Vocabularies Subcommittee: MLA Report 2018

Vocabularies Subcommittee
Business Meeting
Friday, February 2, 2018, 9:00-9:55am
Hilton Portland, Broadway I/II

Members present:
Casey Mullin (Chair), Rebecca Belford, Kirk-Evan Billet, Reed David, Ralph Hartsock, Morris Levy, Jacob Schaub, Ann Shaffer, Kyle Shockey, Hannah Spence, Jennifer Vaughn, Brad Young, Jay Weitz (OCLC Representative), Nancy Lorimer (SACO Music Funnel Coordinator), Mark Scharff (NACO-Music Project Coordinator)

Jim Alberts, Joshua Henry, Marty Jenkins, Jeff Lyon, Nurhak Tuncer, Maarja Vigorito (LC Representative)

Mullin thanked outgoing VS member Brad Young for his service. Rebecca Belford is also rotating off her term as VS member, but will be stepping up as the new VS Chair, beginning a new four-year term. Welcome Rebecca to her new role!

VS Chair’s report (Mullin)

Mullin alerted the meeting to his ALA liaison report from Annual 2017 (Chicago), available on Google Drive. The report from Midwinter 2018 (Denver) will be available soon, and will be announced on the CMC Blog and via other channels.

Annual 2017:

The past year’s work continued to utilize a task group system. Reports of particular groups’ activities during the past year are summarized below. Each subcommittee member is required to serve on at least one group;
additional group assignments are encouraged so long as the member can commit to the additional work. Assignments carry over from year to year until the member’s term ends, or a re-assignment is requested by the member (this should ideally occur only during the transition time around the Annual Meeting). For the coming year, each group will have vacancies, to be filled by new subcommittee members and continuing members seeking new/additional assignments. The new VS Chair will be making task group assignments for new VS members.

Mullin prepared two screencasts, one highlighting vocabulary-related updates on the CMC website, and one demonstrating the OCLC music fields toolkit developed by Gary Strawn (see below for fuller description).

Mullin concluded his term as Chair of the ALCTS/SAC Working Group on Full Implementation of LC Faceted Vocabularies after the group’s white paper “A Brave New (Faceted) World” was accepted by SAC and published on ALA’s website ( Mullin now serves on the new ALCTS/SAC Subcommittee on Faceted Vocabularies, which replaces the Subcommittee on Genre/Form Implementation, which will be formally disbanded at ALA Midwinter. SSFV
will have their first meeting at Midwinter and Mullin will include a summary of it in his ALA report.

Mullin thanked VS members for the opportunity to serve as their chair, and congratulated the group on four incredibly productive years (including in its prior incarnation as the Subject Access Subcommittee).

LC Liaison’s report (Vigorito)

Vigorito was not able to attend the MLA Annual Meeting. Shockey represented LC in her place for the VS meeting, but did not have a formal report to give.

Types of Composition List Task Group (Levy)

Morris Levy, who coordinated the work of the TOC task group, gave a report summarizing the group’s activities over the past year. The group evaluated the following type terms, and (with the help of the CMC
Webmaster) the list was amended/edited accordingly.

From February-September 2017:

Coranto (cross reference to Courante)
Ballate: Changed Italian plural from Ballatas to Ballate
Cantata: commenced evaluating language regarding collective titles
Cantiga: Revised entry
Peça: Added as a reference to Piece

Later in September 2017:

Music; Pastorela; Pastorella/Pastorellas; Stückchen; Zene/Zenék

In October 2017:

Improvisation; Improwizacja/Improwizacje; Pastorel·la; Pastorella/Pastorellas; Nocturn; Nocturne/Nocturnes

In November 2017:

Anthem/Anthems; Berceuse/Berceuses; Bicinium/Bicinia; Cadenza/Cadenzas; Cantata/Cantatas; Cantiga/Cantigas; Catch/Catches; Cradle song; Glee/Glees; Gletta/Glettur; Gradual/Graduals; Humoresque/Humoresques; Hymn/Hymns; Introit/Introits; Lullaby/Lullabies; Ukolébavka/Ukolébavky; Wiegenlied/Wiegenlieder; Work/Works

In December 2017:

Frottola/Frottolas; Vuggevise

In January 2018:

Szerenád, Serenade

Levy was thanked for his report and for his leadership of the task group.

