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MACS

Multilingual Access to Subjects

The Swiss National Library (NL) is participating in a project launched in 1997 under the auspices of the Conference of European Librarians (CENL) by four national libraries: the Swiss National Library (currently leading the project), the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (DNB) and the British Library (BL).

The objective of this project is to develop a system that allows multilingual subject access to library catalogues using existing indexing languages. The project currently uses the following languages: RAMEAU for French, LCSH for English, and SWD for German. Multilingual searches are possible thanks to the equivalences established among the three indexing languages used in the four participating libraries.

From 1997 to 1999, the members of the MACS project undertook a feasibility study, which resulted in the development and validation of a methodology for the creation of concordances between headings. A prototype using a Web application was produced between 2000 and 2001 allowing the partner libraries to feed links into the database while enabling users to carry out multilingual searches. From 2002 to 2004 a link management database was established to create and manage links in a decentralized environment. In 2005, this database was officially validated and soon after the RAMEAU-LCSH links were loaded by the Bibliothèque nationale de France. In early 2008, the database was completely renewed by the loading of the full list of SWD by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, of the RAMEAU by the Bibliothèque nationale de France and of the LCSH headings by the Library of Congress. The loading of the LCSH was made possible by a special agreement with the Library of Congress. The lists are updated on a monthly basis.

From 2007 to 2011, the NL and the DNB created just over 63,000 SWD links with an equivalent in at least one other indexing language. The number of links established across the three indexing languages now represents a critical mass that will enable multilingual access in German, French and English.

The development of a search interface and the future and permanent management of the MACS approach are still under planning and analysis. At the beginning of 2011, the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL) mandated a working group to analyze these questions and make recommendations concerning the next stages of the project. Following their report, a work plan has been established to implement these. The integration of the MACS data into The European Library portal during 2012 has been identified as a priority. A beta version of the system including the MACS data is available since May 2012. Following up on a test phase and comments received, the European Library team will continue work on improving the integration of the MACS data and its use in searching, and will also work on its maintenance and expansion to include links in other languages.


Last updated on: 30.05.2012

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Swiss National Library
Subject indexing
Hallwylstrasse 15
3003 Bern
T +41 58 462 89 11
F +41 58 462 84 63
E E-Mail
Swiss National Library
Management Support
Patrice Landry
Hallwylstrasse 15
3003 Bern
T +41 58 464 06 25
F +41 58 462 84 63
E E-Mail

Further information



Swiss National Library NL
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http://www.nb.admin.ch/nb_professionnel/projektarbeit/00729/00733/index.html?lang=en