Subject Analysis and Subject Representation


Dates: July 6 - August 2

Credits: 1.5 CEUs or 15 PDHs

This course focuses on the analysis of the intellectual content of information resources/objects and the representation of content in information retrieval systems, specifically library systems.

Topic Area:

Course Information



1.5 CEUs or 15 PDHs

Registration dates

We accept registrations through the first week of classes, unless enrollment is full, and unless the class was canceled before it started due to low enrollment.

Course Description

This course focuses on the analysis of the intellectual content of information resources/objects and the representation of content in information retrieval systems, specifically library systems. The analysis of intellectual content has long been a traditional mechanization for retrieval of and access to information resources in libraries. Representing the content of information resources involves a number of critical ideas and distinctions that the cataloger must contend with if the process of resource subject representation is to be done with any efficiency and wisdom. This course will explore the core of that process. This involves exploring the idea of content, including the idea of a subject, and the corresponding possibilities of how to indicate or express that content. We can call the overall process subject analysis but simply saying that it centers on determining the “subject” (or “subjects”) of a resource has to be expanded. As a widely accepted activity, it has gained a variety of names—for example, subject indexing, document analysis, and subject heading determination.

This course will also address how to do the activity of subject analysis by expanding on how to perform the critical first steps of subject analysis—the cataloger has to first extract, or determine, the actual basis of these representations from the depths of the resource itself before turning to any kind of subject authority list or classification code.

Course Objectives and Goals

By the end of the course students will:

  • Define subject analysis of information resources; including discussion of fundamental concepts surrounding subject content usage, issues of specificity, depth of indexing (exhaustivity, summarization, form, genre, audience, etc.);
  • Discuss goals of subject analysis; difficulties of subject analysis
  • Discuss persons, corporate bodies, objects, events, as subject access points and the relationships between subject access points in a catalog system
  • Discuss users tasks for subject access as outlined in Library Reference Model (LRM)

This is an asynchronous course with built-in course materials and series of weekly assignments. Some course materials may be recorded.

This course can be taken as one of eight courses needed to earn our Certificate in Cataloging and Technical Services, but can be taken as a stand-alone course as well.

Robin Fay

Robin Fay is a Cataloging/Metadata Librarian and Trainer who has worked with academic, public, community college libraries and multistate consortias on cataloging and metadata projects, among those are the Orbis Cascade Alliance, the University System of Georgia, and SkillsCommon. Robin is both a practitioner with over 10 years of cataloging and a trainer. She is a frequent guest on WREK’s Lost in the Stacks discussing metadata and semantic web topics. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia; a MLIS from the University of South Carolina; certificates in Project Management (University of Georgia), and a Yellow Belt in Six Sigma (a quality and processes control standard). Her book Semantic Web Technologies and Social Searching for Librarians was published in 2012.

How to Register

To enroll yourself or other participants in a class, use the “Register” button that follows the description of each course. If the “Register” button does not show up, try loading the page in a different web browser. Contact us if you have technical difficulties using our shopping cart system or would like to pay for an enrollment using another method. On the payment page in the shopping cart system, there is a place to add notes, such as the names and email addresses of participants you wish to enroll. We will contact you to request this information in response to your processed payment if you do not include it in the “notes” field. Prior to the start of the workshop, we will send participants their login instructions.

Payment Info

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Alternatively, if it is an institutional payment, we can arrange to invoice you. Contact us by email, and we can make arrangements to suit your institution's business processes.

Special Session

Please contact us to arrange a special session of this class for a group of seven or more, with a negotiable discount, or to be notified when it is next scheduled.


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