Is anyone else bothered by the response to the following FAQ?
6. Are some research sources preferred over others?
Generally, citation of authoritative reference sources is preferred over citation of usage in titles to support the choice of heading. Examples of authoritative reference sources are: Dictionaries or glossaries, Encyclopedias, Thesauri, and/or Indexes. ...
...Finding usage of terms and phrases in titles in large databases (e.g., LC database, OCLC's WorldCat, the WWW) may demonstrate that a particular term or phrase is in use and has literary warrant, but it doesn't necessarily indicate that it is the predominant or best way of referring to a topic. ...
(See FAQ on SACO Subject Heading Proposals at <http://www.loc.gov/catdir/pcc/saco/sacogenfaq.html>)
I have 2 problems with the response to this FAQ:
1) My training in history taught me that primary sources are to be preferred to secondary sources. Reference works are secondary works.
2) This reponse runs counter to the first sentence of the H202:
Proposed subject headings and their associated "used for" references should reflect both the terminology used in current literature on the topic in question [my bold], and the system of language, construction, and style used in Library of Congress Subject Headings. ...
CPSO (Cataloging Policy and Support Office) has fallen into the habit of giving priority to the terminology used in reference works. This should change.
I do not question the need for research to document that "the term being proposed as a heading has been found in existing literature" (2d sentence of H202).
But two changes in the work environment over the past decade have made it both possible and desirable to abandon the older reliance on reference works as a surrogate for the existing literature.
1. Online union catalogs, periodical indexes, and full-text documents on the web have made it possible to search the current existing literature (i.e., works on the topic) with the same speed as checking a printed (dated and not necessarily reliable) reference work.
2. The creation of PCC has vastly expanded the pool of subject expertise among working catalogers. For most/many subjects, there are now catalogers who can critically evaluate the information available in both primary and secondary (reference) works. In a truly cooperative program, this expertise would be utilized.
Headings in LCSH should not be dependent upon headings in other secondary works.
We should lead, not trail.