Automation first – the subject cataloguing policy of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek

JUNGER, Ulrike (2018) Automation first – the subject cataloguing policy of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2018 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Transform Libraries, Transform Societies in Session 115 - Subject Analysis and Access.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Automation first – the subject cataloguing policy of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek

In 2006, the legal mandate of the German National Library (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek/DNB) was expanded to digital publications. It soon became clear that the traditional cataloguing process could not be applied to deal with the vast amount of digital publications collected. In 2010 it was therefore decided to re-use metadata provided by the publishers to create basic catalogue records. Since subject data are often not provided, the DNB also in 2010 started a project to develop methods of automated assignment of subject headings and DDC-based subject categories. These automated procedures are now routinely used to assign subject access points to digital publications. In 2017 the DNB took the next step and devised a new policy for classifying and indexing all of its collections. The principal goal is to create subject access points using automated procedures as principal method, also for printed material. Intellectual subject cataloguing should in the future only be done when automated procedures yield no or qualitatively insufficient results. In this context DNB also decided to discontinue the regular application of the Dewey Decimal Classification including number building. Instead, a system of short DDC notations is designed with the intention to automated assignment. The current state of the implementation of this policy and the results so far achieved are described as well as the methods and outcomes of the automated procedures. The challenges coming along with this approach include the necessity of developing new tools for updating the subject authority file, quality issues and a transformation of workflows.

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