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FAST February 22, 2008

Posted by Mia in cataloguing, FRAD, FRBR, Frontiers.
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I am eager to start experimenting with FAST in order to gain some insights into its workings. The results of a recent study, Is FAST the Right Direction for a New System of Subject Cataloging and Metadata? by Qiang Jin (U Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) was just published in CCQ and provides excellent examples of some of the problematic areas.

5,000 records is a substantial sample, a good starting point for applying the methodology, and well illustrates the differences.

I liked the leap of changing the free-floating History into a genre subdivision and noticed it right away in Jin’s examples. I’ll have to go back and have a much closer read of the FAST documentation on the treatment of free-floating subdivisions. This is an intriguing idea.

Regarding the chronological facet, there was sound basis for converting all FAST dates into numeric ranges. However, it is not yet clear to me as to why there can’t be (or isn’t) an equivalency of “20th century” for a date range of 1900-1999 (etc.).

Faceting varying chronological periods doesn’t work when separated from things like different political/geographic entities.

But perhaps this is ok after all, assuming there is a layer which provides overarching authority mapping between the terms. These are just headings, not authority files; and maybe that is key to it all.

Incubation time…

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