Re: proposal for subjects in subject tree

"Billy Barron, VAX/Unix Systems Manager" <BILLY@vaxb.acs.unt.edu> Tue, 01 December 1992 02:32 UTC

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From: "Billy Barron, VAX/Unix Systems Manager" <BILLY@vaxb.acs.unt.edu>
Subject: Re: proposal for subjects in subject tree
To: doelz@urz.unibas.ch
Cc: eurogopher@ebone.net, taxonomy@msu.edu, iafa@cc.mcgill.ca, jkrey@isi.edu, Ton.Verschuren@surfnet.nl, wombat@aarnet.edu.au, tony@info.anu.edu.au
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>The current fact is that the 'real' subject heavy gophers are maintained 
>by scientists, volunteers, to make a service available to their people.
>These scientists' expectations differ from what the librarians use to 
>provide. 
>
That is definitely true.  Also, the students expectations differ from what the
scientists and the librarians want.

>Well it seems to me that there is a huge misconception going on. 
>The librarians might know what Q223 means, I certainly don't. 
>
That has been one of my points in the past.  The only library classification
number I know is QA76 (Computer Science).

>If schemas get more complex,  I also would find 'Q' for Science to be rather
>broad, whereas the  apparent 223 subclassification lacks a certain intuitonal
>aspect. 
>
While gopher is heavy on the Sciences right now, that will change over time.  I
think Q for Science is fine.  The 223 does lack intuitive sense, but so will
almost any scheme developed.

>Additionally, there's always the sense between the  lines that we should avoid
>to have the librarians splitted from the information providers. If all
>negotiations end in the adoption of the librarian's view, I feel this to be
>insatisfactory. 
>
It really sounds like you are unwilling to cooperate here.  Many areas such as
Medicine have developed their own classification scheme as a profession and
libraries often use it, which I think is the way to go.  Don't know if such a 
thing is available for Biology.

>In Gopherspace we  currently have more than 20 biology-oriented gophers,
>including  more than 10000 items. To view the complexity, try 
>
>Name=Biology subject tree in Gopher
>
I sure hope this isn't what you are suggesting.  I do not consider that to be a
subject tree.  It's a list of Biology sites.

>Also, be realistic on which information to classify. Because of the 
>difficulty to maintain links (see your own gopher), it is out of scope 
>to have subitems classified at the oarticular gophers at a central place. 
>This ultimately results in the need to classify a GOPHER entry point, and 
>not the tree behind it. You certainly can put individual links into the 
>schema, but once the local giys change their offerings, you're done. 
>I am afraid that we cannot meet this challenge staff-wise. 
>
That's why some of us are applying for grants for this type of work so we can
afford this staff-wise and also compute-wise.

>If you are, then,  limited to registering (and classifying) gopher by entry
>point, we need  to average a gopher's content wrt classification. There's where
>I start  to see problems coming up.
>
If we are stuck with that, then let's throw up our hands now and give up
because those of us who have been doing this for a long while realize this
doesn't help information access much at all.....

>I'd like to know whether a more obvious classification scheme is around 
>in librarian's world than Q223 ... 
>
I think the more appropiate test is to have all the items like Science,
Biology, etc listed and use that for an obvious test and ignore the actual
numbers (Q223).

Billy Barron, VAX/UNIX Systems Manager, University of North Texas
billy@unt.edu, billy@untvax.bitnet, THENET: NTVAX::BILLY