Home » Proposal to Add LOC Subject Headings to IA Librivox Audiobooks

Proposal to Add LOC Subject Headings to IA Librivox Audiobooks

Proposed Librivox Subject Heading Team

Composed of: Volunteers with an interest in this project.

Team Size: Depends on how many volunteers can be recruited.

Interim Team Point of Contact should be named, during recruitment of team members. The team will select its own team leader/coordinator.

Recruitment of Team Members

In the Volunteering thread in the forum ‘What is LibriVox and FAQ’, mention the team and its function.

In the same paragraph in the Complete FAQ thread in the forum ‘What is LibriVox & FAQ’, mention the team and its function.

Create a new thread in the forum ‘What is LibriVox & FAQ’ called “Volunteers Needed to Help with Subject Headings”

Responsibilities of the Subject Headings Team (Summary)

The team will select appropriate Library of Congress (LOC) subject headings for existing and new Librivox audiobooks in the Internet Archive collection.

Why is this Project Needed?

The collection has become too large to be accessible simply by browsing. It is necessary for users to identify all books of interest in the collection by a subject search. Without a well-functioning subject search, users have no convenient way of finding books deep in the collection unless a sort can put them near the top of the stack.

Existing subject terms, where they were used, are in ‘plain English’ and are not standardized. Subject searches don’t work well because a variety of different words and phrases were used in different books to describe the same subject. The search function at Internet Archive is not capable of looking for all the possible synonyms in a search.

Many books do not contain main subjects in the ‘Topics’ field.

The text added to the book in the “Summary” (drafted by the book coordinator or pasted from the preface, etc.), is sometimes useful in a search.  However, it may or may not describe the main subject(s).

Proposed Solution

Books throughout the collection will have standardized LOC subject headings in the subject field. If a user searches with one of those subject headings, they will find all books in that collection with the same subject heading.

This will make it far easier for a user to find books of interest and will better meet their needs. It will substantially increase the number of listeners for most books in the collection.

The team should consider maintaining a hyperlinked list of all subject headings used in this project, that would be available to IA Librivox collection users.

Why is this Proposal for the IA Collection of Librivox Books, Rather than for Audiobooks at Librivox.org?

The IA collection has 10 times as much traffic as the Librivox.org site.

Librivox.org audiobook entries don’t currently have a field for subject headings.

How LOC Subject Headings will be Entered into Audiobook Records

For new books (still in process), Team Leaders will copy the LOC subject headings into the tags box in the New Project Template Generator before the book is completed. Book Coordinators will no longer enter anything into the tags box.

For existing audiobooks already in the Internet Archive (IA) Librivox collection, Team Leaders will submit the list of LOC subject headings with their book title to one of the designated Librivox ‘Admins’ who are authorized to update book records.

The Admin will update all versions of that book in the collection, by adding the subject headings to the ‘Topics’ field. Any subjects already in the ‘Topics’ field will be deleted.

Management needs to revise the instructions above the Tags box in the New Project Template Generator, and may need to revise Help documents referring to that form.

How Will the Subject Heading Team Select Subject Headings?

The team must determine their own procedures, and decide on the roles of team members.

Team members must familiarize with the LOC Subject Heading system. Links to resources are below.

The team will not classify books, which is a complex set of tasks. They are concerned only with subject cataloging.

The team will use information entered by book coordinators in the Topics and Summary fields. They will also take advantage of the work of librarians who cataloged the same text-based books found at other locations. Known locations of such books are:

Project Gutenberg

Open Library

Internet Archive

LOC Online Catalog

Team members may also use ChatGPT or a similar AI tool to suggest subject headings.

Team members can consult these Library of Congress resources to find appropriate subject headings:

Library of Congress Online Catalog

Library of Congress Subject Headings PDF Files

How Many Subject Headings will be Used per Audiobook?

The Internet Archive recommends we use no more than 10 subject headings.

If it can be confirmed they are necessary, ‘librivox’ and ‘audiobooks’ should be included in every list of subject headings. Audiobooks (plural) would replace audiobook (singular), which has been added to 5,000 books. More than 1,000 audiobooks now lack audiobook, audiobooks, or librivox among their list of Topics.

When selecting subject headings, the number of books that would appear in a search with that subject heading should be a consideration. Using the term in a search of Project Gutenberg books would provide the necessary information. Project Gutenberg is also a collection of public domain books, three times as large as the Librivox collection, that uses LOC subject headings extensively.

The team should set up an internal clearance process for quality control, and to help ensure a standard approach by all team members in selecting subject headings.

Additional Resources

Library of Congress Classification Outline

LOC Subject Classification (many volumes)

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