Subject Access

How will Wych Park Branch’s collection be found?

We will be using a controlled vocabulary, Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), to ensure patrons discover the items in our collection. To sensitively and accurately represent the mental health issues in these works, we will be supplementing the LCSH with Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) thesaurus terms. MeSH, a controlled vocabulary from the National Library of Medicine, facilitates the indexing and search process for documents with medical and biomedical content[1]. As stated in the Medical Subject Heading Introduction, “Many synonyms, near-synonyms, and closely related concepts are included as entry terms to help users find the most relevant MeSH descriptor for the concept they are seeking. In NLM’s online databases, many terms entered by searchers are automatically mapped to MeSH descriptors to facilitate retrieval of relevant information”[2].

The combination of Library of Congress and Medical Subject Headings will allow users to type phrases in different levels of specificity into our catalog and retrieve appropriate results. By widening the range of available subject headings, we hope to provide a rich discovery experience of the books in the Representations of Mental Health in Comics collection[3].

Will everyone be able to access the collection?

Since the collection is designed as a community resource, we will not be restricting access to the books contained in it. Historically mental illness and issues of trauma have been considered taboo; we wish to provide a space of acceptance, inquiry, and learning for our patrons. However, we recognize that parents may take issue with the content of the Representations of Mental Health in Comics collection. In the Megalopolis Library system, parents and guardians may restrict their child’s library card from taking out certain materials (e.g. comic books, DVDs).

Will there be tagging?

At this moment in time, we do not plan to offer user-contributed tagging (folksonomy) as a feature in our catalog. As Michalis Gerolimos points out, the success of tagging depends on user willingness and frequency[3]. Since the Representations of Mental Health Collection features comics with sensitive issues–and in accordance with our limited staff resources–we have opted not to offer tagging at this time. However, we value our patrons’ opinions, so we will provide outlets for feedback. Patrons are invited to offer suggestions (titles to include, etc.) through a Comment Box featured in the collection room.

[1] U.S. National Library of Medicine (2013). “Preface.” Retrieved from

[2] Ibid.

[3] For more information on the collection’s organization, please refer to the Organization page.

[4] Gerolimos, M. (2013). Tagging For Libraries: A Review Of The Effectiveness Of Tagging Systems For Library Catalogs. Journal Of Library Metadata 13(1). Retrieved from

~ Created for LIS 501 ~


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