Did you know . . .
that you can use FirstSearch to help you tag KB records so they are more searchable? The knowledge base feature offers you ways to classify records--using broad classification schemes ultimately helps the searcher to narrow an otherwise unwieldy search to manageable proportions. It can be a way to limit a search to the most appropriate material.
You can also assign keywords from FirstSearch in the Keyword field--we’ll talk about why and how you can effectively use this field in another tips session, but for this session, let’s treat the subject in terms of using FirstSearch to help make a record more searchable.
In WorldCat, a database in the FirstSearch base package, much of the cataloging of titles is available for the user to see. The cataloging elements are presented in a format the non-cataloger can understand, of course. One can usually see classification numbers for both the Library of Congress system and for the Dewey system. Since the KB currently offers tagging only in the LCC system, many QuestionPoint libraries opt to not use this feature at all—many of our users don’t use LCC in their libraries so they may not feel proficient in using it; or they may not want to spend the extra time it takes to root around in an unfamiliar system, looking for the right class to assign.
But rather than let an opportunity to improve searching odds slip by, here is a way to make classification easy for the non-cataloger. If the answering librarian has mentioned a book or a periodical title in the answer, you can look up that title in WorldCat in FS, check the class number assigned when it was cataloged, and assign the first two letters of the number to the KB record, using the drop-down menu supplied for that purpose. Even if a specific title wasn’t suggested in the answer, you can try searching WorldCat for keywords that describe the Q&A’s subject, open up a likely looking title in the results list, and see how that was classified when cataloged.
Likewise, take a look at the subject headings that were assigned to cataloged items. This is an easy way to assign keywords in the KB Keyword field to simulate controlled vocabulary indexing. Or they can be used as a kind of thesaurus, so the Keyword field can hold terms other than those that actually appear in the question and answer text fields. The Keyword field is also indexed, so anything that appears in it is searchable by end users of the knowledge base. This is another way to not only help increase the searching odds, but to also limit a search to the most precise results.
Following are a series of screen images illustrating how one QuestionPoint librarian tagged a newly submitted Q&A, activated it as a new KB record, and searched it the following day. First she logged into FirstSearch and searched WorldCat for one of the titles the answering librarian cited. When she opens that title from the FS results list, she sees the LC Subject Headings that were assigned, and she sees the title was assigned the LC Class number E98.A84. When she uses the link for “Add/Edit Subject,” she finds E75-99 in the drop-down menu. That’s all the deeper in the classification hierarchy she can go, so she selects that, adds and saves it, and returns to the record she’s editing.
She also notes the controlled vocabulary (LC Subject Headings, or LCSH) that was assigned to describe the title, and selects the most likely one to put in the Keyword field.
Look how she was able to very precisely pinpoint that record the next day by searching.
All members of the 24/7 Cooperative have access to WorldCat via FirstSearch. If your library is not a member of the Cooperative and does not subscribe to FirstSearch, you can still use WorldCat.org to see the subject headings that have been assigned to titles. In WorldCat.org you can also search by subject.
If you have any questions about how to search QuestionPoint knowledge bases, or if you would like to become an editor of the Global Knowledge Base, please contact Paula Rumbaugh at email@example.com.