Subject Analysis Committee

SAC (Monday, 12 January 1998, p.m.)

Julie Beall reported on activities of the IFLA Section on Classification and Indexing. A working group has been reviewing comments on the Principles underlying subject heading languages and are concerned about the European bias.

The revisions of the functional requirements document are well along and will be posted on

When revisions to Dewey numbers are posted on the web, they will be applied rather than waiting for the printing of a new edition. The UK is working on revisions, based on government administration changes.

The subcommittees on metadata presented reports. See below for reports of the meetings.

The Subcommittee on Subject Access to Computer Files is working on clarifying the use of various subdivisions. "--Databases" should only be used on resources with encoded structure.

Another subcommittee is organizing a program entitled "One size fits all: tailoring subject headings to specific communities" for the annual conference in Washington. There will be a presenter and critiquer of LCC, DDC, and Yahoo. It is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

To provide liaison and interaction with other groups working on SAC-relevant topics, it was suggested that the chair notify prospective partners when a new committee is charged or another initiative is started.

SAC Subcommittee on Metadata and Classification
(Saturday, 10 January 1998, p.m.)

The charge of this subcommittee is to look at how classification in metadata can be used and promoted. Mary Dabney Wilson (Texas A & M) is the chair of this subcommittee. Another SAC subcommittee will be preparing programs on subject analysis in metadata. The groups, as well as the committee at large, are concerned about overlaps and conflicts, though recognizes that this in inevitable and will try to keep atuned to the work of the other groups (e.g. CC:DA Task Force on Metadata; Computer Files Discussion Group; Digital Resources Commitee).

Classification can be a tool for hierarchical navigation in metadata. Notation can be less expressive and more hospitable to subject browsing. Some schemes are already being used in metadata and evaluation must separate the scheme's usage from the particular implementation. The subcommittee will be looking at criteria for evaluation.

An interesting paper on the use of classification in Dublin Core is available at Actually, there are lots of interesting things on the UKOLN (U.K. Office of Libraries and Networking) site.

Diane Dates Casey (SAC chair) maintains a list for SAC and its subgroups (with an acronym scheme for the subject line of email messages). It is called SAFR-L; subscription is through Diane.

SAC Subcommittee on Metadata and Subject Analysis
(Monday, 12 January 1998, a.m.)

The charge of this subcommittee is to organize discussion forums and programs on the use of subject analysis in metadata. They need to be in synch with its sister subcommittee as well as with other groups, particularly in the area of definitions. Diane Dates Casey is the chair of this subcommittee.

Some of the questions to be addressed: how does traditional library cataloging differ from metadata? Who creates metadata? (the machine, the author, a third party) Who should create metadata? Where does the metadata come from? (thesaurus, controlled vocabulary) A registry of controlled vocabularies that could be used by an author might be a viable means to encourage their use. The registry could be arranged like the hierarchies of a web browser (i.e. pick humanities, then literature, then poetry). Are qualifiers necessary or useful? What are the advantages of controlled vocabulary in metadata? When should metadata be complete and when should it be summary? If you've already done the subject analysis for a resource, how do you put it into metadata? What are your searching options?

The October/November 1997 issue (volume 24, number 1) of the ASIS bulletin is a special issue on metadata.

For annual 1998, the subcommittee will present a focused discussion with presenters on practical applications, concepts, and the untrained person and subject analysis. Pat Kuhr will prepare a bibliography.