Monday 21 October 2013

Help, I need lessons in classification and indexing again!

Good news, I have now started posting on the new website. 

I have had some instruction from Christoph, our web designer, and it seems fairly straightforward. People post all the time don’t they? However, I want this website to look well-structured and with some standards – I was a librarian after all – so I have to decide on main subject headings (parent categories), subordinate headings (sub-categories), and indexing entries (tags). We will be including text, images and audio files of extracts from our oral history recordings, so all these need to be incorporated into the structure. 

My original list of main subject headings was far too long, so between us we cut it down to a manageable six and it seemed to work until I listened again to one of the recorded extracts, the topics of which could have been put under several main entry points! I was getting frustrated at this point but fortunately my team and Sarah and Julie, the ladies from the University of Hertfordshire, came to the rescue.

Sarah and Julie held another workshop for us at UH. I had sent Sarah my headings and given her the link to the website to have a look. The group discussed these and now we have come up with a definitive set: Places (buildings streets etc.), Spaces (green areas including the river, plus leisure pursuits), Industry (including rural industries and occupations), People and Timeline (medieval through the centuries, pre-war, post-war etc.). We also have a general oral history heading (can’t think of a better name) which is intended to cover the transcriptions in more detail. More in depth indexing is required here. I had better do a list of tags, so that I don’t put up too many variations, and make a decision on where to use upper and lower case.

Workshop at UH on Tuesday, 15th October 2013
Workshop at UH on Tuesday, 15th October 2013
Good entry points and indexing should mean that information will accessible and so benefit researchers as well as those with a general interest in the Sopwell area. I am encountering many dilemmas which remind me of cataloguing and classification training at library school! IT for Nurses springs to mind! IT or Nursing, Nursing or IT? So, where do I put the main entry for Sopwell Mill farm - under Industry, Places or Spaces? Where should footpaths go, Places or Spaces? I think I should have paid more attention.

You will have to wait a bit before the website goes live I am afraid, but I am sure it will be worth the wait.

Sandy Norman

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