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What tagging loses

Library of Congress Reference Librarian Thomas Mann has a long, detailed and fierce argument against the LC Working Group on the Future of BibliographicControl. He is quite specific about what will be lost to scholars with the Working Group’s more folksonomic approach.

Much of what I’ve read so far points to the huge amount of information contained in the existing LC Subject Headings and their cross references, and how well they can convey to a scholar a lay of the land she is researching. (I don’t know why we’d want to throw out the LCSH instead of supplementing them with yet more metadata.) I haven’t read the entire piece yet, but what I’ve seen is fascinating, learned and will, I hope, occasion a productive debate.

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