Is Precoordination Unnecessary in LCSH?
Are Web Sites More Important to Catalog than Books?

A Reference Librarian's Thoughts on the Future of Bibliographic Control

Thomas Mann
Reference Librarian
Library of Congress
[email protected]

Final version


Precoordination of LCSH subject headings, both (partially) in the LCSH thesaurus and (more extensively) in OPAC browse displays, continues to be necessary for several reasons:

Books are not vanishing or generally evolving into digital forms; they continue to be published in huge numbers every year, and they provide formats that are more readable for lengthy texts.

In the future, LCSH must serve in both the environments of online library catalogs and the Web not the latter in place of the former.

An Online CIP (OCIP) program would enable our profession to maintain the necessary precoordination of LCSH headings in OPACs and also to insert librarian-created LCSH elements into the Web headers of participating online publishers. This would enable us to exploit the existing precoordination and postcoordination capacities of OPACs, and also to exploit LCSH more extensively in the exclusively postcoordinate search environment of the Web.

LCSH headings in copy cataloging cannot be simply accepted "with little or no modification."

Full text of this paper is available in PDF format.

Library of Congress
January 23, 2001
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