[GeoHumanities SIG] place in library catalog

Kathy Weimer k-weimer at library.tamu.edu
Tue Oct 1 17:41:14 CEST 2013


Thanks for the note. I did not intend to imply that 'catalogers' were the problem, but that the cataloging rules and processes are  constraining to the geographic nature of information.  I actually spent many years as a cataloger so understand how the subject analysis rules emphasize specificity in subject analysis, and how that results in gaps in retrieval.  For example, if I am searching for information about Brazos County, Texas, and type in the catalog 'Brazos County', I will get some handful of books and stuff on the topic.  But, there will be nothing retrieved when Brazos County is mentioned in a work on the state of Texas (because those records only use the subject of Texas), and the results will not include books which are only related to a city which lies within Brazos County.  So, there are gaps in information retrieval based on the cataloging structures.  That is why the interest in a map based visualization that would indicate the geographic context.

On the other hand, the coded geographic fields (043 & 052) are very general, and are not searchable.  So there is data just waiting to be harvested.

It is not a deficiency of the people doing the work, whether they are geographers or not, but of the nature of the cataloging rules and traditions that are in place and the gaps in retrieval that I am interested in addressing.


From: <Pieschke>, Renee Lorene <renee.pieschke at mnsu.edu<mailto:renee.pieschke at mnsu.edu>>
Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 9:58 AM
To: "geohumsig at lists.digitalhumanities.org<mailto:geohumsig at lists.digitalhumanities.org>" <geohumsig at lists.digitalhumanities.org<mailto:geohumsig at lists.digitalhumanities.org>>
Subject: Re: [GeoHumanities SIG] place in library catalog

I would consult the information science journals or start following the MAPS-L at listserv.uga.edu<mailto:MAPS-L at listserv.uga.edu> listserv. The literature is out there. The truth is, all catalogers are not geographers. Those librarians with geography backgrounds usually maintain maps as special collections and have little to do with the general collection. Subject headings can be subjective. If you would like to know more, feel free to contact me off list.

Renee Pieschke
Reference Librarian GA
Minnesota State University, Mankato
renee.pieschke at mnsu.edu<mailto:%20renee.pieschke at mnsu.edu>
(507) 389-2765
From: geohumsig-bounces at lists.digitalhumanities.org<mailto:geohumsig-bounces at lists.digitalhumanities.org> [geohumsig-bounces at lists.digitalhumanities.org<mailto:geohumsig-bounces at lists.digitalhumanities.org>] on behalf of Kathy Weimer [k-weimer at library.tamu.edu<mailto:k-weimer at library.tamu.edu>]
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 9:50 AM
To: geohumsig at lists.digitalhumanities.org<mailto:geohumsig at lists.digitalhumanities.org>
Subject: [GeoHumanities SIG] place in library catalog

I am wondering if any of you GeoHumanists are familiar with research projects looking at the concept of place representation in the traditional library catalog.  In my opinion, library catalogs have never done a good job with representing place-based subject information.  The fields and headings are either too specific or too general and do not provide insight into geographic contexts (adjacency, proximity, containment, etc.).
Various data in the subject headings and coded fields could be harvested and result in a map-based search engine which would likely yield more interesting results that the typical subject or keyword search.  If you know of prior work looking at harvesting and visualizing placial data from catalog records, I would like to know.  Ideas?  Suggestions?
Kathy Weimer
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