Tag Archives: LC subject headings

There’s a subject heading for that!?: crime and weather

First off, I’m very happy to share that I am now the Metadata and eResources Librarian for OhioLINK! My first day was today…although OSU cancelled classes and so the office, too, had a snow day, which got me thinking about weather and storm-related subject headings. It’s an area I’ve not looked into before and there are a lot of interesting findings in that nook of the LCSH.

A huge storm blew down from Canada into the States and while we did not get dumped on with snow in Columbus, below freezing temperatures and gusty winds kept many people home from work and school.

To no one’s surprise, LCSH has many ways to classify weather:

LC Authorities weather results  screenshot


Some of the narrower terms for weather are technical, such as cold waves (what are those–maybe for another blog post) and weather singularities, and others seem out of place, like crime and weather. Forget looking for snow storms, it’s time to investigate this sore-thumb of a mind-scratching subject heading:

LC Authorities crime and weather record screenshot

This is a basic authority record, without any additional information of interest that sometimes shows up. It’s always good to go into a record and related records, since that can truly help figure out where a tricky work should be placed and how to describe it best. We only get the broader term of weather, which lead us here, in the 550 field.

What about the works themselves? Many times they have other subject headings that can lead catalogers, librarians, and researchers into related territory. In the LC Catalog, using a subject keyword search, this is what comes up:

LC Catalog crime and weather results screenshot


Unfortunately, there aren’t many works with the subject heading crime and weather but there is a statistics subdivision, which begins to piece things together for me. It jogs my memory about hearing news reports that hot weather in New York City makes people commit more crimes…sweltering weather leads to hot tempers, I recall. The previous linked article and the following one do agree that it is in fact extreme temperatures that encourage more crime, although it can’t be too hot.

Let’s see those eight results. I want to know more; perhaps I watch too many crimes shows and movies.

LC Catalog crime and weather itemized results screenshot


Here are the full, MARC records for the two in English:

LC Catalog MARC record 1 screenshot


This first work concerns the legality of how weather affects and harms people as well as how to prevent and deal with the ramifications of weather and people’s actions cause by weather. If I were at the Law Library, I’d love to go grab this from the shelf and thumb through it!


LC Catalog MARC record 2 screenshot


In contrast to the other work, this one takes crime and weather into a much more specific realm concerning illegitimacy. It is crucial to note the order of the subject headings, which traditionally classify the work (i.e. give a call number/place on the shelf) under the first listed subject heading.

There is one more work record that we can look at, the item with the statistics subdivision:

LC Catalog crime and weather--statistics MARC record screenshot


The 440 series field (490/830 fields now) tell us that the work is a crime survey from the DoJ. Of course, as noted in the 300 description, subfield b, it contains graphs. Infographics, to use the hip term, about crime and weather–what’s not to love? Well, it’s interesting anyway. Otherwise, the weather subject heading has a lot more to offer and not just cold weather either. If snow and storms are getting you down, check out weather’s narrower term sultriness for a reprieve:

LC Authorities sultriness record screeenshot

As I wrap up, there is now word that OSU is closed Tuesday as well. Perhaps my book blog will get updated tomorrow! Stay warm and safe, no matter where you are, especially Minnesota and North Dakota where it is even worse and I have family.


Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Uncategorized


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There’s a subject heading for that!?: three-dimensional printing

One pizza, coming right up! Made for you, by you, while you’re in space. 3D printers and printing have gained considerable attention, and rightly so, over the past year. Everything from DYI household appliance fixes to guns and how to regulate and control them, to the latest news in the past month: NASA funding 3D food printing, and pizza is up first. Really, if you were an astronaut, wouldn’t you miss pizza, too?

Users will flood the reference desk wanting information on how to make pizza from 3D printers…if they aren’t already! Good news, the subject heading “three-dimensional printing” is authorized and in use. It is a narrower term for “rapid prototyping”:

LC Authorities screenshot


At first this surprised me, being the consumer-minded American that I am. Of course people and companies create prototypes before building the actual, final item that’s for sale. It’s just something that I hadn’t thought too much about before. However, it made perfect sense that 3D printing is a narrower term since the printer rapid makes something that isn’t the actual item.

