Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Subject Determination during the Cataloging Process

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Subject Determination during the Cataloging Process

Article excerpt

Subject Determination during the Cataloging Process. By Alenka Sauperl. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2002. 173p. $47.50 hardbound (ISBN 0-8108-4289-0).

This qualitative approach into the process of assigning subject headings gives an inside look into the actual thought process and highlights the inherent difficulty of the procedure. The book is based on Sauperl's doctoral thesis at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and consists of seven chapters, a bibliography, and an index.

Data were collected between October and December 1998 using questionnaire, think aloud, follow-up discussion, and timeline interview methods. The same format was used to report each subject's responses: a brief description of the environment and the cataloger's primary responsibilities, data obtained from each subject, and a summary of the person's style. The sample size included twelve catalogers from three large academic libraries. From this group six were observed while choosing subject headings, and the remaining six were merely interviewed about the process they normally use when choosing subject headings. Sauperl interjected seventeen terms she had gathered from the observation experiences into the dialog with the interviewed participants in order to strengthen her findings between the two groups.

Subject determination is viewed from the perspective of very personal experiences of the twelve practicing catalogers in the study. …

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