LC’s “Super Secret Decoder Ring” and the Indigenous Law Portal

Tina Gheen, Emerging Technologies Librarian at the Library of Congress, blogged about the Indigenous Law Portal introduced as part of the “A Dialog for Catalogers and Reference Librarians: Class K from Alpha to Omega” program at the recent American Association of Law Libraries annual meeting in San Antonio. Gheen, Jennifer Gonzalez, and Jolande Goldberg spoke about this new online resource “created to make tribal law more accessible and findable by providing a comprehensive listing of tribes, tribal websites, and online primary source materials.”

The Portal uses the structure of the new Library of Congress Classification (LCC) schedule the Law of the Indigenous Peoples in the Americas (Classes KIA-KIP: North America). In her post Gheen breaks down the LCC classification number and explains how the inherent structure can be used to organize access to resources in a portal like this one. Understanding how the LCC classifcation numbers are composed provides what Gheen calls the “equivalent of super-secret classification decoder rings” that enables effective content browsing of online resources.

The Indigenous Law Portal has been released in beta and is therefore still very much a work in progress. They have so far focussed on tribal laws within the U.S. and are planning next to add resources for aboriginal peoples of Canada.

It’s interesting too to think of this approach in terms of using library classification as a means to browse content in a linked data environment. This is something that my colleague, Sarah Sutherland, and I are currently exploring with our project on the linked data application of the KF Modified classification.

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