During the May 2021, Core eForum, ‘We Faceted our Seatbelts, Now What? Advocacy for Implementing Faceted Vocabularies in Public Facing Interfaces,’ we hoped to open a wide discussion on implementing faceted vocabs, perceptions of how those headings should be used or displayed, and what making use of these vocabularies can accomplish for institutions and collections metadata. There were some, albeit unintentional, thematic developments over the course of the 2 days, and we hope this report offers some glimpses of that development.
For instance, we posed the question of whether inclusion of faceted terminology was perceived as duplication of LCSH terms present in the display for a resource’s metadata. Many feel there is duplication, and many are simply open to considering the topic. One interesting thing is that even though the term may look the same to the user, that the term coming from a faceted vocabulary is actually different. But that is part of the fascinating debate that takes place over terms and their usage in metadata. Also, one of the most significant faceted vocabularies in use today is FAST, which is derived from LCSH, there are details and aspects in the progress being worked out, as the conversation exhibited.
In light of the conversation over ‘duplication’ of terms on display, the question was posed whether those terms viewed as ‘duplicates’ should be deleted? There were different experiences with FAST, say, represented in the conversation, but one person said that at a previous job, the catalogers there were trained to delete all FAST terms that came in with records. Yet, there were responses that said these terms are not deleted by default at their institution, but that there is a distinction between MARC and non-MARC cataloging as well as what collections are being represented by the intentional inclusion and use of a faceted vocabulary in discovery – specifically in MARC to Dublin Core converted metadata and in RDF-based metadata, as well as mention of using the FAST converter on metadata that did not originally have FAST. These are just examples of where the conversation went about when, how, and where to use faceted vocabs.
Assuming one’s local metadata policies and procedures permit use or accepting faceted terms in metadata to display, one question was posed whether the local discovery layer poses problems of display of faceted vocabularies. There was a reply to this question that this person’s local discovery tool did not allow much granularity in controlling subject display, in that it was all or nothing, allowing no nuance or granularity in exposing subjects. As the discussion continued, however, someone added the notion to the chat about whether we could have facet ‘glut,’ or whatever, finding the ‘correct’ balance of how many subjects to be seen in discovery and how many facets to enable for patron use.
We felt the overall discussion was slower than previous e-Forums, so some questions were asked that really did not get many, if any, responses. One of those was how to actually engage in advocacy for faceted vocabulary in discovery interfaces. Another such question was about testing to see how users may use the facets that are available. These were very interesting questions indeed, but did not get much discussion traction.
We are all aware that 2020-2021 have been challenging and distracting years, and doing online conferences and online work from home has been a situation indeed.
– Kurt Hanselman, Jesse Lambertson, and Nerissa Lindsey, e-forum moderators
Core e-Forums are two-day, moderated, electronic discussion forums that provide an opportunity for librarians and library professionals to discuss matters of interest on an email discussion list. These discussions are free of charge and available to anyone who wishes to subscribe to the email list.