The “Blue” (Subject Authority) Microfiche

By Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS)

Included with each January cumulation of microfiche is a set of microfiche with a blue header. This is the SUBJECT AUTHORITY MICROFICHE and is produced 4 times each year. It seems that many librarians do not fully understand the purpose of this microfiche and are therefore not gaining maximum benefit from its use.

What does it do?

The Subject Authority microfiche performs 3 vital tasks.

1. Firstly the microfiche provides a list of those subject headings which have been created and added to the database since the publication of the ASCIS Subject Headings List 2nd. edition. (1988).

2. The ASCIS Subject Headings List book is obviously not a complete list of all appropriate headings. It does try to compensate for this by providing scape notes (guidelines) on, if, how and when to create other headings. The subject authority Microfiche provided a list of those headings which have been created by cataloguing agencies based upon these scope notes.

For example: A search for the terms "Anorexia" or "Anorexia Nervosa" in the ASCIS Subject Headings List book will draw a blank, however, under the heading "DISEASES" there is a scope note which reads "See also names of diseases, e.g. CANCER; etc. This instruction suggests that Anorexia or Anorexia Nervosa (which are allowable terms as defined by the Macquarie Dictionary) may well be valid headings but there still remains the question as to which is the preferred term. The subject Authority Microfiche provides the answer. A search for the term "Anorexia" in the fiche reveals: Anorexia (X874-5) see ANOREXIA NERVOSA which indicates that although "Anorexia" is a tern a librarian might consider using. it is not the preferred term and therefore should not be used. Rather the librarian is referred to "Anorexia Nervosa" which is the SCIS authorised term. Similarly, a search for the term "Anorexia Nervosa" in the Subject authority Microfiche will reveal: ANOREXIA NERVOSA (X875-3) x Anorexia XXDISEASES which indicates that "Anorexia Nervosa" is a preferred term sine it is shown capitalized. This entry also suggests that an entry be placed in the catalogue to lead users from the non-preferred term "Anorexia" to the preferred term "Anorexia Nervosa". It also indicates that if the term "Diseases" appeared in the catalogue a cross reference could be created linking "Anorexia Nervosa" and "Diseases". e.g. DISEASES (X4745-7) see also ANOREXIA NERVOSA In other words, the Subject Authority Microfiche also serves to expand the. scope note in the ASCIS Subject Headings List which suggests the librarian should "See also names of diseases". Remember you will need to record the fact that you have used the above terms. This may be done either by marking your copy of the ASCIS Subject Headings List or by keeping a separate subject authority file on the cards etc.

3. The SCIS Subject Authority Microfiche also serves a third purpose. SCIS has anticipated the need for librarians to create cross-reference cards. The microfiche enable schools to obtain pre-printed set of cross-reference cards to place in their subject catalogue. These cards guide users from non-preferred terms to the SCIS pref erred term. For example, if you wanted a card which read: Anorexia (X874-5) see ANOREXIA NERVOSA you would simply write down, on the appropriate black and white "Subject Reference Order Form", the alpha-numeric code which you will notice is to the right of the word "Anorexia" in the subject Authority Microfiche. (ie X847-5) Similarly, if you wanted the card set to link other terms with "anorexia Nervosa": ANOREXIA NERVOSA xAnorexia XXDISEASES you would quote the alpha-numeric code, (X875-3), which appears to the right of "Anorexia Nervosa" in the Subject Authority Microfiche. It is most important that you only quote numbers from the most recent issue of the Subject Authority Microfiche when ordering cross-reference cards as these numbers change with each issue of the microfiche.

Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS)