Guidelines for Formulating Subject Headings for Archival Collections

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Title:
Guidelines for Formulating Subject Headings for Archival Collections
Series Title:
dLOC Advanced Topics Training Institute
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Documentation
Language:
English
Creator:
Thompson, Tim
Carruthers, Matt
Burr, Natalie
Publisher:
Digital Library of the Caribbean ( dLOC )
Place of Publication:
Miami, FL

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Guide
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Digital Humanities
Digital Scholarship

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Abstract:
Digital Library of the Caribbean ( dLOC ) Advanced Topics Training Institute, Schedule for July 21 – August 2, 2013, with details on presenters, training topics, for use in on-site training and for use in planning future training opportunities, guides, documentation, and other training and support materials

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University of Miami Libraries
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University of Miami Libraries
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Applicable rights reserved.
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AA00016149:00013


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UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI GUIDELINES FOR FORMU LATING SUBJECT HEADINGS FOR ARCHIVA L COLLECTIONS by Tim Thompson, Matt Carruthers, and Natalie Baur January 2013 Guidelines for University of Miami Libraries staff using Archon to add Library of Congress Su bject Headings and related Form/Genre terms to records for archival collections

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2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 3 LCSH syntax ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 3 Guidelines for description ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 3 Local best practices ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 5 1. Keep subject he adings to two subdivisions or fewer whenever possible. ................................ ...................... 5 2. Keep genre/form headings separate from subject headings. ................................ ................................ ......... 5 3. When a finding aid has a creator, a subject heading should also be entered for that name. ........................ 5 4. Avoid temporal subdivisions unless they are vital to discovery. ................................ ................................ ..... 5 5. Avoid using the subdivision -H istory by itself. ................................ ................................ .............................. 6 6. Avoid adding temporal subdivisions for centuries. ................................ ................................ ......................... 6 7. Avoid using broad geographic headings by themselves. ................................ ................................ ................. 6 8. Make sure all subject headings are relevant to the broad themes of the collection. ................................ ..... 6 Suggested subject headings and subdivisions for archival collections ................................ ................................ .......... 7 Main headings ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 7 Geographic hea dings ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 7 Name headings ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 7 Topical headings ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 8 Special consideration s for art and literature ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 8 List of topical headings ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 8 Subdivisions ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 10 Topical subdivisions ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 10 Geographic subdivisions ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 12

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3 OVERVIEW The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) system is our primary controlled vocabulary for subject description of archival collections. LCSH terms may be consulted in print or online at http://authorities.loc.gov LCSH has the advantage of widespread adoption and robust support. However, it is impor tant to keep in mind that it was first developed as an in house subject cataloging solution for the bibliographic holdings of the Library of Congress. It was not originally intended to be used for archival collections, so a degree of flexibility is warrant ed in its application. For catalogs containing millions of records, LCSH allows for a high degree of specificity in subject description. As it has evolved over time, it has become both more extensible and more complex. Headings that have been enumerated (spelled out) in the list of authorized headings usually cover most scenarios, but new headings may also be created by combining existing terms according to established guidelines. LCSH SYNTAX Headings in LCSH are usually created by adding subdivisions to a main element. Section H 1075 of the Library of Congress Subject Headings Manual spells out the basic syntax that governs the four types of subdivisions in LCSH: topical, geographic, temporal, and form/genre. There are two basic patterns for combining headings with subdivisions: [Place] -[Topic] and [Topic] -[Place] Most but not all topical terms may be subdivided by place. When in doubt, consult the printed LCSH list, which specifies whether a term may or may not be subdivided geographically (this the printed list seems to be more reliable). The pattern for [Place] -[Topic] headings is usually [Place] -[Topic] -[Temporal period] -[Form/Genre] For e xample: United States -Social conditions -1980 -Juvenile literature The pattern for [Topic] -[Place] headings is usually one of the following: [Topic] -[Place] -[Topic] -[Temporal period] -[Form/Genre] or else [Topic] -[Topic] -[Plac e] -[Temporal period] -[Form/Genre] For example: Education -United States -History -19th century Periodicals Tuberculosis -Patients -Maryland -History -20th century Bibliography These examples are provided only to illustrate proper actual collection level headings should generally not be this complex. For example, United States -Social conditions Education -United States or Tuberculosis -Maryland would be appropriat e headings by themselves. The use of genre terms such as Periodicals and Bibliography GUIDELINES FOR DESCR IPTION The Subject Headings Manual provides the following general guidance (based on LC practice) f or judging how many headings to include in a record. These are general guidelines that should be adapted to local requirements.

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4 Assign to the work being cataloged one or more subject headings that best summarize the overall contents of the work and provid e access to its most important topics. Assign headings only for topics that comprise at least 20% of the work. [. .] The number of headings that are required varies with the work being cataloged. Sometimes one heading is sufficient. Generally a maximum o f six is appropriate. In special situations more headings may be required. Do not assign more than ten headings to a work. (H 180) In assigning subject headings, it is helpful to keep the following basic questions in mind: WHAT? What is this collection a bout? Try to be as precise as you can and avoid including subject headings for everything. If you had to describe the collection in a few words, what would they be? Think of access points that will be beneficial to researchers and that will connect them to other collections with the same subject headings. What physical form do the materials take (clippings, photographs, audiocassettes)? Do they represent a particular genre or type of resource (letters, government records, reports)? WHO? Who is this colle ction primarily about? Who are the primary contributors or historically significant people represented in this collection? WHERE? What geographic locations are prominently featured in this collection? Does this collection relate to a specific country, cit y, town, or landmark? Or did the creator do a lot of work in a specific place that is well represented in the materials? WHEN? Does this collection document a specific period in history, e.g., a war or conflict, or a specific governmental administration?

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5 LOCAL BEST PRACTICES The following list of local best practices addresses specific requirements for adding o r creating subject headings in Archon. 1. Keep subject headings to two subdivisions or fewer whenever possible For our archival records, the degree of specificity that LCSH allows for is usually not necessary in fact, it may seems preferable, using it more as a set of keywords than as a sys tem for synthesizing complex precoordinate headings. At the same time, it is still important to follow LCSH guidelines in order to ensure internal consistency and interoperability with other institutions. 2. Keep genre/form headings separate from subject head ings the types of material being described, by naming the style or technique of their intellectual content (genre); order of information or object function (form ); and physical characteristics. In general, u se an appropriate controlled vocabulary ( not LCSH ) for assigning form/genre terms. In most cases the LCSH -[ F orm /Genre] subdivision should be avoided when assigning subject headings in Archon. Form/genre terms should be assigned as standalone headings using an appropriate controlled vocabulary or thesaurus. The current default thesaurus to be used for form/genr e terms is the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (TGM). However, when necessary, terms may also be drawn from other thesauri, including the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), the Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCG FT), or the Genre Terms Thesaurus of the ALA Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS). For example, for a collection containing letters from King Philip II, the personal name heading Philip II, King of Spain, 1527 1598 as established in the Library of Co ngress Name Authority File should be entered by itself. It should not be followed by the LCSH subdivision -Correspondence Instead, the genre term Correspondence taken from TGM should be entered as a standalone heading. However, f or photographic or ge neral image collections representing a particular place (for example, Cuba or University of Miami ), a heading with the LCSH subdivision -Pictorial works should be assigned S pecific form/genre terms should also be added to reflect the different types of materials in the collection (e.g., Photographs Aerial photographs Slides Postcards ). 3. When a finding aid has a creator, a subject heading should also be entered for that name 4. Avoid temporal subdivisions unless they are vital to discovery Temporal s ubdivisions may be used to describe specific events such as wars, conflicts, or revolutions: United States -History -Civil War, 1861 1865 -Sources

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6 For CHC collections, temporal subdivisions may be used to facilitate research on particular historical events or political periods in Cuba. For example: Cuba -History -Revolution, 1959 -Sources Cuba -Politics and government -1810 1899 -1899 1902 -1902 1906 -1906 1909 -1909 1933 -1933 1959 -1959 1990 -1990 5. Avoid using the subdivision -H istory by itself It can usually be assumed that archival collections contain material that has historical value or interest. Instead of assigning subject headings of the form [Main heading] -History look for other subdivisions that wi ll some commonly used terms. In LCSH syntax, temporal subdivisions usually cannot follow a main heading directly (except for certain cases suc h as those involving art and literature). When a collection focuses on a particular historical period or event, the -History subdivision may be used to link a main heading to a temporal subdivision. For archival material, headings with -History should be followed by the subdivision -Sources For example: Cuba -History -Revolution, 1895 1898 -Sources The subdivision -Sources is needed when the materials being described are primary (archival) sources. Without the -Sources subdivision, headin gs with -History would apply only to works of history or historiography (secondary sources). 6. Avoid adding temporal subdivisions for centuries For example, use Brazil -Social conditions rather than Brazil -Social conditions -20th century 7. Avoid using broad geographic headings by themselves Headings for places at or above the country level should be subdivided by topic. For example, Cuba or Caribbean Area should not be used as stand alone headings. See section on geographic headings, below. 8. Mak e sure all subject headings are relevant to the broad themes of the collection

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7 SUGGESTED SUBJECT HE ADINGS AND SUBDIVISI ONS FOR ARCHIVAL COL LECTIONS M AIN HEADINGS GEOGRAPHIC HEADINGS The following geographic headings should always be followed by an appropriate subdivision: Caribb ean Area -[Topic ] Cuba -[Topic ] Florida -[Topic] Havana (Cuba) -[Topic] Latin America -[Topic ] Miami (Fla.) -[Topic] Spain -[Topic] United States -[Topic] West Indies -[Topic] If judged to be appropria te, specific geographic headings below the country level may be used by themselves. For example: Coconut Grove (Miami, Fla.) Coconut Grove Playhouse (Miami, Fla.) Everglades (Fla.) Florida Keys (Fla.) Miami Dade County (Fla.) NAME HEADINGS Consult the o nline LC authority files ( http://authorities.loc.gov ) before creating local name headings. F ormat personal names according to LC Name Authority File conventions (La st name, First name, Date range: e.g. Smith, Joh n, 1900 2000). For corporate and geographic names, add geographic or other qualifying information in parentheses, as appropriate, according to AACR2 or LC Rule Interpretations. For example: Aberdeen (Ship) Red Sea ( Restaurant : Washington, D.C.) Wilmington (Del.) Ile de la Cit (Paris, France) Unique names or names that already include distinguishing geographic information do not require parenthetical qualifiers. For example: Freer Gallery of Art Delaware Cultural Arts Center

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8 TOPICAL HEADINGS The following list reflects some of the most commonly used topical headings that have been assigned to existing archival collections in Archon. U nless otherwise noted a ll headings listed below may be subdivided geographica lly. SPECIAL CONSIDERATIO NS FOR ART, LITERATURE AND MUSIC For headings related to art, u se linguistic, national, regional, or ethnic qualifiers in inverted for (e.g., Art, Cuban ) However, for U.S. ethnic groups, use direct form (e.g., Cuban American ar t ). For most headings related to artists, use the term Artists subdivided geographically (e.g., Artists -United States ), but for U.S. ethnic groups, use direct form (e.g., African American artists ). For headings related to literature and literary genres use linguistic, national, regional, or ethnic qualifiers followed by a genre term (e.g., American drama ) For headings related to authors, use inverted form (e.g., Authors, American or Dramatists, Spanish ) However, for U.S. ethnic groups, use direct for m (e.g., Filipino American authors Mexican American dramatists ). For additional instructions, s ee comments under American literature LIST OF TOPICAL HEAD INGS (TOP 40) American drama To highlight particular topics, use the subdivision -Drama For exam ple: Refugees -Drama Slavery -Drama For dramatic works by members of a U.S. ethnic group, follow the patterns described under American literature American literature For l iterary collections in English written by members of a U.S. ethnic group giv e the ethnic group as a subdivision. For example: American literature -Cuban American authors For literary collections in Spanish by members of a U.S. ethnic group, use the pattern Cuban American literature (Spanish) American poetry See note on Poetry below. For poetry by members of a U.S. ethnic group, foll ow the patterns described under American literature Architecture Art, American Art, Cuban Art, European Artists Authors, Cuban Cities and towns City planning Civil rights Composers Costum e design Cuban American art Compare with the inverted form (e.g., Art, Cuban ) used for national artistic traditions.