SACO Music Funnel Coordinator report (Lorimer)

Lorimer referenced her report to CMC, available here:

LCMPT Maintenance Task Group (Billet)

Kirk-Evan Billet, who coordinated the work of the LCMPT Maintenance task group, gave a report summarizing the group’s activities over the past year.

Completed the project to review the hierarchy and choice of preferred/variant term for the LCGFT term Underground dance music. A proposal to change the preferred term from Underground dance music to Electronic dance music was submitted to the SACO Music Funnel Coordinator in May 2017.

Completed the project to evaluate the LCGFT term Rap (Music); Hip-Hop (Music) was removed as a UF to Rap (Music) and is being proposed as a separate term. A set of proposals were submitted to the SACO Music Funnel Coordinator in December 2017.

Commenced a project to establish Romances (Music) (a term “held over” from initial release of the music hierarchy)

The following project areas, identified as task group priorities in recent years, remain to be taken up later:

Addressing the “flute problem,” that is, terms that stand for all instruments of a type AND for the most common member of that family. This is a common feature in thesaurus construction and most likely cannot be avoided; however, scope notes can and should be clarified and re-worded as appropriate

Adjusting the voice/singer hierarchy in LCMPT

Evaluating scope notes for certain chorus terms

Adjusting the Part songs hierarchy in LCGFT

Harmonization of performance terms with pre-existing sound recordings hierarchy in LCGFT

The group will also want to monitor the CMC project to map LCMPT terms to UNIMARC/IAML medium of performance codes.

Billet was thanked for his report and for his leadership of the task group.

Thematic Indexes List (MLATI) Task Group (Schaub)

Jacob Schaub, who coordinated the work of the MLATI task group, gave a report summarizing the group’s activities over the past year. The group (with the help of the CMC Webmaster) accomplished the following:

Added 7 indexes to the list:
2 for Franz Liszt (Raabe and Eckhardt)
1 for Othmar Schoeck (Vogel), including authorized access point usage
1 for Ernst Krenek (Bowles), including authorized access point usage
1 for François-Joseph Gossec (Role)
1 for Karl Friedrich Abel (Knape)
1 for Christopher Gibbons (Dodd-Gibbons)

Gained approval from LC for authorized access point use for the Sýkora index for František Xaver Dušek; updated the list accordingly.

A new index for Francisco Tárrega remains under review by LC for authorized access point usage.

Schaub was thanked for his report and for his leadership of the task group.

LCMPT/LCGFT Best Practices Task Group (Mullin)

Mullin reported on the recent of updated versions of the documents Best Practices for Using LCMPT and Best Practices for Using LCGFT for Music Resources. These revisions do not contain substantive changes to intellectual content, but they do accomplish the following:

Updating MARC coding in the examples to reflect the latest practices

Updating factual information (particularly in footnotes and the top-level term hierarchies)

Harmonizing version identification (i.e., numbering) between the documents

Harmonizing description of the revision history between the documents

Other miscellaneous editorial fixes

Both documents are now available at generic URLs, with previous versions of both documents also listed on
​this page on the CMC website. The group discussed the need to distinguish superseded versions with a watermark. The new VS Chair will take the matter under advisement.

A desire for best practices for Library of Congress Demographic Group Terms (LCDGT) was also discussed. Programming around this emerging area of faceted bibliographic access is under consideration by CMC for MLA 2019 in St. Louis, whose intended theme of diversity and inclusion offers a useful venue for discussions around ramifications of libraries’ use of controlled terminology to describe persons.

Task Group on Deriving Faceted Terms from LCSH (Mullin)

Mullin reported on the activity of this task group over the past year, which builds on previous work over the past several years, summarized as follows.

