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66th IFLA Council and General

Jerusalem, Israel, 13-18 August


Code Number: 036-96-E
Division Number: IV
Professional Group: Classification and Indexing
Joint Meeting with: -
Meeting Number: 130
Simultaneous Interpretation: No

Section on Classification and Indexing. Review of activities, 1999-2000

Ia C. McIlwaine
University College London,
London, UK



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 promote 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 Language (SHLs)

The Working Group on Principles Underlying Subject Heading Languages (SHLs) chaired by Maria Inês Lopes (Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal) published the report of its work in June 1999.

Requirements for a Format for Classification Data

The Section has monitored and supported implementation of the recommendations of the Joint Working Group on a Classification Format of the IFLA Sections on Classification and Indexing and Information Technology. The chair is a member of the Working Group and has also attended meetings of the Permanent UNIMARC Committee by invitation. Implementation involves modification of the USMARC Format for Classification Data and development of a UNIMARC format for classification data. The work is essentially completed and should be approved at the Jerusalem IFLA meeting.

Committee members mailing list

A mailing list for the Committee has been set up and may used via class@infoserv.nlc-bnc.ca

Guidelines for the construction of multi-lingual thesauri

The Committee initiated a project to draft new guidelines for the construction of Multi-lingual thesauri, to replace the current standard which is now over 25 years old. A Working Group has been set up, chaired by Gerhard Riesthuis (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and an e-mail bulletin board has been set up for discussion. The Working Group will meet at Jerusalem to discuss progress.

Working Group on Subject Access of Web Sites and Digital Libraries

A Working Group on Subject Access of Web Sites and Digital Libraries was set up at Bangkok, under the chairmanship of Marcia Zeng. It has established a mailing list as a forum for discussion and will be meeting at Jerusalem.

Satellite Conference in 2001

The Section is planning a satellite conference "Subject retrieval in an automated world" in 2001 to be held at OCLC, Dublin, Ohio immediately preceding the Boston IFLA. Thanks are due to OCLC for agreeing to host this meeting. A planning Committee has been set up and further details will be available in Jerusalem.

Division project on OPAC displays

Representatives of the Committee attended meetings of the Working Group at the Bangkok IFLA and the Section has maintained involvement in this project throughout the past year.

Programme for Jerusalem conference

The Section has a full programme for Jerusalem.
For the Open Session the theme is "Current issues in subject retrieval" and three papers will be given:
  • MOSCHE YITZHAKI (Bar-Ilan University). "A proposed consolidated version of a thesaurus for alternative medicine".
  • VANDA BROUGHTON (University College London). "A new classification for religion".
  • E. ADLER (Jewish National and University Library, Jerusalem). "Multilingual and multiscript subject access: the case of Israel". A Workshop will be held on "Crosswalks between languages, cultures, religions in classification and indexing".
Speakers will include:
  • FRIEDRICH GEISSELMANN (Universitätsbibliothek Regensburg) . "Cross concordances: classification and thesauri".
  • JOLANDE GOLDBERG (Library of Congress). "Research at the intersection of terminology and classification: Crossroads for retrieval of religious legal data at Library of Congress".
  • PATRICE LANDRY (Sweizerische Landesbibliothek, Bern). "The MACS project: multilingual access to subject headings (LCSH, RAMEAU, SWD)".

Section newsletter

The section continues to publish a Newsletter for Section members, for members of the Standing Committee and for others interested in classification and indexing. Two issues have been published during the current year. This acts as a channel for imparting information about what is happening at national level and for sharing in the experiences of others. It is also an excellent forum for the discussion of matters of international concern relating to classification and indexing. Contributions are always very welcome.

Standing committee membership and officers

Membership of the Section at present stands at 101. The standing committee has 19 members, representing 14 different countries. Ia McIlwaine and Edward Swanson were re-elected as Chair and Secretary respectively at Bangkok, and will serve for a further two years.

Co-operative projects

Ia McIlwaine (University College London) and Edward Swanson (Library Consultant) attended the meeting of the Co-ordinating Board of Bibliographic Control at University College London April 27-28 2000. Ia McIlwaine attended the November 1999 and March 2000 meetings of the Professional Board, in her capacity as Chair of the Division of Bibliographic Control.

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


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