LINGUIST List 11.1194

Thu May 25 2000

FYI: IR/Document Classification, New Web Interface

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karenlinguistlist.org>


Directory

  • Lois Boggess, Web interface for Library of Congress Subject Headings

    Message 1: Web interface for Library of Congress Subject Headings

    Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 15:36:31 -0500 (CDT)
    From: Lois Boggess <lboggessCS.MsState.EDU>
    Subject: Web interface for Library of Congress Subject Headings




    The KUDZU group at Mississippi State University is making available a web-based interface to a database of the Library of Congress Subject Headings. These subject headings are a loose hierarchy of phrases which have been used for document classification for over a century. They range from the very general ("Astronomy") to the specific ("Chiral drugs", which is a subtopic of "Enantiomers", which is a subtopic of "Optical isomers", which is a subtopic of "Stereoisomers", which is a subtopic of "Stereochemistry", which is a subtopic of "Chemistry"). The URL is http://fantasia.cs.msstate.edu/~jbk1 The Library of Congress Subject Headings are not as fully developed as any of the professional classification hierarchies, but the system has more breadth than any single domain-specific professional hierarchy that we know of. The web interface developed at MSU prompts for a search string. If the search string matches a subject heading, then the interface displays the information associated with that subject heading - superclasses (which LC calls "broader topics") subclasses ("narrower topics"), phrases which are roughly synonymous ("use for"), associated call numbers, and the Library of Congress's listing of subdivisions of a class (which is not the same thing as the subclasses of the class). The interface/database does not try to "improve" on the literal information provided by the LCSH hierarchy as published by the Library of Congress. However, it does make suggestions if a search is unsuccessful. For example, if a search string is "oxidation", which is a subject heading, the system returns only those topics specifically related to that subject heading by the published Library of Congress documentation. On the other hand, if the search string is "reduction", which is not an LCSH, the interface returns all the subject headings which contain the term "reduction", about sixty of them in all, including the subject heading "oxidation-reduction reaction", which is pertinent to "oxidation" but doesn't show up even as a related topic in the formal LCSH documentation for that subject heading. This tool was made possible by an REU grant from the National Science Foundation, under grant # IIS-9734807 Lois Boggess