Parsing out rapid prototyping from 3D printing isn’t too hard, especially with the help of the robust scope notes in their LC authorities records:

LC authorities screen shot

The authority record for 3D printing is just as long:

LC authorities screen shot


Basically, 3D printing focuses on the act of additive creation of an object from a printer, whereas rapid prototyping encompasses the concept and reasons for it, with business and design concerns in mind.

As the DIY, maker movement continues to grow, so will 3D printing. The machines themselves aren’t too expensive, considering, and will only become cheap in years to come. While every home, let alone person, probably won’t have one of their own, there will certainly be publicly available ones or people you can pay to produce you an item from their printer. Libraries are already starting to offer these capabilities, on a small scale–see the end of the post for more information, including my academic librarian friend who has a printer at her university!

LC has more resources on rapid prototyping as of today:

LC catalog screen shot


However, 3D printing books will likely outnumber them soon:

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 3.51.23 PM


The books themselves under 3D printing struck me since there was such a variety. Yes, among the five books there was a variety, not vast mind you. I expected to see all five about MakerBot  since that’s the brand that comes to mind for me. Still, the works cover slightly different aspects of 3D printing:

LC catalog screen shot


I love DIY (just check out my Pinterest boards) and making things from scratch, especially food, but I haven’t dabbled in 3D printing yet. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to convince my techie librarian husband that we need a printer to play around with. Truly, it’s all about learning the tech so that we can help the users when all the libraries have one. Right?

After writing this post, I want pizza! Good thing Marco’s Pizza is just down the road…



Want to know even more about 3D printing? This is such a hot, and growing, topic that is being talked about all of the time.

My librarian friend Emily Thompson at SUNY Oswego helps students print research needs, such as a 3D snake skull.

While I haven’t watched this TED talk yet, Lisa Harouni discusses 3D printing.

Mashable will keep you up-to-the-minute with recent news stories in their 3D printing section.

One episode of The New Disruptors podcast discusses the maker movement and 3D printing. I love this podcast, and just recently discovered it!

Search the web and you will come up with tons of information. Check out YouTube for awesome videos, too!


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Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Uncategorized


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LC Error Report Form: Find an Error, Fix it up! All Day Long You’ll Have Great Luck!

A typical day for me consists solely of cataloging ebooks and occasionally a streaming video, or five in a row. Having been a cataloger for almost three years, two of those professionally, I’ve built up my editor’s eye. Wrong MARC fields and coding, misspellings, subject headings that don’t quite fit the item’s topic pop out at me when I look at a MARC record. Part of me prefers completely original cataloging but with too many good records to derive from, one simply cannot ignore the vast cooperative cataloging out there. However, that means taking good with the bad. And there are some very bad records, but many are just slightly bad. This is where errors can sneak into catalogs if the cataloger isn’t paying attention. Hence the “cataloger’s eye” that is crucial to hone and use when deriving any records.

Besides just fixing up my new record, making it accurate and complete, though those are loaded words that get defined by whoever is using them, I report errors to LC via their Error Report Form that serves for catalog and authorities error reporting.


It’s so simple to use! Type in the LCCN (LC control number), title, select if the error is in the catalog or authorities and if it is just this record or more, write the issue, and give your name and email. While the “thank you” page after your submit has a stock message of how it takes at least five days, I’ve found that most times they will correct errors within the day, if not a couple of hours. This depends what type of error you report as well as what they have going on. There are certain things, that I’ve found out, that they won’t correct.

First, though, lets cover what LC will correct. My favorite submissions are misspellings. Easy to find, especially if you mistype something, and very easy to fix. I love receiving these emails:


Awesome! “Coporation” became “corporation” once more. I used to do these corrections as a undergrad student in tech services at Lawrence University. For me, misspellings in the authorized versions are highest priority when I find one and I always report them. Usually the misspelled name or subject heading wasn’t controlled in OCLC and was the only one in the bunch so they jump out that way. Slightly less obvious are misspellings in titles or subtitles which are crucial to if someone will find it or not. Though sometimes they aren’t truly errors and I don’t know off hand. This record has piano misspelt but is that due to a different spelling in another language?:


Probably not so it might be worth reporting. Another type that rarely occurs but drives me nuts is the wrong MARC coding for the 245 in which the title gets clipped because it has been told to skip an article of the wrong length. The one I found last year had no article at all but had been cutting off the first four characters of the first word. LC fixes these immediately as well. So please report any and all errors of these two types to the via their easy form and you’ll hear back soon from Lucas or another on his team.

