Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Extent of My Geekiness

The observant among you will notice that I've updated my post labels, which I refer to in the sidebar as Fobheadings. I did this because I'm a geek.

The subject and genre/form headings all come from the Library of Congress Subject Headings controlled vocabulary, except for a few headings that are specific to this blog--these exceptions are noted with "|2 fob" after them, as is the standard form of noting non-LCSH headings (and technically, I could put "|2 lcsh" after all the LCSH headings, but in practice that's usually assumed). The first three digits are MARC fields, referring to the kind of heading it is:
  • 440=Series title
  • 600=Subject (personal name)
  • 610=Subject (corporate name)
  • 650=Subject (topical)
  • 651=Subject (geographic name)
  • 655=Genre/form
In other words, 600-651 say what or whom a post is about, while 655 says what it is.

The two digits following the first three are called indicators; they are codes that tell us something else about the heading, depending on what kind of field it is. A "0" in the second indicator slot, for example, often means that the heading comes form LCSH, while a "7" often means that it comes from another thesaurus that will be named in subfield 2. (Technically, I could have put non-LCSH headings in a 653 [Index term--uncontrolled] field, but in a sense I am using my own controlled vocabulary here, and besides I just like it that way.)

In a real library catalog, of course, you don't see all these codes; they get translated into text like "Subject headings" and "Genre/form headings." But I'm not using the codes so much for their functional value as for their nerd value.

The hardest part of all this has been finding LCSH terms that corresponded to all the labels I had. I'm particularly proud of the one I used to replace Metablogging: 650 _0 Blogs |v Blogs. The first part means that the thing we're describing is about blogs. Subfield v is a form subdivision, meaning that the thing in question is a blog. A blog about blogs. Which, you'll notice below, is what this post is.

Note: Fellow library geeks are welcome to outgeek me by pointing out errors.


Marcia said...

I can't believe you're going to be a cataloger, but clearly it is inevitable.

mamamormon said...

I worked in libraries for years (public) and my mother has been a manager and a Director for -gosh - 20 years?

Anywhooooo - I suspect you already know this but I'll have to share with the less library knowledgeable....catalogers are the (mama lowers her font) nerds of the library. Beware!

And they speak in numbers.

I was the biblopfile girl (I bet they don't even have that anymore) so I did a lot of cataloging, but for totally original cataloging, I had to work with the reference catalogers. Oh man - they were a little nutter butter.

And I fit right in. weep

I'm still very picky about shelving -even Easy first job....sniff......

Katya said...

Your new tags / subject headings are one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. (And rest assured that I saw the blog title dedicated to me, but I've been traveling like mad over the past week, and was unable to comment at the time.)

I should really be doing the same sort of thing myself, because I've never assigned subject headings before outside of cataloging class, and original cataloging is going to be one of my responsibilities at my new job.

Th. said...


I'm not using the codes so much for their functional value as for their nerd value.

I dig.