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Bicentennial Conference  on 
	Bibliographic Control for the New Millenium: Confronting the Challenges of Networked 
	Resources and the Web
sponsored by the Library of Congress Cataloging Directorate

Lois Mai Chan
Lois Mai Chan
School of Library and Information Science
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0039

Exploiting LCSH, LCC, and DDC to Retrieve Networked Resources

About the presenter:

Lois Mai Chan is the author of numerous articles and books on cataloging, classification, subject indexing and online retrieval, including Library of Congress Subject Headings: Principles and Application; Cataloging and Classification: An Introduction; and Immroth's Guide to the Library of Congress Classification. She co-authored Dewey Decimal Classification: A Practical Guide and Thesauri Used in Online Databases. From 1986 to 1991, she served as the chair of the Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee. Her research interests include classification, controlled vocabulary, authority control, metadata, and retrieval of Web resources. In 1989, she was awarded the Margaret Mann Citation for Outstanding Achievement in Cataloging and Classification given by ALA. In 1992, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Chinese-America n Librarians Association. In 1999, she was chosen for the Best of LRTS Award for the Best Article Published in 1998.

Full text of paper is available


Vocabulary control for improved precision and recall and structured organization for efficient shelf location and browsing have contributed to effective subject access to library materials. The question is whether existing tools can continue to function satisfactorily in dealing with web resources. In our effort to identify library resource description needs and future directions, the online public access catalog (OPAC) should be viewed as a part of the overall information storage and retrieval apparatus on the web rather than something apart from it. Deliberations on the future of bibliographic control and the tools used for its implementation should take into consideration the nature of the web, the characteristics of web resources, and the variety of information retrieval approaches and mechanisms now available and used on the web. Operational conditions on the web are often less structured than in the OPAC environment. While traditional subject access tools such as subject headings and classification schemes have served library users long and well, there are certain limitations to their extended applicability to networked resources. These include the need of trained catalogers for their proper application according to current policies and procedures, the cost of maintenance, and their incompatibility with most tools now used on the web. To meet the challenges of web resources, certain operational requirements must be taken into consideration, the most important being the ability to handle a large volume of resources efficiently and interoperability across different information environments and among a variety of retrieval models. Schemes that are scalable in semantics and flexible in syntax, structure, and application are more likely to be capable of meeting the requirements of a diversity of information retrieval environments and the needs of different user communities. Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), the Library of Congress Classification (LCC), and the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) have long been the main staples of subject access tools in library catalogs. Recent deliberations of the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) Subcommittee on Subject Analysis and Metadata and research findings suggest that in order to extend their usefulness as subject access tools in the web environment, traditional schemes must undergo rigorous scrutiny and re-thinking, particularly in terms of their structure and the way they are applied. Experimentation conducted on subject access schemes in surrogate-based WebPACs and metadata-processed systems demonstrate the potential benefit of structured approaches to description and organization of web resources. Research findings indicate that sophisticated technology can be used to extend the usefulness and to enhance the power of traditional tools. Together, they can provide approaches to content retrieval that may offer improved or perhaps even better subject access than many methods currently used in full-text document analysis and retrieval on the web.

Diane Vizine-Goetz
Diane Vizine-Goetz, commentator
Office of Research
5454 Frantz Rd.
Dublin, OH 43017-3395

About the commentator:

Diane Vizine-Goetz is a research scientist in the Office of Research at OCLC. She joined OCLC in 1983 as a post-doctoral fellow to continue research on database quality she began as a doctoral student. Since then, she has conducted research on the application and use of Library of Congress Subject Headings in online systems and on the development of classifier-assistance tools. She is principal research investigator on a project to enhance the usefulness of the Dewey Decimal Classification as a knowledge organization tool for electronic resources.

Full text of commentary is available

Library of Congress
January 31, 2001
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