Thinking out loud... Are subject codes worth all the effort?

1 year 4 months ago #1391 by dmalosh
Cataloging is a crisis. I say this often but every time I say it with increasing sincerity and urgency. I can't help but wonder if it's worth the time and effort to code subjects on books. Maybe I'm just downtrodden after spending many hours cataloging the 200+ titles that got posted on BARD between 1/19 and 1/20. (And, yes, we're using subject mapping, but mapping is only good if the incoming metadata is good.)

I wish we knew how satisfied patrons were with books sent based on subject likes, but we'd need feedback that we don't have the resources to attain.  Plus, there would be so many variables like the subjects we use and don't use that would factor in.

I suspect there is a circulation report that can show us what percentage of our circs came from subject likes over the course of a year, but I wonder if we could learn anything about subject requests over time and across all other KLAS libraries.  Are there changing trends?  What percentage of circs came from title requests versus author likes versus series subscriptions versus subject likes?  I would love 3 snapshots across the network from 5-year increments: 2022, 2017 and 2012.

Would anyone else find such an data interesting?

Keystone staff, is this possible? Is this information that can easily be generated and shared?  Maybe this is something someone would want to present at the next KLAS Users Conference...?

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1 year 4 months ago #1397 by maureen
Yes, data like that would be interesting to review. Subject headings and codes are worth it!

Here in FL we are involved with adding meaningful subject headings to our (subject mapped) records, found with the PDQ/ low or no MARC tag report. Dina (who just commented on your other post) uses merge queries effectively to apply new subcategories and other wrangling of the records.

I just sent out a poll to get feedback from the state on what headings are most useful to the reader services team, as we also 'unbloat' our headings list. I found "Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)" today! New ideas are voted on and more suggested by the users. Good teamwork makes this happen, so at least we know what we offer is what they need.

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1 year 4 months ago #1400 by kate kosior
I feel your frustration, I spend waaaay too much time cleaning up our catalog every month. We get good feedback from patrons, so I think the subject codes are working but the required clean up every single month is very frustrating.

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1 year 4 months ago #1404 by SamLundberg
Some subject codes are certainly worth it (I can't imagine going back to not having Cozy Mystery and Amish Romance as broken-out subjects). I think Maureen has exactly the right strategy of making this a conversation with RA staff, specifically an ongoing conversation with subjects added and removed over time.

This isn't all the data you were after, but I do happen to have some stats on how books were selected in NM last year.
Author 12553
BSearch 11253
PCC-Manual 4
QuickRequest 9540
Request 2010
Reserve 187
Series 209
Subject 69795
Web 3114
Grand Total 108665

Subject selections are the far and away most common. These numbers would be very different 5 years ago when we still had TBT and didn't have DoD. But in the current environment, many patrons have embraced the "more is more" strategy of having many books automatically selected and then skipping over anything that doesn't sound interesting.

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2 months 3 days ago #1681 by jenr
As someone still new to KLAS and NLS (I come from a public library background) I'm struggling with cataloging. I'd love to know more about everyone's codes - how baroque do you get? And how do they mix/match with 072 fields?

Like all of us, I'm trying to come from a user friendly perspective and really cut down on having subjects that patrons won't really use for Subject Autoselect. I've been working with our RAs and that's helped a ton, but I'd love to hear what other people are doing. 

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