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Oct 4, 2023
Franklin County (MA) News Archive
The Franklin County Publication Archive Index

Revising the LCSH links

Based on correspondence from users over the past 7 years, and personal experience inputting 32,000 discrete articles, I have updated the original list of subject headings to incorporate terms that will help users utilize the indexing of the site. The list of altered or enhanced subject headings appears below. The new added terms appear in red:

 African Americans / Blacks - In the book “Racial and ethnic diversity in academic libraries” by Deborah A. Curry et al., the authors discuss Sanford Berman, a “rogue cataloger” if you will, who became extremely dissatisfied with the Library of Congress and their U.S.-centric bias when creating subject headings, which were increasingly being utilized globally. I quote:

 “In the early seventies Sanford Berman (among others) attempted to move the Library of Congress toward updating subject headings to keep pace with terminology, most notably in the ethnic and racial areas. Certainly the change from NEGROES was a start,  but it was still confusing to patrons, as LC used AFRO-AMERICANS to refer to Black Americans, and BLACKS to refer to Blacks who resided outside of America. So we are still frustrated, having to continually explain this to our patrons”.

 When I began my indexing, choosing 1870 as my start date, I knew there would be articles referring to post-slavery (the Civil War had ended only 5 years before) and also to the very small percentage of Black residents in Franklin County, but I didn’t envision many articles about Blacks outside of the area. I gradually saw the error in my thinking, but was limited to only one subject heading, and so, European and African Blacks made their way into the African - American subject heading. By adding Blacks to the heading, I can more accurately reflect what types of articles reside there.

 Animals / Reptiles / Amphibians - I began with the general heading of Animals, as well as a heading for Horses, one for Fishes and Fishing, and one for Insects. Over time I began to see various articles about turtles, snakes, frogs and even dinosaurs! Thus the added subject terms reflect what is already contained within the Animal file. (The ubiquitousness of horses during this time period, their duplicative listing under Animals, and their implied presence in Transportation articles (stagecoaches, wagon pullers, etc.), are issues for further revision in the future).

 Arabs is a relatively recent heading (dating from 2006) and so merits a word or two here. During the Victorian era, there was a fascination with all things Middle Eastern - and that included Palestine and Syria as well as Turkey. Missionaries frequently left Greenfield and Franklin County for more exotic climes, and when they came back they gave talks and showed photographs of their trips. I realize that Arabs is an extremely broad heading, but I really needed a place to keep those articles about whirling dervishes!

Architecture / Construction - Architecture started out as a catch-all for anything having to do with household design. I soon became aware that what I was REALLY interested in was a tag for the actual building of a house - and of course, the realization that construction went on almost daily - especially of bridges, train tracks, dams - and the subject heading Work was much too broad to encompass these terms. A combination of the two terms was needed, and I think managed successfully with this dual heading.

Astronomy / Sun, Moon & Stars - Astronomy turned out to be a confusing term, especially when what I REALLY wanted to discuss were balloon ascensions, moonlight dances, unusual astrological happenings. Thus, a cosmic revamping of tags ;-) .

Barber / Hair - A natural progression, I think. Barbers were a daily part of existence for that percentage of male town dwellers who liked to maintain a nice mustache or beard along with a good haircut. But where in my equation did women figure? Their hair styles were frequently mentioned, as well as wigs and ‘rats’ and other hirsute embellishments. Barber and Hair manages to cover both sexes.

Chinese (and China) - Bringing this subject heading into alignment with the others.

Cutlery / Silverware - This started off as Cutlery Trade, and indeed, in 1870, the John Russell Manufacturing Co. had just moved its entire operations to Turners Falls, so there were lots of references to the trade itself. Lo and behold, news articles soon began to appear about wedding anniversary parties, retirement parties, etc., where nice pieces of silverware were presented to the folks being feted. Trade and everyday usage are now both captured by these terms.

 Dreams / Sleep - A few articles emerged in the beginning of this project about certain prophetic dreams that folks were having and reporting. Sleep, however, is much more of an umbrella phrase. Most articles dealt with the day to day activity of sleeping and being awakened - even sleep-walking! A natural combination, I think.

 Drug abuse - I would like to combine this term with Drunkenness at a future date (maybe some kind of Substance Abuse heading). From what I hear from Michael, there’s quite a bit of work involved with combining subject headings, and a lot of one-on-one revision to individual articles.

 Economics / Money - Economics broad enough for you? I had to add Money here.

 Fairs / Festivals - They have both in abundance. Usually Fairs covers the annual events that places like Charlemont and Greenfield have annually. Festivals is a term more commonly used for the church events that seem to be held on a weekly basis.

