Subject Classification of Collection-level Descriptions Using DDC for Information Landscaping

Dunsire, Gordon and Macgregor, George and Thomson, Ritchie (2006) Subject Classification of Collection-level Descriptions Using DDC for Information Landscaping. Discussion paper. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. (Unpublished)

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Collection-level description (CLD) has emerged as an important tool for facilitating user access to large heterogeneous collections within digital library and hybrid information environments. Such metadata enables "information landscaping" techniques to be deployed, thereby allowing users to survey, discover and identify relevant collections. This can aid the precision of item-level queries by eliminating collections which may produce a significant number of false-drops or may contain no relevant items. The ability to provide suitable subject indexing and subject-based organization within such collection-level environments is an increasingly important user requirement, particularly for landscaping; yet it remains highly problematic owing to, for example, the broad subject coverage of many collections and the item-level nature of controlled vocabularies. In this paper we propose a methodology for the subject designation of collections using the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). The proposed approach allows the establishment of reliable, consistent and meaningful DDC class numbers to facilitate improved user browsing and searching tools within CLD systems. The methodology will be demonstrated using the Scottish Collections Network (SCONE) and alternative techniques to facilitate general subject analysis will also discussed.