PCC Participants Meeting: 2017 Annual Conference

The Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) Participants Meeting was held on Sunday, June 25 in McCormick Place. The theme was “The Future of Subject Access in a Linked Data Environment Panel Discussion.”

The PCC Chair Matthew Beacom (Head of Technical Services, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University) introduced the panelists after giving a brief summary of PCC business. He thanked the members for their volunteer work and contribution to PCC an effective organization as is.

With the facilitation of the moderator Jennifer Baxmeyer (Princeton University Library), three panelists gave the following presentations on how linked data is developed in the subject realm.

Nancy Fallgren (Metadata Librarian, National Library of Medicine (NLM)) discussed the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) control of valid pre-coordinated headings and the work NLM has done to add subfield $0 with MeSH uniform resource identifiers (URIs) to NLM bibliographic records. She talked about subject access issues with MESH in the linked data ecosystem, MESH-specific issues such as deprecation, assigning new URIs, and limited strings vs. assigning URIs for the entire string. Fallgren argued that such a system provides flexibility while preserving precise meaning. 

Jodi Williamschen (Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress) spoke about the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) in a linked data environment. She gave an overview of the challenges of LCSH in a linked data environment using the BIBFRAME Editor as an example. She explained about data interpretation and creation and the required data structure for which current LCSH is not equipped with. 

Naun Chew (head of Metadata Creation, Harvard Library) presented on the potential of Faceted Application of Subject Terminology (FAST) and Cornell’s research with OCLC on the FAST application.  Cornell’s project, which started in 2013, implemented FAST due to LCSH’s limitations on parsing. Naun shared that the reasons for implementing FAST are that a faceted vocabulary can be used as linked data without being limited to any discovery environment, it is compatible with legacy data, and it is built on OCLC production infrastructure. He then pointed out two long term issues related to FAST: retrospective conversion of LCSH to FAST and vocabulary management.

The program ended with a brief question and answer session. One question asked was if there is a need to further refine the focus and sub-focus of the parsing of LCSH, and another question was on how dates are being parsed.

Reported by Jessalyn Zoom