Tag Archives: subject headings

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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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 NOT a subject heading for that!?: audio crossovers

Fall arrived today even if it is officially a few days off. What better than a chilly, dark, rainy day to get my blogs back up and running! (Readers of my book blog also experienced a hiatus–too nice of an August!)

Usually this segment covers subject headings that I found in the course of my work cataloging e-books and streaming videos. However, as catalogers, we also contend with fitting items into the best places possible when they lack a defined spot. Same goes for sub. heads that we cobble various ones together to represent the topic as best as we can. This was one of those times.

“Audio crossovers” is not a valid sub. head. in LCSH.

For cataloging The design of active crossovers by Douglas Self, I felt that there had to be more LCSH to consider for the record:


In LC’s Online Catalog (side note: their updated site was having too many problems so they revert back to the previous one and I’ve not had the issues that the new one experienced; it’s an awesome new design if they can get the bugs out!), the item only lists “Electric filters, Active $x Design and construction” for the one sub. head. And merely 7 other records have this same heading, though there are many more variants and lots with just the base heading.

Here’s the LC Authority File record for it:


At first, this seems inadequate when it comes to the book’s topic. Using Wikipedia, we learn that an audio crossover is a type of electronic filter, so this is a slightly broader category. Yet, looking at the other 7 records in the LC Online Catalog with this exact sub. head., it is clear that those books focus on audio crossovers as well.

While it’s not perfect, it is the best LCSH offers right now. And considering all the variations for this sub. head., to propose a narrower term, or terms, then have someone parse out the items that should be in the boarder term and those into the narrower ones is a lot of work. Would it be worth it, probably, but I don’t know for sure.

The newness of the topic for this item was a challenge for me. That’s the other thing, for people, like me, who don’t know about a topic, the difficulty increases for cataloging it since I must figure out what the item is about then find sub. heads and a classification number.

Cataloging can be straight-forward or a balance between searching out and settling. The second makes for more interesting work but quite easily can lead to frustration or confusion.

Do you know about audio crossovers or electric filters?

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Posted by on September 18, 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!?: architecture and cosmology

This subject headings is one of those gems that enamor me when I discover them–hardly believing they exist sometimes. There are days in which the best course of action is the take the best stab at a topic then scroll through the subject authority file, carefully looking for something pertaining to what’s in hand. “Architecture and …” is a very fruitful and interesting area of SAF. But the best one by far is:

“Architecture and cosmology”


See!? How cool is that? Do I know what it means–no. Does the SAF tell me anything further, such as in a scope note–apparently we aren’t that lucky. I thought that scope notes were abundant and the norm; guess I just happened to find sub. head. with lots of them, which makes sense since I did catalog legal material for a while and that stuff is confusing no matter who you are and what degrees you have.

Where to now? The LC Online Catalog, of course! Let’s dive in and see what we find. Since it didn’t fit my item, I am just now searching for this as I write the post. I sure hope something turns up! Subject Browse rocks. Oooo, 12 hits and additional ones divided geographically. It always makes me sad to find a sub. head. that has only one or two uses.


Ah, ha! Now we have some answers. Yes, if you guessed that this sub. head. got at the symbolism of architecture for religious meaning and buildings then you are right! Who knew this niche existed? Now we do, and so can your users now too if you so choose to spread this knowledge! While there aren’t many titles, and some are in other languages, it still looks like an interesting topic.

It’s too nice a day to complain about bad subject headings today, although I did fill in a co-worker on the topic of “computer drawing” vs. “computer graphics”–maybe in another post of you all are dying to know my thoughts. Besides, since I don’t do authority work right now, I figure it’s best not to complain about something that I’m not working to change. Same with voting, right? If you don’t vote, don’t complain!

Enjoy your afternoon! I’m camped out on the porch for Camp today, and working on finishing this time!

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Posted by on June 12, 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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Famous!: At least among librarians and educators…who listen to the LiTTech podcast

My awesome friend, Emily Thompson the Learning Technologies Librarian at SUNY Oswego, invited me to speak as a guest on her podcast, LitTech. I enjoyed explaining cataloging, touching on RDA and FRBR and the  future of cataloging. She includes great podcast notes with links.

Really, there’s not much more that I can say about it…please go listen, especially if you aren’t a cataloger or librarian.

So, want to hear the inside scoop about subject headings, get an explanation of cataloging, hear some library science history, or why paraprofessional jobs in cataloging are become more prevalent, listen to LiTTech show 29 and let me know what you think!



