Envisioning the Black perspective: Formulating unique subject descriptors to index the "Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center"
Date of Award
Subject access to the Journal of the Interdenominational Center (JITC) is presently restricted due to the lack of an index that reflects the new and emerging vocabulary of the Theologies of Liberation from the Black perspective. The purpose of this research project, therefore, is to provide a thorough analysis of the system of categories engaged in the preparation of a subject approach to indexing the JITC. These categories include inquiry into the "Theologies of Liberation," "Indexing Principles," "Descriptors," and "Computer-Assisted Indexing." All of these parameters provide insight and impact the ultimate purpose of the study, i.e., to provide subject access to the JITC that is reflective of the emerging vocabulary of the Christian faith expressed in the Theologies of Liberation. Analysis of the Theologies of Liberation (Chapter II) from the Black perspective, along with other perspectives, indicates that these are new and major movements in systematic theology and demonstrates that the usual subject examination employed by the religious scholarly community to index this body of literature is inappropriate. These findings are also verified through an analysis of indexing principles (Chapter III) and descriptor formulation (Chapter IV). Current indexing principles support the utilization of an alternative or "hybrid" approach to subject indexing where controlled vocabulary and free-text techniques are combined. The traditional mode of subject access, on the other hand, has an inherent weakness: the inability to integrate "new and emerging concepts" to various contexts. As a result, traditional descriptors do not and, perhaps, cannot carry the "weight" of liberation themes and must be rejected or "infused" with new linguistic signification. The alternative techniques adopted with respect to Vol. XIV of the JITC, the "control variable," thus, observes the theoretical underpinnings of indexing construction and also determines the "backdrop" for identifying descriptors for subject access. Further, two aspects of optical media technology (image scanning and OCR) (Chapter V) impact the "control variable" in this research project. Scanning techniques produce textual data in digital form, and OCR enables data to be machine readable and searchable, using full-text retrieval software. Factors to be considered in utilizing optical media are cost, accuracy and size of file, indexing software (indexing software designed for word processing systems or stand alone indexing: programs) and computer awareness. Having completed the analysis of the system of categories necessary for producing subject access to the JITC, these findings are summarized in a concluding; chapter (Chapter VI) and applied directly to the "control variable" in the production of a subject index of Vol. XIV of the JITC (see Appendix). This analysis, thus, allows the "new vocabulary" developed in the investigation to come into prominence and suggests that the literature of the JITC may assist the liberation movement in constructing the nucleus of a new theological consensus.
Troutman, Joseph E, "Envisioning the Black perspective: Formulating unique subject descriptors to index the "Journal of the Interdenominational Theological Center"" (1992). ETD Collection for Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center. Paper AAI9707382.