In search of alternative subject headings and thesauri

by anchorarchivist... ()

I’ve found a couple of resources for alternative subject headings since my last post:

  • The Salt Lake City Public Library has a zine collection that is catalogued separately from the rest of the library’s collection. They decided to not assign subject terms while cataloguing but rather have invited users to tag records with their own subject terms. Thus, the vocabulary is not controlled or hierarchical, but it’s a good resource in looking for subject terms to use, especially subject terms that patrons will use when searching.
  • The subscription database from Proquest called CSA Sociological Abstracts has a good thesaurus of sociological subject terms, which is helpful for more academic subject areas like feminism and environmentalism. Of course, you need to be affiliated with a library that has a subscription to this database in order to use it. I’m still technically a student until September 2008 so I can access the database through my university’s library.
  • TemaTres, an open source thesaurus software program, hosts some free thesauri on its site on specific subjects and developed by specific organizations, such as General Subject Headings for Film Archives, and Thesaurus for Graphic Materials: Subject Terms. You can see the whole list of vocabularies here. These could be helpful for cataloguing in specific subject areas.
  • Wikipedia is by far what I use the most, though!

I spent quite a bit of time searching on the internet for alternative bookstore catalogues in the hopes of finding a list of subject terms to use, but no luck. Most bookstores don’t index their content by subject, which I guess is smart since it’s so time-consuming. I put my question out to the Zine Librarians Yahoo Group and got 1 response so far:

On a side note, while searching for alternative thesauri, I discovered a new book that looks amazing: Radical Cataloging. I feel that it may have a list of resources that includes alternative thesauri, but the book is too new to be at any libraries in my region so I ordered it.