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Dissertation Information for Marcia J. Bates

- Marcia J. Bates
- (Alias) Marcia Jeanne Bates

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- University of California, Berkeley (USA) (1972)

- Raynard C. Swank

- William S. Cooper
- Victor Rosenberg
- William Paisley

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Factors Affecting Subject Catalog Search Success

Abstract: The main purpose of this study was to examine the effect of two variables on success in searching a subject catalog organized by the Library of Congress subject heading system. The variables were "subject familiarity", defined as prior familiarity with the subject area of the search, and "catalog familiarity"; defined as familiarity with the form and principles of organization of the subject cataloging system used in the catalog. The effects of these variables were tested with university students in a laboratory setting which reproduced a real search situation. Students of librarianship, psychology, and economics participated in the study. A student's search success was measured by the frequency of match between his term and the library's term for a subject. Catalog familiarity was found to have a very significant beneficial

effect on search matching success, and subject familiarity a slight, but not significance, detrimental effect. A sub study in which subject experts were interviewed indicated that the latter effect may come about because expertise in a field leads one to use search terms that are more accurate and specific than is possible with the LC system.

In a second substudy the patterns of match between the student's terms and the terms used by the library were analyzed. Rates of absolute success were much lower than those found in other studies because the methodology enabled the determination of the best term to look under
in a given situation. On the basis of scoring algorithm which gave students graduated credit for perfect and partial matches, the non-library students got only about 20 percent of the total possible success score on matching with the best heading, and 60 percent on matching with any existing heading.

The rule of specific entry was found to cause a great deal of trouble. Students failed to get the same specificity level as used by the library about half the time, and the library students, who knew and applied the rule, were handicapped by the fact that the Library of Congress fails to apply it fairly often, by using non-specific terms.

About a fifth of the non-library students failed frequently to abide by the rule of direct entry. Suffice and synonymy variation were found to be fairly minor causes of divergence between student and library term, between them accounting (as sole cause) for only about 10 percent of matching failures. Perfect matches, different subject choice, and mixed cases accounted for the rest. On the other hand, at least one word of the library-assigned heading (or a suffix variant thereof) appeared in about 70 percent of all student responses.

Student preferences with regard to subject/place order in headings showed no consistent pattern but preference for the natural, uninverted order in adjective-noun subject headings was overwhelming. See references from common current terms were very useful, but frequently the headings used had many obscure, out-dated see-from terms which were not used by a single person in the sample.

MPACT Scores for Marcia J. Bates

A = 6
C = 10
A+C = 16
T = 6
G = 1
W = 6
TD = 6
TA = 0
calculated 2012-07-28 14:42:30

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Students under Marcia J. Bates

- Judith Lechner - University of California, Los Angeles (1989)
- Mavis Molto - University of California, Los Angeles (1989)
- Dee Michel - University of California, Los Angeles (1992)
- Shaojun Lu - University of California, Los Angeles (1999)
- Francesca Marini - University of California, Los Angeles (2005)
- Diane Mizrachi - University of California, Los Angeles (2011)

- Karen Brounstein Levitan - University of Maryland (1976)
- Eileen G. Abels - University of California, Los Angeles (1984)
- Marilyn Slater - University of California, Los Angeles (1988)
- Jae Whoan Lee - University of California, Los Angeles (1992)
- Sandra Hirsh - University of California, Los Angeles (1996)
- Sara Layne - University of California, Los Angeles (1997)
- Melissa Gross - University of California, Los Angeles (1998)
- Matthew Saxton - University of California, Los Angeles (2000)
- Kalpana Shankar - University of California, Los Angeles (2002)
- Holly Ann Gardinier - University of California, Los Angeles (2004)