Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Street-grade metadata of unknown origin and quality

"Steroid" Scandal Rocks Major League Libraries:
Why not make the top quality stuff available to everyone? That’s the only way to really level the playing field,” says metadata advocate Harley Trion. “If we close down the labs creating high-quality metadata, you will see widespread adoption of street-quality metadata like social tagging and folksonomies, because that’s all you will be able to get. I’d rather know that my kids were using metadata that is made in a clean lab with experts and quality assurance processes than have them experimenting with street-grade metadata of unknown origin and quality.”
Sadly, street-grade metadata has already polluted our most venerable cataloging institution, the Library of Congress. Check out this MARC record for Fourth Comings, by Megan McCafferty (interesting part in bold):

=LDR 01506cam 2200361 a 4500
=001 14768798
=005 20070917102332.0
=008 070314s2007\\\\nyu\\\\\\\\\\\000\1\eng\\
=010 \\$a 2007010818
=020 \\$a9780307346506
=020 \\$a0307346501
=035 \\$a(OCoLC)ocm86109925
=035 \\$a(OCoLC)86109925
=040 \\$aDLC$cDLC$dYDX$dBAKER$dBTCTA$dWIQ$dYDXCP$dDLC
=043 \\$an-us-ny
=050 00$aPS3613.C34$bF68 2007
=082 00$a813/.6$222
=100 1\$aMcCafferty, Megan.
=245 10$aFourth comings :$ba novel /$cMegan McCafferty.
=250 \\$a1st ed.
=260 \\$aNew York :$bCrown Publishers,$cc2007.
=300 \\$a310 p. ;$c25 cm.
=650 \0$aDarling, Jessica (Fictitious character)$vFiction.
=650 \0$aYoung women$vFiction.
=650 \0$aPeriodicals$xPublishing$vFiction.

=650 \0$aChick lit.

=651 \0$aBrooklyn (New York, N.Y.)$vFiction.
=856 42$3Contributor biographical information$uhttp://www.loc.gov/catdir/enhancements/fy0743/2007010818-b.html
=856 42$3Publisher description$uhttp://www.loc.gov/catdir/enhancements/fy0743/2007010818-d.html
=856 41$3Sample text$uhttp://www.loc.gov/catdir/enhancements/fy0743/2007010818-s.html

Chick Lit is now a subject heading in the Library of Congress. We've entered the asterisk era of metadata.

[Tim adds: I've known about the Chick Lit LCSH for some time now, first spotting it while giving a talk on how great the Chick Lit tag was! I think it's a great move, but also strange in light of well-established policies against adding subjects afterwards. The LCSH "Chick Lit" missed chick lit's actual heyday! Anyway, I'm not betting on the LC getting into all the great tags—steampunk, cyberpunk, paranormal romance and, of course, vampire smut.]

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8 Comments:

Blogger jrochkind said...

I believe that's an LCSH for things _about_ "chick lit", rather than for things that _are_ "chick lit".

If you imagine someone writing an academic paper and doing a lit search for other things _about_ chick lit, it should be clear why it's useful to make this distinction, although flat 'folksonomy' style tags don't make it.

3/12/2008 1:38 PM  
Blogger jrochkind said...

And if the LC had a book in its collection that was _about_ steampunk or any of those other genres, they'd probably add those terms too. This isn't really a departure from anything, to have a term for works about chick lit.

3/12/2008 1:39 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

No, you're quite wrong. It's a GSFAD. It's not about chick lit, it's a genre, like "love stories.'

3/12/2008 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought people here could read... Check the type of publication (fiction), the title (...: a novel), and other categories (young women). This is not a literature study. It's chick lit.

And hierarchy is overrated, at least if search engine stats compared to directory stats are an indicator. You can have similar results by searching for *multiple* tags, e.g. chicklit and criticism.

3/12/2008 3:41 PM  
Blogger Casey Durfee said...

Just to go all library geek here, on this record, the subject heading is in the 650 tag. Genre goes into the 655 tag. So it's tagged like it's about chick lit, but it's fiction and I don't think it's about a chick lit writer or something, so that doesn't make any sense.

I just looked at some other records from the LOC and they have chick lit in the 655 for fiction books -- as a genre (but identified as not being an official gsafd term). So I picked kind of a weird one.

3/12/2008 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Proclus said...

I think they used a 650 tag on this example because there is not yet an official authority record for "Chick lit" as a genre/form term. LC is currently in process of creating such authority records--they've started with terms usually used to describe films but haven't moved into other fields just yet. So technically, "Chick lit" should still be in a 650 (or 655 7 with a $2 gsafd, if indeed it's a proper gsafd term) until there's an authority record for it, though some catalogers are adding it as a 655 0 anyway, in anticipation.

3/12/2008 4:48 PM  
Blogger jrochkind said...

Thanks for the correction. Very odd, I thought that genre terms would always be in 655 too! How odd.

(Well, unless it's a topic subdivided by a genre, in which case it shows up in 650$v of course. Phew. Why do we have so much trouble convincing certain catalogers that this record storage format is cumbersome for use by software?)

3/13/2008 12:11 PM  
Blogger jrochkind said...

And it's worth adding (I always hit 'save' before I should) that by putting what should be a genre term in a 650$a, it makes our software completely incapable of actually recognizing this is a genre term! Which theoretically should be one of the benefits of LCSH seperating genre terms from topical terms, a benefit that it may be impossible to take advantage of in actual practice.

Very frustrating.

3/13/2008 12:14 PM  

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