Visualizing the LCSH monster update: Jan-Feb 2010

150 Animal jumping [May Subd Geog] [sp 85005205]
* 450 UF Animal leaping
* 450 UF Jumping behavior in animals
* 450 UF Leaping behavior in animals

Humans jumping animals: “Gaito Loka becomes a man during his initiation ritual, sometimes called cattle jumping. Male friends and relatives hold the animals in place as the jumper runs along their backs. Afterward, the young Hamar man must adhere to a strict diet including blood, milk, and honey until he marries.” – National Geographic

151 Woodward Avenue (Mich.) [sp2010001688]
451 UF M‑1 (Mich.)
451 UF Michigan Highway 1 (Mich.)
550 BT Roads—Michigan

Detroit image from www.oldcitypics.com

150 Boring sponges [May Subd Geog] [sp2010001908]
450 UF Bioeroding sponges
450 UF Excavating sponges
550 BT Marine borers
550 BT Sponges

150 Guitar and synthesizer music [May Subd Geog] [sp2010000529]
450 UF Synthesizer and guitar music
[Youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1mV_5-bRPo”%5D

150 Spiders in the Koran [sp2010001811]

150 Ninja in popular culture [May Subd Geog] [sp2010001722]
550 BT Popular culture
150 Chinatowns in motion pictures [Not Subd Geog] [sp2010001122]
550 BT Motion pictures
[Youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGLinT-Pdyo”%5D

150 Remorse in art [Not Subd Geog] [sp2010001322]

photo by Emre Ucar in “Paint it with blur” Flickr pool

150 Stop‑motion animation films [Not Subd Geog] [sp2010000786]
450 UF Object animation films
450 UF Stop‑action animation films
450 UF Stop‑motion animated films
450 UF Stop‑motion films
550 BT Animated films
vegetables and Star Wars to encourage us to buy organic!
[Youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocLbfdaONrs”%5D


150 History painting [May Subd Geog] [sp2008007183]

680 Here are entered works on narrative painting that depicts several figures enacting a scene usually drawn from classical history or mythology, or from the Bible.
550 BT Painting

150  Bats—Mortality   [May Subd Geog]   [sp2009010998]
* 550    RT White‑nose syndrome

150 Buildings—War damage [May Subd Geog] [sp 85145172]
* 550 RT Architecture and war

photograph by Donald Weber from “The Lost War” story, via the Black Snapper photography magazine archives

150  Drinking of alcoholic beverages—Marketing  [sp2010000413]

150  Enemies in art   [Not Subd Geog]   [sp2009010830]

150  Gravity in art   [Not Subd Geog]   [sp2009010556]

from Kaat Van Tiggel’s Flickr photostream

150  Traffic accidents in motion pictures [Not Subd Geog]   [sp2009009535]
550    BT Motion pictures

Weird, overdue, or especially unique headings:

150 Art objects in art [Not Subd Geog] [sp2010001816]

150 Bananas in popular culture [May Subd Geog] CHANGE GEOG [sp2006007645]
* 680 Here are entered works on the representation of bananas in popular culture.

150 Gifted Hawaiian children [May Subd Geog] [sp2010001320]
450 UF Gifted children, Hawaiian
450 UF Hawaiian gifted children
550 BT Gifted children—United States
550 BT Hawaiian children

150 Office buildings—Wales [May Subd Geog] [sp2010001151]

150 Gelatin—Flavor and odor [May Subd Geog] [sp2010000403]
450 UF Gelatin—Odor
550 BT Flavor
550 BT Odors

150 Ruins in motion pictures [Not Subd Geog] [sp2009007969]
* 550 BT Motion pictures

150 Communication in hairdressing [May Subd Geog] [sp2010000047]
550 BT Hairdressing

150 Embassy buildings—Decoration [May Subd Geog] [sp2009011095]
053 NK2195.E43
550 BT Decoration and ornament

150 Sex—Anthropological aspects [May Subd Geog] [sp2010000055]
550 BT Anthropology

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visualizing the LCSH, weeks 50 & 51

150 Educational films [May Subd Geog] [sp2001000481]
* 680 This heading is used as a topical heading for works about films that are intended to impart knowledge and information, including those for classroom viewing. Works about films designed to impart skills or techniques to general audiences, typically in a “how‑to” manner, are entered under Instructional films. When used as topical headings they are subdivided by the appropriate geographic, topical, and/or form subdivisions.

150 Gymnastics for boys [May Subd Geog] [sp2009008865]
* 550 BT Gymnastics for children CANCEL
* 550 BT Sports for children

(New York Times image attributed to Frederic J. Brown)

150 Machinery in motion pictures [Not Subd Geog] [sp2009009670]
053 PN1995.9.M18
550 BT Motion pictures



151 NGC 300 (Galaxy) [sp2009009615]
667 This heading is not valid for use as a geographic subdivision.
451 UF Dun 530 (Galaxy)
451 UF GC 169 (Galaxy)
451 UF H 2359 (Galaxy)
451 UF NGC300 (Galaxy)
550 BT Spiral galaxies

(image from nasa.gov)

150 Peddlers and peddling in art CANCEL
150 Peddlers in art [Not Subd Geog] [sp 85099130]
450 UF Peddlers and peddling in art [EARLIER FORM OF HEADING]

(“Marchand d’abat-jour, rue Lepic” – Eugène Atget. albumen print (c.1900) from the George Eastman House collection on Flickr.)