Not all errors are fixed by LC since they don’t see them as errors due to policy. Bear with me, even though that sounds odd. When the LC classification changes, they don’t redo all of the items to update their classification and call numbers to the new one. Originally I thought this sounded awful. First off, all new works still gets classed by them in the defunct area and show up in OCLC and get perpetuated even though catalogers aren’t supposed to use it anymore. That means we must check and place the items correctly in our local catalogs. But what’s the alternative for them? Re-cataloging and move thousands or hundreds of thousands of book? No. That’s too much. So then the LC classification just needs to be checked and adjusted on the local levels, which is annoying but not that much work and sometimes it’s don’t anyway to cutter it correctly locally. Bottom line, don’t worry about LC classification in their catalog and don’t report it. I’ve received that reply from them as well.

Next time you see an error, please report it to LC and make the LC online catalog a better place for us all!

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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


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There’s a Subject Heading for That!?: Coenobita clypeatus as pets

I stumbled upon this subject heading while cataloging animal drawing books, which I’ve seen more than I care to count recently. Okay, this exact sub. head. wasn’t used but the pattern was in the record. Thankfully the LC Authority File explains that Coenobita clypeatus (row 87 in the screenshot) is the hermit crab that most stores sell. My sister and I had a few–one to latched onto my palm, though didn’t do any actual damage; that’s about my only memory of those things.

LC Authority File search results (portion!)

The subject heading pattern, as you can tell, is “_____ as pets”. Sounds straight forward and your mind is probably generating a few as you read this. Here’s the fascinating part…there are currently 454 unique headings, with several variants that aren’t authorized headings. Log on to the LC Authority FIle to see the full range by typing “as pets” in the search box and selecting “Keyword Authorities (All)” before clicking “Begin Search”. This is a new way to search for me that I will keep at the ready for pesky topics in the future!

LC Authority File search box

From African bullfrogs as pets to Worms as pets bookend the rather intriguing list, though they sound like they could be pets compared to others. Preceding worms is Wood lice (Crustaceans) as pets that look eerily similar to cockroaches. Cephalopoda, cheetahs, Grant’s rhinoceros beetles, kinkajous, boas and pythons of various types, all sorts of lizards including the Hydrosaurus, and there’s even a catch-all for insects besides some specific ones with their own headings.

My favorite is Basilisks (Reptiles) as pets since all that I could think of was Harry Potter and the basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets. Seriously, typing in basilisk into Wikipedia brings up the mythological creature by default, and offers up a tiny disambiguation link at the very top of the entry. This showcases another inconsistency within LC subject headings: common names and scientific names are randomly used when setting up a heading rather than preferring one over the other and making a reference to the other in the heading.

LC Authority File Basilisks (reptiles) as pets

Oddly enough, skunks as pets doesn’t shock me because I have looked after a pet skunk, holding it like a kitten as it squirmed to in attempts to escape and run around. Much like ferrets, some of her glands had been removed. Actually very cute, especially since she was still young and thus small.

Now before the kids, or adults, in the library get very excited about all of these new subject headings that you can show them to use, obviously not all are real pets. The easiest example from this list is the classic dinosaurs as pets, made famous by the 1958 book listed in the record.

LC Authority File Dinosaurs as petsI hate to disappoint but sometimes life is like that. That heading is only used in fiction, at least as of 2013. However, can I interest you in a degu?

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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Uncategorized


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There’s a subject heading for that!?: exquisite corpse (game)

First of all, exquisite corpse (game) is an amazing subject heading in so many ways. It is beautiful, eerie, horrific, bizarre, but most of all intriguing.

I stumbled upon this gem while verifying an author name in the LC catalog. Initially, because of its qualifier “(game)”, a childhood game from playground days called (Light as a Feather) Stiff as a Board popped into my mind. That game is played in the movie The Craft, which is likely where everyone picked it up from. This made me think of other odd games we played, including Sandman (in this article), Bloody Mary, and a phantom limb game–all of which are explained quite well in this article. Takes me back! That’s what we did before computers and cellphones.

So what is the exquisite corpse (game)? It’s a parlor game that was not scary, believe-it-or-not:

LC Authorities record for exquisite corpse (game)

LC Authorities record for exquisite corpse (game)

As the Authorities scope note explains, this is a written or drawn game in which a single sheet of paper is passed around and everyone contributes a portion without seeing what the previous people did. After reading that, I realized that I had played this game in college with my writers’ group, and a llama played a major role in that shared story we created. The broader sub. head. is surrealist games, which unfortunately has no other narrower terms besides this one, and not much description itself.

