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Monday, March 3, 2008

Why can't I get a list of Opposing Viewpoints Subject Headings?

It started as a curiosity, now it is a persistent question, will it go further? This is the correspondence between me and Gale Group Database's ContentQA person.

From: Thomas, Brian
Sent: Mon 2/25/2008 11:59 AM
To: 'Gale ContentQA'
Subject: Question about Opposing Viewpoints subject headings


I'm working with an English teacher who is going to assign an argumentative essay to her AP students. I would like to give her a list of topics that are in the Opposing Viewpoints database, but I don't want to be limited to the popular topics that are listed on the front page. Is there a way to get the complete list of subject headings and subdivisions?

I'm sorry; I don't have a complete list off hand, but I've sent a note to the database manager to see if she is able to provide one.

I'll get back with you as soon as possible.

I'm sorry for the delay. I received a note from the Content Manager who suggested that you may want to take a look at the title list:
Since there are tens of thousands of topics and subtopics in OVRC; a complete list would mean printing off thousands of pages. So, the Product Manager suggested that you may want to search the publication guide after all. Just key in a topic and you'll see all the related topics and subtopics---there are a lot.
Please note that there are more than 2.7 million articles in OVRC.
I apologize that we don't have anything more concrete.

Have a wonderful week!!
Hi Jodi,

Thanks for getting back to me; I didn't think it was delayed at all! I actually have looked at the title list which is some help, but I was looking for a little more granularity. I realize that the database is enormous, but there must be a manageable list of topics that the people who catalog the articles under topics have to deal with. If a list of topics, subtopics, and sub-subtopics is too long, can I at least get a list of the most generalized topics? Also, I don't need a printed list, I would be happy with a .txt file; even if it is tens of thousands of topics, it should still be manageable. Can you tell me if they are the same as the Library of Congress subject headings or maybe the Sears List of Subject Headings?

Thanks Jodi, I know this may be an unusual request, but I am particularly interested not only for this project, but I am also taking Library and Information Science classes at SJSU and we are learning about databases. The OVRC is an excellent model to study!

Thanks again!


PS- if it is easier, I can contact the content manager directly via email.
Hi Jodi,

I'm forwarding this to you, because I sent it last week and I'm not sure if you received it. I am most interested in getting a response to this email, even if it is just to answer my questions.

Thank you,

Brian Thomas
Library Media Specialist
Saint Mary's College High School

Anybody have any experience getting the subject headings of databases? They always seem buried or nonexistent which seems strange to me because I find them to be the most useful part of a database!

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