High‐level Subject Access Tools and Techniques in Internet Cataloguing

Helen Gourkova (Caval Collaborative Solutions, Bundoora, Australia)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 1 August 2004




Gourkova, H. (2004), "High‐level Subject Access Tools and Techniques in Internet Cataloguing", Library Management, Vol. 25 No. 6/7, pp. 322-323. https://doi.org/10.1108/01435120410548020



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The book is edited by Judith Ahronheim, a metadata specialist at the University of Michigan. Judith is also a co‐editor of the “Cataloguing the Web: Metadata, AACR, and Marc 21” which attempted to “give an overview of not only what is currently afoot on the Web, but also what is possible”.

The present book can be considered to be another attempt to indicate “what is possible” in the Internet cataloguing.

The book represents and discusses the existing classification schemes for managing numerous electronic resources available for librarians. It is underlined that present content of online resources constantly expands and the goal of the metadata librarians is no longer just to organize the resources manually, but to use classification that exist already in the bibliographic record and to allocate these codes to the subject topics, which can be searched by the user.

The book starts with the list of major indexing and abstracting Web sites, contains an introduction by the editor, which gives an overview of the attempts to create high‐level browsing tools, six chapters, and an index. Each paper includes bibliographical references.

The graphs and tables added to the papers make the material more comprehensible.

The first paper compares library classification schemes and Internet subject trees and concludes that they have much in common, but the library schemes are more advantageous in terms of coverage of topics, depth and structure of hierarchies, and more effective in multilingual environment.

The next three papers describe the attempts of Columbia University, University of Washington and University of Michigan to assign LC classification codes in bibliographic records to hierarchical subject access tools aimed to the end‐user. To my mind, that is the most interesting part of the book as it demonstrates a hands‐on approach and examines practical and technical issues of the process.

The next two chapters highlight more of political and procedural issues raised in the process of design of audience‐focused interfaces.

The article “The competing vocabularies and ‘research stuff’” presents the NCSU Libraries portal, MyLibrary@NCState and examines the issues arising in the course of reducing the complexity of the research process for the students.

The very last paper covers the “problems of semantic interoperability” in creating controlled vocabularies and gives a detailed description of the UK‐based HILT (High‐Level Thesaurus) project. As there is not much information available on the mapping of controlled vocabularies, especially on such details as time, cost and effort involved, this paper is of particular value and interest.

Overall, high‐level Internet cataloguing is a new field and this book urges to think of further possibilities to map different schemes for high‐level subject access in constantly growing electronic resources. The materials collected in the book highlight the latest vital issues in high‐level subject access and present interesting case studies mentioned above.

The papers are written in a clear, professional language and are interesting reading for metadata librarians, cataloguers and library students. Also, as the book itself can be considered a valuable gift for any metadata specialist.

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