Note: The above screen shot is only an image, so the listen now/play buttons won’t work; click the link above that says LiTTech 29! 🙂  (This will be obvious for most of my blog readers but my mom and family does read it, too!)

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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Uncategorized


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There’s a subject heading for that!?: night photography

Sometimes subject headings are cool and introduce a concept or topic that otherwise wouldn’t have crossed your mind. This week, “night photography” fit that case.

When I came across it, the sub. head. made sense but got me wondering why it needed separation from simply “photography” and all the narrow terms that go along with it. But as I looked into night photography further, the need for such a sub. head. easily made a case for itself, as seen in the linked examples near the end of this post.

First, let’s look at where this sub. head. is located. In the LC Authorities for “photography”, though there is a long list of narrower terms, you won’t find this one at first glance. Oddly enough, it’s nested within a narrower term. Can you guess which one? Spoiler: it’s under “available light photography”.

Available light photography covers the idea that only the natural light and the light already there is used when taking a photo, hence night photography listed as a narrower term of this concept. The authority for it is straight-forward:


As the 680 explains, “night photography” covers “works on the technique of taking photographs outdoors at night and collections of these photographs”. While the description explains the concept simply, the photos and collections are anything but mundane. Have you opened a new tab yet to search for it? Regardless, here are some of my new favorite night photographers and their awesome night photos; for the photographer’s sake, I’ve linked to their works.

A graveyard with some streaking stars. Circus Krone in Augsburg, Germany. The Red Eyed Grouper, which uses some added light from flashlights for effect. 50 exposures needed for this beautiful streaking stars photo. A large collection of 60 night photographers. And finally, a more intimate gallery.

In addition to night photography in the pure sense, many photographers use flashlights to add mood, color, and dimension to their photos. One cool phenomenon seen in some of the photos is “light painting”, which can range from adding color to the Buick in the Red Eyed Grouper photo to actually creating another image in the photo via the flashlight such as orbs or shapes or even words.

Here’s an amazing collection of light photography that range from adding emphasis to the photo, outlining, and creating the main focus/subject from added light. LC doesn’t have a “light photography” sub. head. but since this occurs in night photography itself, one isn’t needed, not yet anyway. In the LC catalog, there are 63 works with the sub. head. “night photography” and a handful more with subdivisions. From what I can tell, there are no works explicitly on “light painting” by itself but it is addressed in some night photography items.

Here’s a more technical description about night photography and the light needed. Plus Wikipedia has a good article for starters.

While I am not a late-night person, these photos are so inspiring that I might take up this hobby myself! Who knows, maybe I’ll give up librarianship to become a night photographer.

On second thought, what cataloger could leave this wonderful world of subject headings?

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Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


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There’s a Subject Heading for That!?!: ecofeminism

The Midwest went directly from a mild winter to a pleasant summer! The weather is great, even though it is abnormal. But sugar maple trees aren’t running, meaning no maple syrup this year–very sad indeed, except for the fact that we still have one unopened jar of my dad’s homemade syrup from a previous year still safely tucked in the pantry; if syrup times get really desperate, I might put it up for bids on eBay in the fall and of course provide you lucky readers the link! 🙂

While enjoying this beautiful weather on the porch in Ann Arbor, and some times the balcony in Wooster, I found an interesting heading that conveys much with just its name: ecofeminism. This came up during a search for environmental topics and though it wasn’t needed for any of my items, this sub. head. really intrigued me.

With its name, it invokes women, feminism, ecology, nature, the environment, and saving the planet. Could there be a more perfect term for Mother Nature? Very apt. There is a Wikipedia page that explains the basics of the movement.

Here’s the LC Authority File for ecofeminism (with a 953 cut off by the screenshot):

The 680 really says it all! This seems to be a really dynamic and fruitful subject heading for a precise topic. Yea! It’s always fun to find these types. I love it when a sub. head. is summed up in itself and conveys exactly what it is about.

“Ecofeminism” reminds me of Julia Butterfly Hill’s book The Legacy of Luna about her time spent sitting in a tall redwood nicknamed Luna in order to prevent loggers from cutting it down. The story is wonderful, if you haven’t read it. However, this one does not work as a sub. head. for that book but I made the connection because of the Search Also for it:

In the LC catalog, there are currently 94 items with the sub. head. “ecofeminism,” and several more with further qualifiers, mostly locations, if you too have become interested in this topic.

Now, to put down my laptop, slide on my sunglasses, and retreat to the porch with a book! Hope that you are enjoying the marvelous weather, too–unless you happen to be in the West, which I hear is chilly this year.

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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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