloged or
> > tagged.
> > > Which seems to correspond to anecdotal surfing of the Harvard data.
> > >
> > > I guess my new task is to build something that aggregates and
> > > reconciles portions of LCSH, LCFGT, and GSAFD :).
> > >
> > > Thanks for the additional perspective!
> > >
Stephen Hearn, Metadata Strategist
Data Management & Access, University Libraries
University of Minnesota
160 Wilson Library
309 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455