 Farmers & Farming / Flowers - This is a horrible mash-up, and all because I thought at the start of the project that there wouldn’t be enough mention of flowers to warrant an individual subject heading. I was SO wrong. These people talk about flowers all the time! As a stopgap measure I added Flowers to Farming - you know, crops grow, flowers grow - a really weak premise. Slated for radical separation in the future.

 French (and France) - Bringing this heading into alignment with English (and England).

 Germans (and Germany) - Ditto.

 Glass / Windows / Bottles - Possibly still confusing. Windows are mentioned frequently, but not whether Glass is contained in the window or not. Bottles are mentioned enough to warrant a specific subject heading. Now spectacles - I usually give them Glass and Eye. Telescopes? You decide!

 Hampshire / Hampden Counties - My main focus is on FRANKLIN county. But that doesn’t stop the fact that there is a weekly section in the Gazette & Courier entitled HAMPSHIRE COUNTY items. Separate articles discuss events in HAMPDEN COUNTY. I think both Counties can co-exist under one combined subject heading.

 Hungarians (and Hungary) - Conforming with similar headings.

 Irish (and Ireland), Italians (and Italy), Japanese (and Japan) - More tag alignments.

 Jewelry / Gold / Silver / Treasure - All things valuable great and small. I never would have thought that articles would emerge about gold being discovered in Florida, MA or New Hampshire, or that Franklin County adventurers would embark on junkets to the West with picks in hand. A separation in the future is in store for these items: perhaps the “precious metals” could inhabit one subject heading, timepieces could have a separate heading (they currently reside under Jewelry), and Treasure could be combined somehow with Archaeology.

 Jokes / Humor - These terms are like kissing cousins - they belong together.

 Literature / Webpages - One of the new things I have tried to do with the site this time around is to NOT link to a specific URL, but to refer the reader to a website like Wikipedia or the New York Times Online Archive to find the complete text of the article mentioned, or more information about a particular topic. In order to have all these referrals in one place, I chose to combine them with the term Literature.

Lost and Found - The LC Subject Heading was LOST AND FOUND items. I felt the need to broaden this topic, and so, dropped the last word.

 Masculinity / Machismo / Misogyny - Oh, so alliterative and yet so related! I couldn’t resist.

 Medical Personnel / Hospitals - Not as much of a no-brainer as you would think. Considering that Franklin County has nothing resembling a hospital at this time - the closest thing to a hospital is Northampton’s Asylum for the Insane - and doctors are out there all alone with their trusty horse and carriage - the temptation was to add Hospitals to Insanity instead. The jury is still out on this one.

 Polish (and Poland) - These terms replace one of the two non-LC subject headings I used at the beginning of this project - Polish Community - at the request of a particular faculty member. The Polish influx into the area won’t begin for another 20 to 30 years, and when it does, it will be better served by the terms Polish and Poland.

 Pottery / Crockery / Dishes - Crockery is used the most frequently, with Dishes a close second. Pottery is almost never used - only when referring to archaeological digs - but it remains here since it was an original subject heading, and it will take some effort to change individual articles.

 Rivers / Lakes / Oceans - Bodies of water are discussed quite frequently. I could add ponds, streams. puddles - you name it. A further complication of this subject heading is the fact that an early term - Water - somehow “evaporated” when the site was reorganized in 2006. It was only reincorporated a few days ago. Interim assignments pertaining to the water that Greenfield receives from the Glen were input under Rivers and will need to be re-entered under Water sometime in the future. Likewise all the times drinking water is mentioned and I simply entered them under Beverages.

Russians (and Russia) - Keeping headings in line with the others.

 Sports / Exercise - Exercise was added, though it’s one of those “read between the lines” terms. That is, I know what they are doing is Exercise, but THEY never call it that!

 Telegraphs / Telephones - Here’s a case when I am being a bit anticipatory. Telephones aren’t invented until 1876, and I am still in August 1875!

Trees / Wood - It is impossible to underestimate the importance of Wood back in the pre-plastic 1870s. Not including it in my original list of subject headings was a great oversight.

Urbanization / Cities - Hindsight is 20 / 20. I never should have used Urbanization instead of Cities. The country mouse forgot about her city cousins!

Vital Statistics / Statistics - Many Statistics just aren’t that Vital. Type and learn. 

War / Weaponry - It’s funny how the biases of the indexer are revealed sooner or later. I personally did not want to index the Civil War era; I figured that there was already a bumper crop of historians who had already uncovered and transcribed the vast majority of pertinent articles. So I chose to begin indexing in 1870. What I didn’t consider then was that the War was still a vital part of Franklin County’s mens’ lives. They had clubs and reunions, commemorative statues and reminiscences. Here’s also a time when I underestimated how many times Weapons were discussed - guns, knives, etc. Like my faux pas with Flowers, I attached items about Weapons to War. Shouldn’t have done it, and they should be separated, but it will have to be at a future date, with a lot of back indexing to redo, 











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