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LibraryThing and Literary Works Revisited: Are Social and Library Cataloging Just as Complementary as they were a Decade Ago?

Philip Hider, Gemma Steele

Abstract


Providing access to literary works remains a challenge for catalogers and metadata librarians, notwithstanding modern advances such as the introduction of the Guidelines on Subject Access to Individual Works of Fiction, Drama etc. and the Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms. This study explores how harnessing the social cataloging of fiction and other belles-lettres might help meet this challenge. Samples of records from the catalogs of a university and a public library were compared with their equivalents in the LibraryThing (LT) platform, using a similar study reported in this journal ten years prior as a baseline. Most of the library titles were found in LT, and most were linked to tags that still offered additional access points of considerable value beyond the subject and genre headings included in the library records. However, the number of relevant and useful tags attached to each title varied considerably, as indeed did the quantity and quality of the headings. The authors analyze how the tags complemented the headings and identify genre, setting, theme, characters, and authorial attributes as key elements of description for social catalogers of literary works.

Keywords


Cataloging; Social tagging; Literature; Fiction

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5860/lrts.65n3.113

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