I want to add my voice in support of the current LCSH policy.
>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.
The difference is that in history scholarship, one is attempting to find
the "truest" account of what happened. We know the more people that an
account of some event passes through, the more likely it is to be modified.
So it makes sense to get a first-person account when available.
However, in terminology control, the goal is not to find the most accurate
account of an event, but rather to find consensus within some community on
the scope and name of some concept or class of objects. Reputable reference
sources have made some attempt to find that consensus, in order to
communicate it to users of those reference sources. That is why what
historians call secondary sources are actually primary sources in
>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. ...
Because looking at all the current literature in even very specific subject
areas is impossible in almost any library, because almost no library has
_all_ the literature in that area. Reference source writers and editors
have the mandate and therefore the time and money to come much closer to
this than we can. So we let reference sources stand in for an exhaustive
>We should lead, not trail.
I view the current policy as solid leadership in meeting our goals of
efficient subject terminology that our multifarious users can take
Paul J. Weiss
Chair, PCC Standing Committee on Standards
Paul J. Weiss
Head, Monographs Cataloging Division
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