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Monday, September 18 • 13:30 - 14:00
Using faceted vocabularies to improve description of historic audio collections at the Belfer Audio Archive

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As a librarian who has the great privilege to describe audio content in the remarkable and wonderfully diverse Belfer Archive, I have sometimes struggled to provide good access to important details of recordings of vernacular music. There is an undeniable Western Art music bias in the Library of Congress Subject Headings traditionally used to describe music, and a real dearth of terms to describe non-musical audio content, too. My descriptions have recently benefited from the introduction of several new faceted vocabularies developed by the Library of Congress. Two thesauri are primarily concerned with aspects of musical works: the medium of performance and the genre/form; and the third consists of demographic group terms. I am able to provide much more granular and detailed descriptions with significantly greater flexibility, though there are still some aspects of the vocabularies that can be improved. My paper will focus on the development and application of these vocabularies through use cases and analysis of their terms. I will also describe opportunities for use of the vocabularies in linked data environments, and make a case for their wider adoption in digital music libraries. LCMPT, LCGFT, and LCDGT are by no means restricted to use in the MARC environment, and their inclusion would undeniably benefit digital content seekers. The disconnect and divide sometimes present between the "cataloging" and "metadata" worlds is largely an artificial semantic construct, but it can potentially hamper acknowledgment and adoption of practices that would work successfully in both environments.

avatar for Judith Gray

Judith Gray

Folklife Specialist, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Judith Gray is an ethnomusicologist who serves as the coordinator of reference services for the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress. She came to the Library initially as part of the Federal Cylinder Project team, documenting and returning to communities of origin the... Read More →

avatar for Jennifer Vaughn

Jennifer Vaughn

Senior Digital Librarian, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Monday September 18, 2017 13:30 - 14:00 CEST
Ethnologisches Museum, Room 2 (ground floor) Takustraße 40, Berlin, Germany