2008/07/24

About the New Version of lcsh-es.org

Today I'd like to explain some of the changes made to lcsh-es.org in May and let you know of more changes to come.

First of all, there are now two versions of the database, each with its own set of searches. The original will be remain available for a while, but sooner or later it will be eliminated.

In order to use the searches in the new database, you must first register and log in. There are two reasons for this. A number of people have asked for the ability to make corrections to the database; registration is an important first step in making this possible. Secondly, with anonymous access there have been some problems with robots abusing the system. Registration will help control the abuse and I plan to require it even for the old searches.

In the new version, all the data is stored in the MARC21 authorities format. Most of the original data did not come from MARC sources, so I had to convert it. It was impossible to make a perfect conversion, so in some cases the MARC coding is incorrect or improvised (xx9 fields and subfield 9). You can view Spanish language authority records by clicking on the source codes (BX NE CS SF QB) or LC records by clicking on the image next to the English headings. You can also download the MARC records for importing into your local system! If you try this you will probably have some problems with accented characters, but a solution for this is coming.

There is one big change in searching: the "n" and "ñ" are treated the same. If you type one letter, it will also retrieve terms with the other. When the terms are displayed, the alphabetical order makes no distinction between the two letters.

A significant improvement is that there are now cross references for the new Spanish-English search. "See" reference are always shown and there is an option for displaying "See also" references as well. I hope that very soon there will be cross references for the new English searches, too.

There is also a completely new search: you can search a copy of the LC authority file. Remember, these are not the most up to date LC records.

If you haven't already tried the new searches, please do! And please share your experiences. How do the searches work for you? Should anything be different?

6 comments:

Amy said...

This site has been immensely helpful to my Spanish cataloging. I recommend it to a lot of other catalogers. Thanks for the new searching capabilities, especially the links to the LCSH authority records. My suggestion is that you list the MARC source code (if applicable) for each of the subject indexes that you draw from. This is the code that goes in subfield 2 of the 6XX fields. It would be a nice value-added feature instead of tracking down the code from another site. Also, you mentioned that the authority records are not the most current--how often are they updated?

Mike said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Amy!

Adding the source codes would not be too difficult. I'd appreciate some suggestions on how to do it, especially when there are more than one source with the same term. The easiest solution would be to use the codes instead of the two-letter abbreviations on the left. Would that help? The only disadvantage to is that it would take up a little more room on the page. I am also thinking about displaying the headings with MARC coding, including subfield 2, so it could be pasted into OCLC Connexion or a local system.

As for currency of the records, the only headings that I've been updating are the ones from Queens and it's been a while since I've gotten a new batch. I will be looking into the possibility of updating headings from the other sources.

Amy said...

It might be as simple as putting a key at the bottom of the page. Queens = qlsp; Bilindex = bidex, etc. It would eliminate an extra visit to the OCLC page. I like your idea of displaying the headings in MARC coding, except that (and this is purely selfish) I use a very old database that is very touchy about pasting MARC from outside sources. But I'm sure that other users would like it.

Just out of curiosity, do you know when the Bilingual Index was last updated? I'm trying to decide whether I like Queens headings better, and currency will play a factor.

Keep up the good work!

Mike said...

I don't have any first hand experience with it, but I believe it's still being updated. I recently received an email from someone who is using a 2005 edition.

Geeta Halley said...

Your site is immensely helpful to my Spanish cataloging. Thank you for all the work you do.
One question: Very often I find San Fran. Lib and the Queens Lib. headings are different. For example: Opossums. San Fran and Queens have: Zarigũeyas. San Fran. also has: Tlacuaches. Which is better? Please help.
Thanks,
Geeta
(Geeta Halley)
Round Rock Public Library
Round Rock, TX
512-218-7014.

Mike Kreyche said...

"Which is better" probably depends on where a Spanish speaker comes from. I'm not an expert on that, but I would guess that Tlacuaches is used in Mexico and comes from an indigenous language. In this kind of situation, I would used both terms in a bib record!