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I'm currently setting up a virtual shelf browse app for our library based on call numbers, and I have a question about subject headings and call numbers. Not all items have call numbers, but for the metadata that I'm working with all of them have subject headings.

Now that I think about it this might be a two part question:

  1. How could I generate call numbers from subject headings for the items that don't have call numbers? Has anyone done this before?
  2. For items with multiple subject headings, which heading do I choose?

asked Jan 24 '12 at 19:37

user's gravatar image

user ♦♦

I'm not aware of any direct APIs which associate LCSH with LCC. Classification web does provide LCC suggestions for some LCSH, which are based on LCCs which have been applied to the same subject headings in the http://catalog.loc.gov/ . I suppose you could try to automate a LCSH search of the LoC catalog and then accept the LCC which comes back the most frequently in the results?

For items with multiple subject headings, choose the first subject heading listed. Per cataloging rules, the 1st heading is supposed to be the one which best exemplifies the content of the work and/or which is covered by most of the work (i.e. more than 2/3rds of the work is on this topic).

Hope that helps.


answered Jan 25 '12 at 15:30

Laura's gravatar image


Thanks for the info about the first subject heading.

MPOW doesn't have classification web. I did some digging around the LoC website and found http://id.loc.gov, and saw that they had call numbers for subject headings. Might check that out... but for now, I think I got this under control.

(Jan 25 '12 at 20:47) user ♦♦

You might want to check out http://classify.oclc.org/classify2/, where you can get multiple call numbers per item, if you need a call number other than LCC, like Dewey.

I concur with Laura about the first subject heading comment.


answered Jan 25 '12 at 21:19

yo_bj's gravatar image

yo_bj ♦♦

One caution - be careful of the first subject heading rule if your system sorts marc numerically. I've worked in systems that automatically sort into 600,610, 650, 651 order regardless of the order chosen by the cataloguer


answered Feb 06 '12 at 19:49

ahitchens's gravatar image


You could also see if the bib record already has a call numbers in it and use those. I know at MPOW we will sometimes use the call number that came in the copy.


answered Jan 27 '12 at 11:35

jen_young's gravatar image


You can also access OCLC's Classify service through MarcEdit. But like with the direct API, you have to have some sort of identifying number (OCLC system#, ISBN) to search on. The service returns the most common call number for that title, for either/both Dewey and Library of Congress. You can have it compute the cutter for the call number as well (the cutter is based on the main entry).


answered Feb 06 '12 at 11:53

slmcdanold's gravatar image


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Asked: Jan 24 '12 at 19:37

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Last updated: Feb 06 '12 at 19:49

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