The subject cataloging of monographs with the use of keywords

Snunith Shoham, Rochelle Kedar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The overall objective of this study was to examine the implementation of a different approach to the expression of the subject content of monographs in the cataloging record, i.e., the use of a post-coordinate, thesaurus of keywords, using inter-indexer consistency testing and in-depth analysis of mistakes in indexing. A sample of 50 non-fiction monographs was subject cataloged by 16 library science students (non-experienced indexers) using the new Hebrew Thesaurus of Indexing Terms (1996). The 800 indexing records of the non-experienced indexers were compared to the “correct indexing records” (prepared by a panel of three experienced indexers). Indexing consistency was measured using two different formulas used in previous inter-indexer studies. A medium level of inter-indexer consistency was found. In the analysis of mistakes, it was found that the most frequent mistake was the assignment of indexing terms to minor subject matter (i.e., subjects that were less than 20% of the content of the book). Among possible explanations offered for these finding are: sparseness of scope notes in the thesaurus, the priority given by Israeli public libraries to Hebrew language materials in the development of their non-fiction collection, and the size of the output of the Israeli publishing industry of non-fiction materials in Hebrew. The results of the consistency tests and the mistakes analysis were also examined in light of several factors: (1) the number of indexing terms assigned; (2) the length of the monographs (number of pages); and (3) subject area of each monograph. The same examinations were carried out for the subject cataloging records prepared by the Israeli Center for Libraries (ICL) for these monographs. [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: <> Website: <>

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-54
Number of pages26
JournalCataloging and Classification Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 17 Jul 2002


  • Inter-indexer consistency
  • Subject cataloging
  • Thesauri


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