Joe, I would like to make a couple of observations on your comments and provide an explanation of why it is generally desirable to consult reference sources as part of the process of making proposals for new and revised subject headings for LCSH. There's no question that reference sources like dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri, glossaries, nomenclature lists, etc., are secondary sources. They are a particularly valuable type of source for the development of a controlled vocabulary because they deal with terminology and definitions. LCSH is basically a system of language -- a list of terms and phrases that have defined meanings and that have been selected to serve as headings. They are accompanied by references from the variant terms and phrases that are also in use to express the same concept, references that display the relationships among the headings with emphasis on the hierarchic relationship, and scope notes that provide definitions for some headings. Reference sources are useful because they are prepared by subject matter experts who sift through the body of knowledge and terminology in a specific field and who make similar decisions about which terms and phrases should be used as entry terms or captions, and which terms and phrases can serve as references. They may provide definitions and context for the use of terms and let us know when a term or phrase has more than one meaning. By encouraging SACO participants to consult reference sources we do not mean to negate their subject expertise. In fact, we expect them to determine the appropriate authority work to undertake for a given proposal; to evaluate the information they find while carrying out authority research; to make informed decisions about the best form of heading for LCSH, its reference structure, how to differentiate it from other related headings, etc.; and to document their research in 670 fields. By encouraging SACO participants to consult reference sources, we are not limiting them to printed sources. There are untold numbers of authoritative, up-to-date reference sources available on the Web. Those that have been found to be particularly useful for subject authority research are listed on the SACO web site. Additions to that list are welcome. In this SACO FAQ, the distinction that is being made is between citation of information found in authoritative reference sources and citation of usage in titles. We don't mean to exclude citation of information from current articles, etc., in situations in which that is appropriate. We realize that it's necessary to rely on current literature for newly-emerging topics, but we hope to see citation of the relevant information from a current article, such as a definition or scope of usage of a term, rather than just a title. The type of proposal that the answer to this question is attempting to forestall is one in which a cataloger has identified a particular term or phrase used by the author of a work being cataloged to express a given concept, has searched that same term or phrase as a keyword in OCLC WorldCat or a search engine, and then has cited a title or two using that same term or phrase. Merely citing a title that contains the same term does not constitute adequate authority research because it only documents the fact that someone else has used the same term or phrase for that topic. It doesn't indicate whether there are other terms or phrases in use for the concept, which terms or phrases are preferred or most frequently used, how the concept relates to other concepts, etc. Because we have received proposals of this type, we wanted to make clear what's involved in appropriate authority research for subject heading proposals. Lynn M. El-Hoshy Senior Cataloging Policy Specialist Cataloging Policy and Support Office Library of Congress 101 Independence Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20540-4305 Telephone: 202-707-5862 Fax: 202-707-6629 Email: [log in to unmask] >>> [log in to unmask] 5/5/2004 2:07:09 PM >>> 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.