Since the game was created and originally played in Paris, cadavre exquis (game) is noted as a 450. Two citations in the Wikipedia page explain the origin of the game’s name: “The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine” was the first sentence from the game, of course written in French. Now the llama in the story from my game doesn’t seem as silly. In 2012, a film called The Exquisite Corpse Project takes this game into movie making and is a collaboration of five people. I’m interested in seeing it now.

Let’s check the LC Catalog for use figures:

LC Catalog subject browse search for exquisite corpse

LC Catalog subject browse search for exquisite corpse

Quite readily, we see that there isn’t much use nor many derivatives of the sub. head. with delimiters. There are four total hits–two with the plain heading and two with exhibitions tacked on as the descriptor. But this makes sense, since the game has physical products made and could be put up for display. It would be cool to revive this parlor game and then create our own exhibition. Think of what could be written or drawn with all the mobile phones out there! It’s Draw Something plus texting, and then put on display–or not. I bet a lot of NSFW creations would arise, though the Wikipedia article already chose a great drawing to display for that. Someone could have at least included a written example or two as well.

Have you ever played this game, with or without knowing its true name? Any other bizarre kids games that I didn’t mention here already? Want to start the new exquisite corpse craze with me? We could take over Twitter! I’m @ReadWriteLib, if you are wondering.

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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


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There’s a subject heading for that!?: hurricanes

Of course there is a subject heading for “hurricanes”–just stick with me. For the past few days, especially yesterday and today, Hurricane Sandy is the topic of the media and many people’s conversations. It has surpassed the 2012 presidential election, for the time being, and that’s under a week off. In Michigan, we are seeing some of the effects as it is cold and very windy, though nothing compared to New York, New Jersey, and other states. Some Michiganders had snow this morning but only sleet was on my windshield and the rain here has been off and on. Hurricane Sandy, a.k.a. superstorm or frankenstorm, lost some of her gusto when she hits the Canadian cold front so now she is a post-tropical cyclone or, more colloquially, a nor’easter. However, before her name change, I looked up “hurricanes” on LC Online Catalog, since even though LC is closed, their website is still up!

Did you know that named hurricanes have their own subject headings? I don’t catalog works on hurricanes, so this was news to me. It makes perfect sense.

And the list goes on! This is only part was through the Ds, so check out the LC Authorities File Online to see the rest. Besides getting a scope of how many hurricanes are written about individually, the notes in the “hurricanes” authority record are priceless and fascinating–take a look below.


And a closer screenshot of the notes that describe hurricanes. Enough to be helpful in knowing what storms are termed hurricanes.




Sandy will likely get a narrower term under hurricanes as well, since she’s been, unfortunately, a massive and in some cases record-setting storm. Not to mention the fact that she way-laid the final week of political campaigns for Romney and Obama. However, her authority file will likely have a scope note that explains her changes in nomenclature, as well as references to her other names. Frankenstorm was the best, by far, considering her timing. This past Saturday at a Halloween party, one guest showed up in jeans and a tee wearing a name tag that read “Frank N. Storm”.

Another fairly recent hurricane that stands out is Hurricane Katrina. Searching subject headings in the LC Online Catalog, there are many topical sub. heads, and some that I never would have guessed. Here are a few of the ones that caught my eye: Hurricane Katrina, 2005–Computer network resources, Hurricane Katrina, 2005–Juvenile sound recordings, Hurricane Katrina, 2005–Prayers and devotions, Hurricane Katrina, 2005–Press coverage, Hurricane Katrina, 2005–Songs and music.

The single most interesting, for me, was Hurricane Katrina, 2005–Comic books, strips, etc. This is cataloging lingo for graphic novels, lately anyway.


Graphic novels rooted in history can be amazing and present a different type of entry point into those events. Persepolis, and Maus are two of my favorite books, and I am not a reader of graphic novels. They both were assigned readings in college. So that makes me want to look up these two, particularly since I lived during the time of Hurricane Katrina. Perhaps they will make to it my bookshelf and onto my other blog as reviews.

For now, stay warm and safe, no matter where you live. And keep everyone affected by Sandy in your thoughts!



Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


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There’s a subject heading for that!?: human engineering

Sometimes subject headings lead you astray, and for me, “human engineering” proved to be just that! At face value, I thought, sure must be related to cloning. Seemed odd that another sub. head. was needed to cover the topic, so I investigated–no surprise there.

Also, having asked another librarian friend his thoughts about the term, his initial impression suggested the it covered either 1) building robots or 2) developing humans. Both which get at a similar idea to my cloning relation, since all three hinge on the word “engineering” yet combine it with “human” in a specific scientific, almost sci-fi, sense for technologic advancement.

However, that is not the case at all. Which is why “human engineering” exists in addition to the sub. head. “cloning” or even “human cloning.” In fact, there are more records with the former sub. head. (932) than the later (60) and (20).

Enough suspense, here’s the reveal…this subject heading is about ergonomics for humans:

LC authorities screenshot

LC Authority File “human engineering” subject heading screenshot

The 550s, see also notes, suggest looking up “human comfort” and “human-robot interaction” as well for related items and topics. The 680 helps explain the sub. head. very well compared to some records: “here are entered works on engineering design with reference to man’s anatomical, physiological, and psychological capabilities and limitations.” Even without this scope note, the record would convey the meaning of this sub. head. anyway because of the other terms and fields it contains.

While it’s a great LC Authority FIle record, this just goes to show that a subject heading isn’t always what it appears to be at first glance. Regardless of whether a heading is new or well-used by use as a cataloger, my suggestion is to take the extra few seconds to check the authority file and make sure the meaning in your mind is the one that LC means as well. You may be spot on, or in this case like myself you may learn something new!

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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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There’s a subject heading for that!?: multiple confounding subject headings

Lately new subject headings kept to themselves, hidden away in other items in other people’s catalogs. I enjoy TASHFT!? posts (or is that acronym ridiculous, ha!) because sometimes they are more fun to discuss than cataloging issues since they are practical and get used each day, subject headings in general that is and not necessarily the ones I highlight in these posts.

But after stumbling, as we so often do, upon the third, I knew it was time for a post. All three start with the letter c and only offer brief discussion so they work well together.

“Cheating at video games” caught my attention first. Now, before you or perhaps your kids get super excited about winning your favorite video games, just know that it only occurs twice in the LC catalog. Part of the issue with its low use is that game-specific guides are listed under that particular game. So, the Super Mario Bros. 3 guide that my friend had and used to get all the items and match up all the memory card rounds, is listed under that game rather than in this general LC classification that corresponds to this LCSH. Which is great for the users but begs why this was created, yes yes literary warrant but still I would have (almost) bet money that there were more books on this topic, and so did the person who set up the sub. head. in the first place. Yet, there isn’t a parallel one for computer games but maybe people only cheat at video games (which LC defines as television games, i.e. consoles). Or perhaps people just cheat rather than writing about cheating because if you can’t figure it out on your own or with the help of the internet than you don’t deserve to be able to cheat. Despite the straight-forward SAF, here’s a screenshot anyway, because it’s always fun to look at!:

Next up, “children’s paraphernalia”–gripping, isn’t it? It is if that’s the topic you’re cataloging! This is a sneaky sub. head. that looks vague but is actually specific, kinda. Let’s take a look and see why:

Alright, this is basically a broad term for children’s stuff. See, specific, sort of. To really cover the bases, there should be 450s for “children’s stuff” and “children’s things”, right? Since the item with this sub. head. dealt with making and assessing new products for kids, it fit well! Clearly, narrower terms are available and some are very specific if you continue down the nesting of some. Many of the narrower terms lead to items involving crafts for kid stuff, mainly knitted and crocheted blankets.

And finally, the third sub. head. that starts with a c, “cardsharping”. Huh? Comment if you recognize this term before I talk about it because I had no idea what they meant. Oh, Wikipedia, please explain! Thanks! Meaning card shark, got it. Wait, where is the cross-reference?:

I guess no one says “card sharking” and this is meant for the action and not the people. In fact, there isn’t a sub. head. for card sharks or card sharps. While there is “card players” and some narrower terms, cheating card players aren’t represented:

As always with subject headings, you have to work with what’s there. Or propose/create your own if you’re able. Seriously, I might have to write a book about card sharks to justify literary warrant. Watching those cable professional poker marathons are fun during a hotel stay!


Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


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