Do subject headings still matter? We say they do.
Does the Library of Congress always identify accessible and appropriately named headings and implement them in a timely manner? We say not always. All you have to do is spend one day behind a reference desk to see examples of biased, non-inclusive, and counterintuitive classifications that slow down, misdirect, or even obscure information from library users. As librarians and library workers, providing access to information is important-and classifying it in ways that are inclusive and intuitive strengthens our egalitarian mission.
Between now and Sunday, April 27, Radical Reference invites you to suggest subject headings and/or cross-references which will then be compiled and sent to the Library of Congress. You can either choose one previously suggested by Sandy Berman (pdf or spreadsheet) or propose your own.
This is a chance to positively impact the catalog of the de facto national library of the United States, which also impacts cataloging all over the world! Here’s how…
Some time between now and Sunday, April 27 at 6pm Eastern:
- Select one or more subject headings or cross-references to suggest
- Provide material to support your suggestion (in the form of a link and excerpted text/image)
- Blog it somewhere (your own site; Radical Reference–if you’re a registered and authenticated user on the site, you can create your own blog post, if not, just make it a comment to this post; an online file sharing service like Google Docs or Zoho)
- Tag it for del.icio.us: rr_lcsh2008 and for:radical_reference. If you don’t have a delicious account email me, and I’ll tag it for you.
- If you are suggesting a subject heading not previously submitted to LC (e.g. not on Sandy’s scorecard), also submit your proposal to the Program for Cooperative Cataloging.
- For discussion and help, join the Meebo and/or Skype chat,which will be active on Sunday from 4-6 ET for sure, and other times, as staffed.
- If you are in the NYC area, you can come to the ABC No Rio Computer Center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side for some in person collaboration.
- We will email a link to the tagged items to LC, print out a copy of each blog post and mail it to Sandy, and we’re kinda hoping that the members of the RADCAT (radical cataloging) discussion list will consider entering some of the suggested headings properly into the proposal for Example of a new subject heading request.Example of a new cross-references request.
Here’s a link to the SACO Manual that might help everyone understand what is needed for filling out the form. The examples are really great, but library lingo-heavy.
Much obliged to the RR folks for yet another badass idea.