Subjects Subcommittee/Genre Form Task Force: MLA Report 2015

Subject Access Subcommittee/Genre/Form Task Force Joint Business Meeting Report
MLA Annual Meeting 2015, Denver, Colorado
Submitted by Casey Mullin, Subject Access Subcommittee Chair, and Nancy Lorimer, Genre/Form Task Force Chair

Members present:
Subject Access: Rebecca Belford, Emma Dederick, Matt Ertz, Kenneth Kauffman, Kevin Kishimoto, Peter Lisius, Casey Mullin (chair), Hermine Vermeij, Janelle West, J. Brad Young, Maarja Vigorito (LC representative)
Genre/Form Task Force: Ralph Hartsock, Casey Mullin, Thomas Pease, Karen Peters, Sheila Torres-Blank, Hermine Vermeij.
Genre/Form Task Force: Nancy Lorimer (chair), Caitlin Hunter, Marty Jenkins
Visitors present: approximately 15-25

Mullin welcomed Vigorito, new LC representative, and thanked outgoing SAS members Peter Lisius and Hermine Vermeij.

ALA Report (Mullin)

Mullin highlighted a few items from his written report, available on the BCC web site:

Report from the Library of Congress (Vigorito)

The Music Division of LC implemented LCMPT terms in cataloging in spring 2014. The implementation is going smoothly, though there are issues with the DCM Z1 instruction sheet for 382, and inconsistencies with MLA’s provisional best practices.
Now that music terms in LCGFT are available for use, LC will implement as soon as it is feasible, noting that some training will be required. 650 LCSH headings will continue to be deployed in bibliographic records alongside 655 fields for the time being.

Status of LCGFT (Mullin, on behalf of Lorimer)

In February 2015 PSD approved approximately 560 genre/form terms for musical works, on Approved List 1514. Additionally, in January 2015, PSD approved approximately 175 “general” genre/form terms for inclusion in LCGFT. Several music terms are hierarchically related to the general terms. 15 music terms (including the highly-needed “Arrangements (Music)” and “Vocal scores”) are slated for approval in March on Approved List 1502. Numerous issues remain to be resolved, and dozens of terms have been deferred release, but it is expected these terms will be released over the next 6 months or so.

Future of Genre/Form Task Force (All)

Given the significant number of deferred terms and need to publish provisional LCGFT best practices, the Genre/Form Task Force requests one more year to complete its work. Mullin will coordinate with Lorimer on which tasks will involve and/or be led by the new Vocabularies Subcommittee (replacing SAS), and which tasks will be the bailiwick of the Task Force.

Retrospective Conversion of 650 Fields (Mullin, All)

In the months leading up to MLA, SAS completed an initial cycle of work on the endeavor to derive LCMPT and LCGFT terms from extant 650 LCSH headings in bibliographic records. Given the particular difficulties of medium of performance terminology as expressed or implied in LCSH, SAS began with the LCMPT piece of the puzzle. To this end, they created a preliminary mapping from MARC form of musical composition codes (048 field) to LCMPT (382 field), studied LCSH patterns as
prescribed by the Subject Heading Manual instruction sheet H1917.5, and derived a first draft of an algorithm for generating 382 fields from 650 fields. Gary Strawn has agreed to partner with MLA on writing and testing a computer program to generate these fields, and has provided feedback on the first draft.

SAS did not have time to discuss his feedback or the draft itself in much detail during the meeting, but did discuss in broad strokes what the next steps of the project should be. Other sheets in the SHM need to be similarly studied (e.g., H250, H1160); a one-to-one LCSH-to-LCMPT medium term mapping needs to be compiled (Vermeij offered to follow up on this, even though her term is ending); and the subcommittee needs to discuss the relative merits of the approach taken with the first draft of the algorithm (one linear process applicable to all possible headings) versus Strawn’s suggested alternative approach (a “bottom-up” method that subjects idiosyncratic terms to their own processing chains). Additionally, provenance of converted fields is an issue that will need to be accounted for in any conversion process. In MARC, several possibilities were discussed as a place to indicate that a machine process has generated a 382/655 field: 883, a new subfield in 382, 040 $d, and a 9xx field. Lastly, non-MARC environments in which LCSH headings have been deployed (e.g., finding aids) should be considered in this project, and ought to be amenable to the same or a very similar algorithm.

Two other tasks adjunct to the conversion process itself came to light during the meeting. The first is the need to articulate “functional requirements”, “possibilities andparameters” and other assumptions about how the new faceted genre/form/medium
metadata should be utilized in discovery environments. There are strong tie-ins with best practices for term assignment, further development of the vocabularies, retrospective conversion efforts, and broader efforts to advocate for and articulate music discovery requirements. A joint task force, with membership from CMC, the Emerging Technologies and Services Committee, the BIBFRAME Task Force, and others, will be charged to study this issue.

The second task that was suggested to be taken up right away is the formulation of a white paper to be submitted to PCC, with copy to OCLC as well. This paper will argue the case for pursuing programmatic conversion of exiting LCSH headings to LCMPT and LCGFT. The goal of the paper will be to solicit PCC’s support for a large-scale (national) conversion project similar to the conversion of the authority file to RDA.

Progress on the algorithm and the aforementioned adjunct tasks will proceed concurrently. Next, VS will study the first draft of the algorithm and Strawn’s response in more detail, and proce ed with revisions accordingly.

Discussion of MOUG LCGFT/LCMPT Session (All)

A fuller discussion was held at the second BCC business meeting on Saturday 2/28, but Kishimoto touched on the need to follow up with questions of display of the new faceted metadata. Also, the need to make available LCGFT in hierarchical form was articulated.

New Business (All)

With the reorganization of BCC into the new Cataloging and Metadata Committee, and with the rebranding of SAS as the Vocabularies Subcommittee, the work of the subcommittee will be expanding, and its membership will grow slightly. Due to these expansions, VS will try out a new approach to its work in the coming year, with small, focused working groups carrying out individual tasks, and the full subcommittee commenting and ratifying as appropriate. This approach parallels how many ALCTS
committees operate. Individuals can volunteer for one or more working groups as their availability allows.

VS will devote the coming year to the following tasks:

  • Revision of LCMPT best practices, hopefully removing the word “provisional” from the title
  • Completion and publication of LCGFT provisional best practices (with the GFTF taking the lead)
  • LCMPT maintenance projects, including improving terms, hierarchy and scope notes for electronics, and terms and scope notes for jazz ensembles
  • Ongoing maintenance of the Types of Composition and Thematic Indexes lists, taking over these tasks from the Authorities Subcommittee
  • Retrospective conversion of 650 fields, including drafting the aforementioned white paper (see above)

Recognition of Service

Thank you to Peter Lisius and Hermine Vermeij, whose terms on the Subject Access Subcommittee are now complete. Thank you also to Janis Young, who served as an interim LC liaison to SAS, and whose work on LCGFT and LCMPT has been integral to their development.