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9 Cuban American artists For Cuban artists, use the heading Artists -Cuba Cuban American authors May be used as a standalone heading or as a subdivision under American literature Cuban Americans Cuban drama Cuban literature Cuban poetry Cubans Dramatists, Cuban Education Emigration and immigration (Not Subd Geog) Do not subdivide geographically. Instead, use the free floating subdivi sion -Emigration and immigration under names of regions, countries, cities, etc. (see below under topical subdivisions). Assign the heading Emigration and immigration to general works on the process of resettling in a new country, including the administr ation of the emigration/immigration process, the reasons why persons leave their native land, their arrangements for transportation and the moving of personal and household goods, their trip to another country, their arrival, etc. Exiles Subdivide geogra phically to indicate the country of origin and/or the destination of the exiles. Use inverted form to indicate national or ethnic identity. Do not subdivide the heading geographically by itself. Government, Resista nce to Human rights Journalists Latin American literature Little magazines Music Subdivide geographically to indicate national musical traditions. Musicians Oral history Poetry (Not Subd Geog) Avoid using Poetry as a main heading. As a main heading, Poetry should only be used for general works on poetry and works limited to the philosophy of poetry. Best practice is to use a heading for poetry qualified by linguistic, national, or regional terms (e.g., American poetry Cuban poetry Brazilian poetry ) or to use -Poetry as a subdivision under names of countries, cities, etc., [. .] and under classes of persons, ethnic groups, and topical headings. For example, assign the following headings to a collection of English poetry about the Atlantic Ocean: English poetry Atlantic Ocean -Poetry Poets, Cuban Political refugees Narrower term for Refugees Refugees May be subdivided geographically to indicate the country of origin and/or the destination of the refugees. Slavery Subdivide Slavery geographically. It is not necessary to add the subdivision -History to the main heading Slavery unless a specific time period is represented in the collection. Sugarcane industry Theater

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10 Use Theater subdivided geographically, for works of drama as acted on the stage. For drama as a literary form, use Drama or the appropriate phrase heading with a linguistic, national, or ethnic qualifier (see American drama and Cuban drama above). Theaters Use Theaters for facilities used to stage dramatic works. Tourism Underground pre ss publications Women World War, 1939 1945 SUBDIVISIONS The following lists contain some common topical and geographic subdivisions useful for describing our archival collections. TOPICAL SUBDIVISIONS [Main heading] -Description and t ravel Use the subdivision -Description and travel under names of both cities and larger places for descriptive works and accounts of travel, including the history of travel, in those places. This subdivision is not used for broad geographical works about a specific p lace. The subdivision -Geography is used under names of places for works of that type. [Main heading] -Economic conditions Use the free floating subdivision -Economic conditions under names of regions, countries, cities, etc.; under names of ethnic groups; and under classes of persons, including occupational groups, for works discussing the economic history or economic conditions in general of a place, ethnic group, or class of persons. Use -Economic conditions under headings for specific occupatio nal groups, when appropriate. [Main heading] -Emigration and immigration Use the free floating subdivision -Emigration and immigration under names of regions, countries, cities, etc., for works on the process of emigration from or immigration to a pla ce. [. .] For works on migration from one country to another, or to a particular place within another country, assign a heading to indicate the place from which emigrants came and a heading for the place to which they moved. For example, in a collection documenting Mexican immigration to California, the following headings would be used: California -Emigration and immigration Mexico -Emigration and immigration Immigrants -California Mexicans California Use the free floating subdivision -Emigrat ion and immigration -Government policy under names of regions, countries, cities, etc., for works on the policies adopted by individual governments to encourage or discourage specific types of migration, such as quotas for particular groups, lifting of r estrictions for certain occupations, etc. [Main heading] -Foreign relations

