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62nd IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 25-31, 1996

Section on Classification and Indexing

Donna Duncan

McGill University, Montréal, Canada


The work of the Section over the past year is described.


Review of Activities, 1995-1996


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 provide 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 Languages (SHLs)

The Working Group on Principles Underlying Subject Heading Languages (SHLs), chaired by Maria Inês Lopes (Instituto da Biblioteca Nacional e do Livro, Lisbon, Portugal), met during the Istanbul conference, reviewed the draft document and planned future action. The enhanced document now includes an introduction with general information, the text with the principles and an overview of and examples from nine systems and countries. A decision is still pending whether to include information on MeSH subject headings. An open discussion meeting will be held during the Beijing conference.

State of the Art Survey of Subject Heading Systems

Forty-four national libraries responded to the inquiry. Information has been received on whether they provide subject access to bibliographic records; how long they have provided such access; what subject access systems they use; and if application manuals exist for such systems. The future of this Project will be discussed during the Section's Standing Committee Meeting in Beijing.

Requirements for a Format for Classification Data

A final draft of the Requirements for a Format for Classification Data, based on the recommendations of the Joint Working Group on a Classification Format of the Section on Information Technology and the Section on Classification and Indexing's discussions in Istanbul and suggestions from the editor of UDC has been distributed to the Working Group for final comment. A subcommitte e of the Working Group, Maria Inês Lopes and Mirna Willer (National and University Library, Zagreb, Croatia), has been established to consider issues relating to UNIMARC. They will review the use of the existing MARC classification format (depending on the state of the MARC/UNIMARC conversion routines); prepare extensions to UNIMARC Authorities to accommodate classification data; and deve lop a UNIMARC classification format. A meeting will be held during the Beijing conference to discuss the Subcommittees's UNIMARC recommendations.

IFLA Evaluation of Professional Groups Questionnaire

In order to provide background information for the 1998-2001 Medium-Term Programme (MTP), a detailed questionnaire was completed on the achievements of the Section during the current 1992-1997 MTP. Information was provided on Section publications, projects completed and in progress, non-conference meetings, joint activities with other IFLA and non-IFLA groups, membership and conference info rmation.

Open Session Programme for the Beijing Conference

The following papers will be presented:


The Section is also jointly presenting two workshops. One, in conjunction with OCLC, Forest Press, on the "Dewey Decimal Classification: Edition 21 and International Perspectives." The other, in conjunction with the Section on Library Services to Multicultural Populations, on "Serving Multicultural Populations in the 21st Century: Universal Standardized Subject Headings - Pr esent Status and Future Prospects."

Section Newsletter

The Section continues to publish an annual Newsletter for Section members, for members of the Standing Committee, and for others interested in classification and indexing. The Newsletter provides a means of sharing information about differing national experiences and helps foster an international perspective on classification and indexing and subject heading systems.

Standing Committee Membership

The Standing Committee has seventeen members, representing fourteen countries. Members are: J. Beall (USA), P. Benedito Castelotte (Spain), D. Duncan (Canada), C. Freschard (France), F. Geißelmann (Germany), E. Grignani (Italy), M. Heiner-Freiling (Germany), E. Hjortsater (Norway), A.I. Király (Romania), J. Lankage (Sri Lanka), M.I. Lopes (Portugal), I.C. McIlwaine (UK), A. Normak (Estonia), G.J.A. Riesthuis (Netherlands), P. Soltani (Iran), E. Swanson (USA) and M.-M. Tomitch (France). The four corresponding members are: S. Artamonova (Russian Federation), M. Mika_i_ (Croatia), A.M. Monteiro Bettencourt (Brazil) and K.S. Raghavan (India). D. Duncan is the Chair/Financial Officer and J. Beall the Secretary.

Cooperative Projects

Donna Duncan (McGill University, Montreal, Canada) and Julianne Beall (Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.) attended a Co-Ordinating Board Meeting of the Division of Bibliographic Control and a International Standard Authority Data Number (ISADN) Meeting at the British Library, London, UK on May 2-3, 1996. The Section continues to cooperate with other IFLA Sections and Divisions on suc h activities as the Task Force on Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, the project for the revision of Names of Persons, the Requirements for a UNIMARC Format for Classification Data, the UDC Editorial Board and the planning committee for the 1997 International Conference on National Bibliographic Services.