In recent literature, authors have advocated the enhancement of subject access to individual works of fiction. Guidelines were developed and published by the Subcommittee on Subject Access to Individual Works of Fiction, Drama, etc. The OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., and the Library of Congress conducted pilot projects to study the implications of subject cataloging offiction. Researchers have indicated that while improved access to works of fiction, drama, etc., is desirable, the idea lacks practicality because of the apparent difficulty involved in applying topical headings to works that are not fact-based in nature. Adding to this difficulty is the fact that most fictional works lack indexes, abstracts, and tables of contents, which can aid the cataloger in applying appropriate headings. Exclusive use of dust jacket copy (or back-of-the-book copy for paperbacks) to form fiction subject headings is recommended. The purpose of this study is to determine whether enough information is included on the dust jacket (or the back cover) to provide adequate subject access in the four areas covered in the Guidelines: character, setting, genre or form, and topic.
It is possible to obtain some insights into searchers' judgments by using transaction log analysis to associate online catalog search methods with decisions to retrieve location information. The Mainframe Interface to Libraries Online (MILO) is an interface to the Illinois Library Computer Systems Office online union catalog for 45 academic libraries. MILO provides acceess to a bibliographic database and directly links to another database with circulation and location records. Because the latter database only provides location and circulation status, searchers' decisions to make links to such data are seen as an indication that the records being linked represent potentially useful material. Via a transaction log analysis, the linked location records were associated with the access points used to retrace them in order to analyze the value and problems of searchers' uses of specific access points. Transaction logs were analyzed for a 38-day sample of the 1994 logs. Counting records retrieved through the use of multiple access points (making the total greater than 100%), subject fields were used to access over 30% author fields to access over 19%, and title fields to access over 51% of all records linked to location information. Other fields were used to retr-ieve very small percentages of linked records.