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11 The free floating subdivision -Foreign relations is used under names of countries (or regions made up of two or more countries) for works that discuss the diplomatic relations between these countri es and other sovereign states. [. .] For works that discuss general relations or military relations, the subdivisions -Relations or -Military relations are used. [. .] Fur ther subdivide the subdivision -Foreign relations by place for works that discuss the diplomatic relations between two regions or countries. Make an additional subject entry with the two places in reversed positions. Great Britain -Foreign relations -Argentina Argentina -Foreign relations -Great B ritain Do not further subdivide headings of this type by period subdivisions. If appropriate, assign additional headings to bring out a specific time period. Example : Austria -Foreign relations -Soviet Union Soviet Union -Foreign relations -Aust ria Austria -Foreign relations -1918 1938 Soviet Union -Foreign relations -1917 1945 [Main heading] -Political activity Assign the free floating subdivision Political activity (May Subd Geog) under classes of persons, types of corporate bodies, names of individual corporate bodies, persons, families, individual military services, and Christian denominations for works on the political participation of these persons or organizations. [Main heading] -Politics and government The free floating su bdivision -Politics and government is assigned to works that discuss the theory, practice, and history of politics and government and citizen participation in the political process. [Main heading] -Race relations The free floating subdivision -Race r elations is used under names of countries, cities, etc. [Main heading] -Social conditions Use the free floating subdivision -Social conditions under names of regions, countries, cities, etc.; under names of ethnic groups; and under classes of persons, including occupational groups. Use the subdivision for works discussing the social history or sociology of a place, ethnic group, or class of persons, including such subtopics of sociology as social problems, stability, change, interaction, adjustment, s tructure, social institutions, etc. [Main heading] -Social life and customs Use the free floating subdivision -Social life and customs under regions, countries, cities, etc., to works on the customs and habits of people in these places. Do not subdi vide headings of the type [place] -Social life and customs by -History Further subdivide headings of the type [place] -Social life and customs by established chronological subdivisions [. .] Assign century subdivisions only when they do not conf lict with established subdivisions for specific time periods. Establish new subdivisions for other significant periods, usually covering forty years or more, under headings of the type [place] -Social life and customs where there is sufficient material t o warrant it. [Main heading] -Study and teaching (Higher) Assign the free floating subdivision -Study and teaching (May Subd Geog) under names of individual persons, corporate bodies, and places, and under classes of persons, ethnic groups, and topica l headings for works on

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12 study and teaching about these subjects. [ This subdivision will generally apply to any archival collections of faculty papers that include teaching materials like lecture notes, etc ] GEOGRAPHIC SUBDIVISI ONS Geographic subdivisio ns are used to limit a topic to a specific place where it occurs. The pattern [Topic] -[Place] can be taken to mean [Topic] in [Place] For example: a book titled Songs and dances in Quebec would have the heading Folk music -Quebec (Province) For nat ional groups outside their own country, however, assign headings to bring out both localities (this would apply to headings for Cuban Americans or other U.S. ethnic groups) For example: Title: A Colorado Dutch hop sampler German Americans -Colorado -Music Folk music -Colorado Folk music -Germany The following list reflects some of the most common geographic sub divisions in our collections: [Main heading] -Caribbean Area [Main heading] -Cuba [Main heading] -Cuba -Havana [Main heading] -Florida [Main heading] -Florida -Miami [Main heading] -Latin America [Main heading] -United States