Summary of Work to Date

Following on the preliminary work done by the former Subject Access Subcommittee just prior to the 2015 MLA Annual Meeting, the current VS group evaluated several iterations of a program written by Gary Strawn
(Northwestern University) to derive LCMPT terms in 382 fields from LCSH music form/genre/medium headings in 650 fields, which was based on specifications developed by SAS. The latest version (and associated natural-language documentation) was completed by Strawn in May 2015.

In 2016, the VS group turned to the second phase of the project, mapping LCSH music headings to all non-382 facets, including genre/form (655), audience characteristics (385), creator characteristics (386), geographic (370) and chronological (046). After preparing a first draft of this algorithm, Mullin sent it to Strawn for feedback, programming and testing. Based on Strawn’s feedback, several refinements were made to the mappings, and Strawn ran the program on thousands of bibliographic records in Northwestern University’s database.

Also during 2016, a task group in the ALA Subcommittee on Genre/Form Implementation prepared a mapping of LCSH form subdivisions to their corresponding LCGFT and LCDGT terms. The VS group prepared mappings for music LCSH subdivisions and select fixed field codes. The combined mapping document (now incorporated into Strawn’s program) is available here:

During 2017, Strawn and the task group began testing the combined program (which generates all relevant faceted data fields, including 382 and 655) on record sets from Northwestern University and Syracuse University. Strawn prepared a new, comprehensive Word document that describes the entire process and refers out to a companion spreadsheet of faceted term mappings. Strawn also generated several reports of “non-productive” LCSH headings, which the task group analyzed to identify gaps in the faceted vocabulary mappings. Later in 2017, Strawn wrote an OCLC toolkit which runs the program on a single bibliographic record in OCLC Connexion, and Mullin began testing it. Further refinements, particularly in the generation
of 382 fields, ensued, and others in the task group were invited to join the testing. From August to December 2017, Mullin conveyed several rounds of testing feedback, which Strawn used to refine the toolkit and underlying algorithm.

Both Mullin and Strawn have monitored the LC monthly lists for new LCMPT, LCGFT and LCDGT terms that can be the basis for additional or revised LCSH mappings.

At the VS business meeting, Mullin announced the presentation he and Strawn would give later that day (February 2, 2018). The presentation describes the project to date and the challenges associated with automatic generation of faceted data for music resources.

Next Steps

Mullin will remain on the project for several months as a consultant, to ensure a smooth transition with Strawn and Belford. The immediate next steps for the project are as follows (note, the following incorporates discussions that took place both during and after the VS business meeting):

1) Mullin, Strawn and Belford will wrap up current pending developments with the algorithm, program and toolkit.

2) When everything is sufficiently stable, Mullin and Belford will announce the availability of the algorithm documentation and the OCLC toolkit, as well as describe a feedback mechanism for community testing (currently envisioned as a Google form).

3) Strawn will continue to maintain the algorithm documentation, including the mapping spreadsheet and the OCLC toolkit and its associated documentation, at stable URLs on his NU website.

4) Mullin will draft a document that describes MLA’s efforts to devise a comprehensive process for retrospective implementation of faceted music data, endorses Strawn’s program and toolkit as the preferred
instantiation of that algorithm, and explains the ongoing revision and refinement process underway that can and should be informed by community user feedback.

5) VS will continue to monitor community feedback and testing, both on the OCLC toolkit and (eventually) on full-scale implementations of Strawn’s program

At the VS business meeting, several factors were articulated that are germane to eventual full-scale retrospective implementation:

Markers are needed in MARC bibliographic records to indicate the presence of machine-generated data, and to indicate any subsequent human interventions taken to evaluate, refine and enhance that data. The 883 field is one possible tool to consider.

Ongoing expansion and development of LC’s faceted vocabularies necessitate constant monitoring, to ensure the algorithm and program reflect the latest realities.

The additional demographic data produced in this process makes more urgent the need for MLA to offer training and best practices on LCDGT.

Individual institutions will need to ensure that all faceted data fields are properly implemented in their ILSs.

Could OCLC incorporate the program into their WorldCat quality control batch update mechanisms? VS should communicate with OCLC staff, such as Robert Bremer, about this possibility.

Respectfully submitted,

Casey Mullin