150 Precarious employment [May Subd Geog] [sp2009008937]
680 Here are entered works on labor that is poorly paid, unregulated, and lacks job
security.
450 UF Employment, Precarious
550 BT Labor

Gus Powell – from “Voetganger Amsterdam” series
for now I went with a more literal interpretation of “precarious”.

150 Absence in motion pictures [Not Subd Geog] [sp2009009505]
550 BT Motion pictures

150 Ceilings—Decoration [May Subd Geog] [sp2009010550]
550 BT Decoration and ornament

(a picture of a ceiling at the Library of Congress, from my Flickr)

150 Corn—Utilization [May Subd Geog] [sp 86004524]
* 681 Example under Plants, Useful CANCEL
* 681 Example under Plants, Useful; Wildlife utilization

(vintage postcard from Jasperdo’s Flickr photostream)

(USA Today article)
I have actually been to the Corn Palace!

150 Rock musicians in art [Not Subd Geog] [sp2009010571]


(both illustrations by Max Dalton. “Guitar Lessons” discovered via World Famous Design Junkies)

“Popularity is not a semantic structure”

I just read this great article by Tom Reamy in KMWorld. It’s about popular (and widespread) misconceptions about taxonomies and folksonomies. I loved the attitude in this piece, and it expressed frustrations I’ve had with peoples’ blind love of folksonomies, and with the misconception that hierarchical classification systems maintained by experts are an outdated effort that only librarians still care about. Reamy emphasizes how a hybrid approach, using a taxonomy and user-generated terms, is where the real value lies. He also points out the myth that folksonomies allow us to break free from the authority of “those dictatorial librarians”:

…folksonomy sites do have a central authority, and it is the most oppressive and most dangerous type of central authority there is — the authority of the majority. Against the will of the people, there is no recourse, no way of insuring the rights of the minority[…] It seems to me that having a system in which there is a central group of authorities or librarians that you as a minority can appeal to might work better than letting the collaboratively emergent dictatorial majority unconsciously ride roughshod over the minorities.”

The other thing I wish people would shout from the mountaintops is that the LCSH is (are?) not a thesaurus. Mary Dykstra says it best in her 1988 rant in Library Journal: just because LC decided to use the terminology of thesauri (RT, BT, NT, UF) doesn’t mean the semantic relationships between the headings are on par with those in real thesauri. Citing the 1974 ISO standard on what constitutes hierarchical relationships between terms, Dykstra uses the example of the heading:
Oysters
NT Cookery (Oysters)

In LC’s defense, this subheading doesn’t appear to exist anymore. I checked some of Dykstra’s other examples:

Proposal writing in business
BT Contracts, letting of
(Contracts, letting of is now an RT, and the BTs are Business and Business writing)

Children
NT Television and children
(still in there)

Here’s one I found:
Fortune-telling by Chinese characters
BT Chinese characters

Fortune-telling and Chinese characters are different types of entities. Fortune-telling by Chinese characters is not a type of Chinese character.

A lot of these issues stem from the insane degree of pre-coordination in the LCSH. Headings often represent multiple concepts, while in thesauri, terms represent only one concept. “With the use of a thesaurus, several terms (analyzed) may be strung together (synthesized) according to syntactic rules to form a subject” (Dykstra, 1988). I’m not saying LCSH isn’t useful and that it’s not currently serving many of us (relatively) well. It’s just frustrating that many people seem to think the LCSH is representative of thesauri in general. Reamy makes a similar point at the beginning of his article, but his complaint is with the use of the term “taxonomy”, not “thesaurus”:

A fundamental flaw in the vast majority of articles on folksonomies and taxonomies is the almost universal use of the Dewey Decimal System (or Library of Congress Subject Headings) as the example taxonomy. Using the Dewey Decimal System as your example taxonomy shows that you have no understanding of taxonomy creation and use in today’s world.

This brings me to a question that keeps bothering me. What really is the difference between a classification system, a taxonomy, a thesaurus, and an ontology? A nice set of definitions is available on this Hedden Information Management site (the creator teaches at Simmons College). These are things I need to have burned into my brain, especially if I’m going to avoid being led astray by the many instances of the terms being erroneously used interchangeably. These tools are too important to be so confused with one another, especially by professionals.

lcsh

Cited/linked:
Dykstra, M. (1988). LCSH Disguised as Thesaurus. Library Journal 113 (4): 42-46.
Reamy, T. (2009). Folksonomy Folktales. KMWorld 18 (9): 6-8. <http://www.kmworld.com/Articles/Editorial/Feature/Folksonomy-folktales-56210.aspx>