Tuesday, September 27, 2016

An Oral History of Bourbon Whiskey (the Library of Congress Subject Heading)

Controlled vocabularies are the blood coursing through the veins of professional cataloging and archival description.  The Library of Congress Subject Headings is the authority.   While staff were processing interviews from the Kentucky Bourbon Tales Oral History Project, the University of Kentucky Libraries Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History discovered a major problem - no LOC Subject Heading for Bourbon whiskey!  Catalogers and metadata specialists around the world were forced to use the ambiguous and misleading term "Whiskey" to describe something that was declared by US Congress in 1964 to be an indigenous product of the United States.  All Bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is Bourbon. This video reveals the Nunn Center's epic journey to give Bourbon whiskey its rightful place in the LOC Subject Headings.