Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What my reference librarian found this morning

So this morning I come walking into the library, coffee in one hand, prepared to walk right back to my desk and commence the wonderful and magical work of fixing something in the ILS. The reference librarian on duty (and in fact, the head reference librarian) yells at me. Yes, she yelled. Yes, I went over and said "Ma'am, we are in a LIBRARY." We both laugh.
Anyway, she directs my attention to this subject heading, and asks "what the heck is this? It's just a number. And there's a whole bunch of them."

651 $7 $a7.150.$2gtt

Yeah. There it was. The dreaded $2gtt marking on that 651. "Gemeenschappelijke Trefwoordenthe-saurus (GTT)" (Joint Subject Headings Thesaurus). In other words: the Dutch.

I'll admit it: I badmouth the GTT like nobody's business. Mostly because I find it to be horrible. What kind of subject heading is "History"? I know that you catalogers out there are with me. It's ridiculous. This is the Dutch National System, not Jan's World of Paperbacks. Surely they can do better? I mean, this is the country that built the dykes, that produced the Dutch Masters, held England and Spain at bay while they built one of the greatest international corporations in the world. Subject headings should be a breeze, am I right?
Anyway, this was a new one, but I wasn't surprised. A number for a subject heading? Why not? Why not just move on to pictograms, GTT?

But really, I am just poking fun at what is really a system that is not designed to be the LCSH. Yes, I made a joke of it to the reference librarian, but at least now when she sees something like that, she will know from whence it came. If you, gentle reader, are interested in knowing more about the GTT, which is really just an index of very general terms and not like the LCSH in either form or function, there's a good article here.

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"Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness." —Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril.