School of Information Management & Systems. Fall 2000.
142  Access to American Cultural Heritages.   Buckland.

Exercise 5: Subject access in the MELVYL Catalog. Due Oct 17.
Read the hand-out on Subject Access. Library subject headings are commonly composed of multiple elements strung together.
Searching is a two stage process: First find the heading(s); then find the records associated with the heading(s). The GLADIS catalog requires both stages. MELVYL provides a two-stage process with the BROWSE command to find the headings, then the SELECT to get the associated records. More commonly one uses the FIND command which goes through the subject headings to the records without stopping to show you what they the headings were. To see the subject headings you can either (i) Use BROWSE to display headings, e.g. BRO SW and BRO XSU, or (ii) Use a FIND search, esp. on title words (F TW ), then DISPLAY LONG or D SU [display SUbject headings] to see what is there.
The subject search commands:
Find Subject keyWord: F SW CRIMES retrieves all subject headings containing the word CRIMES, including, for example, WAR CRIMES -- (F SUbject = F SW (SubjectWord)
Find eXact SUbject heading with quote marks (F XSU "WAR CRIMES") retrieves that subject heading exactly and nothing else, so it retrieves WAR CRIMES but not, say, WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL
Find eXact SUbject without quote marks assumes words may have been omitted at the end. So F XSU WAR CRIMES would retrieve WAR CRIMES and also WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL.

1. Suppose you wanted to search for books on the Blackfoot Native American tribe.
Try F XSU BLACKFOOT How many records?
Try F SW BLACKFOOT How many records?
For a closer look at what is going on do BRO XSU BLACKFOOT   Tip: Try D WITH COUNTS
What proportion of these are really about the Blackfoot tribe?
Take a closer look at the 4th heading, by doing SEL 4 then D LONG   What is this book about?
Now do BRO SW BLACKFOOT   How does it differ from BRO XSU BLACKFOOT   ?
Would BRO XSU "BLACKFOOT" have been a good search query for this tribe? If not, why not?

2. There have been lots of books about the Vietnam War in the past decade. So it should be easy to find a general, overall account of it - not a just one aspect of it - in the MELVYL. Do SET DATE RECENT which limits searches to only material published in the last ten years. (Use CURRENT for last three years.)
2.1. F XSU "VIETNAM WAR" How many records are retrieved?
2.2. How many does the broader search F XSU VIETNAM WAR yield?
2.3. Shouldn't there be more than this? Take a look at the subject headings being used with BRO SU VIETNAM WAR
2.4. Does this seem really on target? Does it look complete? Try another tactic, searching on words used in titles rather than words in subject headings. Do F TW VIETNAM WAR and then do D LONG (or more conveniently D TI SU ) to see what subject heading would seem to work best when searching MELVYL for books in the Vietnam war.
2.6. Check your choice by doing BRO XSU search using that subject heading. Comments?

3. Let's look for the Hoopa Indians in the MELVYL CATalog.
3.1. Do SET DATE ALL then BRO XSU HOOPA INDIANS   What do you find?
3.2. What do you find with BRO SW HOOPA INDIANS
3.3. Try F TW HOOPA INDIANS and examine subject headings using D LONG
3.4. What is the heading for this tribe? Check your hunch by doing a BRO XSU search.

4. Any non-subject field may help, e.g. for Sioux material, try their language F LAN SIO

5. When old records on cards were copied into electronic form, superseded forms of subject heading were not usually updated. Some unorthodox subject headings, not in the massive red Library of Congress Subject Headings list, also exist in MELVYL, and even a few typos. MELVYL has cross-references between variant authors' names, but it does not yet have them between subject headings. MELVYL CAT has lots of books on the UNITED STATES and on CALIFORNIA - and some headings not found in reference works, e.g. Try BRO SU CALIFRONIA or BRO SU UNTIED STATES. One can find SOIUX as well as SIOUX. Can you find a similar unusual heading?