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Faceted Subject Access Interest Group

Saturday, January 21, 2012
4:00 pm to 5:30 pm, US/Central

Increasingly users are searching for library materials through “Next Generation Catalogs” or “Discovery Systems” which provide options to limit keyword retrieval sets by subject terms. How do our current subjects function in this context? Can standards be developed for this? What should they be?

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Jimmie Lundgren's picture

The meeting began with introductions around the room. A brief presentation by the chair on general aspects of subject facets in next generation catalogs and discovery systems and particular notes on Summon and Mango was followed by a very interesting group discussion. A desire to address possibilities of standards for subject facets had been expressed previously, and reference was made to the new NISO Open Discovery Initiative and to draft ISO 25964-2 to which attendees were encouraged to respond. It was observed that while it is not obvious to the user the subject facets usually employ a cutoff number of records from which the facets displayed are derived. Transparency in that aspect would be desirable. Also, when possible based on the distinctions in the metadata, it is desired that facets be offered in categories such as topical, geographic, chronological and genre/form. Both LCSH and FAST provide such distinctions. FAST headings are brief and work well as facets where display space is limited, but LCSH strings are usually cut into subfields for that purpose. Some of the systems commented upon in the discussion were Vu-Find, Primo and Encore. Better utilization of authorities data such as cross-references in next generation catalogs is desired. Members of the SAC Subcommittee on Genre-Form joined the meeting and contributed, including telling us about a discussion paper to look for dealing with audience and categories of creators. One complaint expressed was the loss of form subheadings of subjects as facets in Encore. For the annual meeting it was suggested that a vendor of one of the systems we discussed could be invited to present.

Thanks to all who attended for a lively and informative discussion (47 counted in the room, 35 signed in).

File attachments: 
FSAIG2012MW.pptx102.38 KB