Developing the Myanmar subject headings for the libraries

The Myanmar Library Association (MLA) is spearheading the “Developing Myanmar Subject Headings” project, an ambitious initiative aimed at enhancing the organization and accessibility of library collections in 2023. Subject headings are crucial in categorizing and retrieving information effectively within libraries. While standard subject headings, like those offered by Sears Subject Headings and Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), form a strong foundation, they may only sometimes capture the nuances and unique characteristics of Myanmar materials.

The project’s objectives are multifaceted, empowering individual libraries and their communities to create Myanmar subject headings that reflect their distinct collections and regional interests, thereby facilitating access to materials. Local subject headings offer a more granular and specific way to describe a library’s collection, providing users with accurate and detailed information about the content and enabling easier discovery of relevant materials. It is also intended to make the terminology of Myanmar/Local subject headings consistent.

The implementation of the project involves careful research, analysis, and collaboration. A dedicated team of over 25 librarians from different libraries works closely, leveraging their expertise and passion for a more prosperous and impactful endeavor that benefits both the libraries and their communities. A comprehensive list of relevant terms is then applied to each library’s catalog, streamlining the process of searching and discovering materials for patrons.

To create Myanmar subject headings, the project team follows several key steps:

Analyzing the collection and assigned subjects: The team examines the library’s collection to identify covered subject areas. This includes reviewing the classification scheme, studying books, periodicals, and other materials, and consulting subject specialists and library staff.

Developing Candidate Headings: Based on the collection and subject analysis, a list of candidate subject headings is compiled, reflecting the major subject areas covered by the collection. These headings strike a balance between specificity and broadness to distinguish the collection while encompassing a variety of materials.

Consulting Established Authorities: The team consults established subject heading authorities, such as Sears List of Subject Headings and Library of Congress Subject Headings, to ensure the Myanmar subject headings are to gain ideas for standardization.

Reviewing and Refining: After consultation, the candidate subject headings are reviewed and refined by the team, considering the relevance to the library’s collection, terms standardization, and patron usability.

Implementing the Headings: Once the Myanmar subject headings are finalized, they are integrated into the library’s cataloging system, and all staff members receive training to use the new headings effectively.
Regularly Reviewing and Updating: To ensure consistency and usability, it’s essential to periodically review and update the Myanmar subject headings to accommodate changes in the collections and also manual.

The call for participation is open to all librarians, inviting them to join hands for the “Developing Myanmar Subject Headings” project. By aligning with the library association’s mission to improve information access and services while reflecting and serving the diverse needs of local communities, this project positions libraries as indispensable hubs for information and cultural preservation within their respective regions.