School of Information Management & Systems. Spring 2004.
245  Organization of Information in Collections.   M. Buckland.

Assignment 5: Subject access in the Pathfinder Catalog. Due Feb  25.

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 Pathfinder catalog ( provides a two-stage process with the BROWSE command to find the headings, then by clicking on the link to get the associated records. More commonly one uses the SEARCH 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, or (ii) Use a SEARCH lookup, esp. on title words, then change the DISPLAY settings to also display Subject headings to see what is there. (In this assignment use "Full Feature" search.)
The subject search commands:

In SEARCH: Search for [your term] in su=Subject[phrase] looks for the exact wording as phrased: the exact same words in the exact same order - and nothing else. Typing in "war crimes" retrieves only records containing that subject heading exactly, else so it retrieves WAR CRIMES but not, say, WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL or TWENTY WAR CRIMES.
Search for [your term] in su:Subject[keyword]looks for any words, in any order. Typing in "war crimes" retrieves all records which contain any subject heading containing either WAR or CRIMES or WAR CRIMES.

In BROWSE: Browse for [your term] in su=Subject[phrase] looks for the wording in exact order. Typing in "war crimes" retrieves that subject heading exactly and nothing else so it retrieves WAR CRIMES but not, say, WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL.
Browse for [your term] in su:Subject[keyword]looks for any words, in any order. Typing in "war crimes" retrieves any subject heading containing either WAR or CRIMES or WAR CRIMES.

1. Suppose you wanted to search for books on the Blackfoot Native American tribe.
su=Subject[phrase]. How many records?
in su:Subject[keyword]. How many records?
1.3. Click on the titles of records 2 and 6 to see what they are about. What are the "Blackfoot" subject headings?
1.4.  For a closer look at what is going on do BROWSE BLACKFOOT
in su=Subject[phrase].. Then pick the most promising subject heading for the Native American tribe.
1.5.  Click on the number on the right to retrieve the records. So what is the best subject heading to use when searching for this tribe? (Hint: Click on the titles of a few records and check the subject headings to verify that your answer is correct.) (If you want to know more look in the 1999 edition of the Library of Congress Subject Headings, large red volumes in the Computer Lab.)

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 Pathfinder. Set
Limit by: yr: Year "1994-2004"which limits searches to only material published in the last ten years.
in su=Subject[phrase]. How many records are retrieved?
2.2. Now use BROWSE to check for the correct subject headings. Look for VIETNAM^M WAR
in su=Subject[phrase]. Is there another subject heading describing the war? Find a record for a book about the war, click on the title and look at the subject headings.
2.3. What is the subject heading used for the Vietnam War? Comments?

3. Let's look for the Hoopa Indians in the Pathfinder CATalog.
in ti=Title[phrase]. How many did you find?.
in su=Subject[phrase]. How many did you find? Look at some the records to see the subject headings.
3.3. What is the best subject heading for this tribe? Check your hunch by doing a BROWSE  su
=Subject[phrase]search with it.

4. Any non-subject field may help, e.g. for material about the Iroquois, try their language SEARCH iro
in ln=Language[phrase]. Take a closer look at the second item by clicking on the title to obtain a more detailed record, then click on the MARC DISPLAY button (upper right) to see the raw data. In which “field(s)” (numbered row) can you find the language encoded?

5. Teaser: When old records on cards were copied into electronic form, superseded forms of subject heading were not usually updated and global conversion of obsolete subject headings to newer headings missed some unorthodox headings not in the massive red Library of Congress Subject Headings list, including a few typos. So Pathfinder not only has lots of books on the UNITED STATES and on
CALIFORNIA - and some on UNTIED STATES and CALIFRONIA. , e.g. Try BROWSE UNTIED STATES (yes “Untied” not “United”) in su:Subject[keyword]. Why did you find the books you found? (Hint: Think MARC.) Can you find a similar unusual heading?