[open-bibliography] Proposed definition for /book/book

Karen Coyle kcoyle at kcoyle.net
Thu Jul 1 18:42:45 BST 2010

Quoting John Mark Ockerbloom <ockerblo at pobox.upenn.edu>:

> Even outside the constraints of catalog cards, it's often considered
> a good idea to leave out "Man-woman relationships" or other subject
> descriptors that cover a large portion of a collection, in order to
> prevent overload when people go looking for books under that heading.

I see this as presenting problems for federated searching. Less so for  
books but definitely for journal articles, the context provides some  
subject clues. I would guess that the Journal of Microbiology doesn't  
tag all of its articles with the term "microbiology" since that is  
assumed. But if you combine this journal with many others and do a  
search on "microbiology" you may miss all of the ones in this journal.

To me, this is not a fault so much of indexing but of the concept of  
searching -- that we enter one or more search terms and get back a  
result set, as if that is sufficient to define your area of interest.  
In fact, you might be interested in the intersection of a number of  
different topics, something searching doesn't really facilitate. I  
might want man-woman relationships combined with microbiology or  
whaling, but it's not easy to get there given what we have in our  
metadata. We need to be able to navigate fuzzy sets, oddball  
connections, and the interesting outlooks of other readers. This means  
that we need to connect man-woman relationships to all of the works  
where that is relevant, so that I can navigate that aspect of the work  
in combination with others. I think the use of facets helps with this;  
helps us chunk and refine and follow.


Karen Coyle
kcoyle at kcoyle.net http://kcoyle.net
ph: 1-510-540-7596
m: 1-510-435-8234
skype: kcoylenet

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