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
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.
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
> -----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, or
> 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 hierarchy
> 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
> 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") is
> 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
> The "Library Labs" prototype is running on a small VM, so searching may be
> slow, and it hasnt been updated with any content since 2006.. But maybe
> the way it attempted to provide subject grouping and encourage narrowing of
> 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]>>
> > <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
> > 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!