IFLANET home - International Federation of Library Associations and InstitutionsAnnual ConferenceSearchContacts

63rd IFLA General Conference - Conference Programme and Proceedings - August 31- September 5, 1997

Section on Classification and Indexing
Review of Activities, 1996-1997

Donna Duncan
McGill University
Montréal, Canada


The work of the Section over the past year is described.



The aim of the Section on Classification and Indexing is to act as a forum for users and producers of classification and subject indexing tools. Its terms of reference are to promote standardization and uniform application of classification and subject indexing tools by institutions generating or utilizing bibliographic records; to initiate and provide advice on research in the subject approach to information; and to disseminate research results through open meetings and publications.

Working Group on Principles Underlying Subject Heading Languages (SHLs)

The Working Group on Principles Underlying Subject Heading Languages (SHLs), chaired by Maria Inês Lopes (Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal), met during the Beijing conference and reviewed the 1996 draft document. The Working Group decided to add a Russian contribution but not to include MeSH subject headings because they represent a specialized subject heading system. The enhanced document, which now includes overviews of and examples from ten systems and nine countries, was sent for a six month world-wide review in May 1997.

State of the Art Survey of Subject Heading Systems

In Beijing, a Working Group of Dorothy McGarry (University of California, Los Angeles, USA) and Edward Swanson (Minnesota Historical Society, Saint Paul, USA) was established to analyze the forty-five survey responses and recommend future action. Their recommendation was that the national libraries who did not respond and even those who did need to be re-contacted in order to obtain initial information or to determine the nuances of subject heading systems in use. This Project will be re-examined during the Section's Standing Committee Meeting in Copenhagen.

Requirements for a Format for Classification Data

The Standing Committee approved the final report of the Joint Working Group of the Section on Classification and Indexing and the Section on Information Technology for the Requirements for a Format for Classsification Data. The report has been published on IFLANET and will be translated and published by the National Library of Russia.

It also discussed the recommendation of the Joint Working Group's subcommittee of Maria Inês Lopes and Mirna Willer (National and University Library, Zagreb, Croatia) that "a separate UNIMARC format for classification data" be created. As a result of this discussion and further consultation, the Joint Working Group recommended the development of a UNIMARC format for classification data that parallels the contents and development of the MARC Format for Classification Data in order to support the data interchange of classification systems represented in either format. This recommendation was accepted by the Permanent UNIMARC Committee (PUC) at its March 1997 meeting. PUC is now in the process of forming a working group on a UNIMARC classification format.

Medium-Term Programme, 1998-2001

In Beijing, Standing Committee members developed the following scoping statement and discussed goals for its 1998-2001 medium-term programme.

Scope: The Section on Classification and Indexing focuses on methods of providing subject access in catalogues, bibliographies, and indexes to documents of all kinds, including electronic documents. The Section serves as a forum for producers and users of classification and subject indexing tools, and it works to facilitate international exchange of information about methods of providing subject access. It promotes standardization and uniform application of classification and indexing tools by institutions generating or utilizing bibliographic records. It initiates and gives advice about research in the subject approach to information, and it disseminates the results through open meetings and publications. It works closely with the other sections of the IFLA Division of Bibliographic Control, with the IFLA Core Programme for Universal Bibliographic Control and International MARC (UBCIM), and with the IFLA Section on Information Technology. It is interested in provision of subject access in libraries and information services of all types.

Dewey Decimal Classification: Edition 21 and International Perspectives

Dewey Decimal Classification: Edition 21 and International Perspectives, a collection of papers from a workshop in Beijing, sponsored by the Section and OCLC Forest Press, was published by OCLC Forest Press. Its eight papers describe major changes in DDC 21, Dewey for Windows, DDC in national bibliographies, DDC in China and the Asia-Pacific region, the translation of DDC into Spanish, and DDC as a tool for organizing the world's knowledge. It is available from OCLC Forest Press at a price $20.00 US and 13.50 UK.

Programme for the Copenhagen Conference

The following papers will be presented:

"Picture and Text Classification Based on Discourse Analysis"
Annelise Mark Pejtersen (Risoe National Laboratory, Copenhagen, Denmark)

"Des usages diversifiés pour la classification Dewey à la Bibliothèque nationale de France"
Suzanne Jouguelet (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris)

"Classification and Indexing in View-Based Searching"
Steven Pollitt (University of Huddersfield, UK).

Section Newsletter

The Section continues to publish an annual Newsletter for Section members, for members of the Standing Committee, and for others interested in classification and indexing. The Newsletter provides a means of sharing information about differing national experiences and helps foster an international perspective on classification and indexing and subject heading systems.

Standing Committee Membership

As a result of this year's election, the membership of the Standing Committee has been increased to twenty members, representing fifteen countries. Continuing members are

P. Benedito Castelotte (Spain), F. Geißelmann (Germany), E. Grignani (Italy), M. Heiner-Freiling (Germany), A.I. Király (Romania), I.C. McIlwaine (UK), G.J.A. Riesthuis (Netherlands), P. Soltani (Iran), E. Swanson (USA), and M.-M. Tomitch (France).

The three corresponding members are:

S. Artamonova (Russia), A.M. Monteiro Bettencourt (Brazil), and K.S. Raghavan (India).

Welcome to new members M. Aasmets (Estonia), J. Anjer (Norway), L.M. Chan (USA), M. Fournier (Canada), P. Leth (Sweden), E. Lindkvist Michailaki (Sweden), M. Naudy (France), J.J. dos Santos Rodriguez (Portugal), I.B. Tsvetkova (Russia), and M. L. Zeng (USA). I.C. McIlwaine continues as the FID Observer.

Farewell to J. Beall (USA), C. Freschard (France), E. Hjorstater (Norway), J. Lankage (Sri Lanka), I. M. Lopes (Portugal), and A. Normak (Estonia).

I also shall be leaving the Standing Committee after eight years as one of its Officers. I want to take this opportunity to thank every Committee Member for their support, dedication and contributions during these years.

Special thanks to M. I. Lopes for her leadership and hard work in the preparation of the Principles Underlying Subject Heading Languages (SHLs). I shall miss you all.

Elections will be held for Chair and Secretary during the first Standing Committee meeting.

Cooperative Projects

Donna Duncan (McGill University, Montréal, Canada) and Julianne Beall (Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.) attended a Co-Ordinating Board Meeting of the Division of Bibliographic Control in Washington, D.C. on May 9-10, 1997.

The Section continues to cooperate with other IFLA Sections and Divisions in various projects and activities.