New subject


July 6, 2022

The Nuovo soggettario is the system created by the National Central Library of Florence (BNCF) which in Italy has the institutional task of curating and developing indexing tools by subject, by virtue of its role as a national book archive and bibliographic agency producing Bibliography. Italian national team (BNI). It can be used in libraries, archives, media libraries, documentation centers and other cultural heritage institutes to index resources of various kinds (texts, images, sounds, websites, etc.) on various supports (analog, digital); it consists of a multi-component system, of which the main ones are: a set of syntactic and semantic rules (published in the relative Guide) aimed at processing subject headings; the multidisciplinary Thesaurus in Italian containing the terminology that can be used in indexing and, during the research phase, by users of online catalogs and other databases. The thesaurus of the Nuovo soggettario is available in open formats with a view to linked data.


The objective of the New subject is to propose a method of indexing by subject consistent with the indications of the international standards on the subject. He renewed the subject book for the catalogs of Italian libraries, published by the BNCF in 1956 and used for many years by most Italian libraries.


The project for the development of the New Subject Book was started by Antonia Ida Fontana, director of the National Central Library of Florence from 1996 to 2010, and was supported from the outset by the Ministry of Culture (MiC) and the Central Institute for the single catalog of Italian libraries and bibliographic information (ICCU). It was born from the conviction that the Subject Book 1956 was by now an aged tool and that it needed a profound revision, also in light of the developments that, in this area, have produced theories, international standards, conceptual models and indexing systems of other countries. The main stages through which the project of the new subject-book was developed are the following: 2000-2002: Feasibility study on the renewal of the Subject Bank by a team of external consultants, coordinated by Luigi Crocetti and coming from the experience of the Research Group on Subject Indexing (GRIS) The Firm analyzed and defined principles, characteristics and requirements of the new indexing language, producing a set of recommendations to be developed in stages in a short and medium term plan. 2003-2005: Verification of the hypotheses identified for the new language, with an experimentation on specific "bibliographic cases"; start of the prototype phase and technological choices; drafting of syntactic and semantic rules; preparation of the Thesarus prototype on-line. 2007: Publication of the volume Nuovo soggettario. Guide to the Italian system of indexing by subject Thesaurus prototype, containing the rules (syntactic and semantic) and the search interface for the user of the online Thesaurus. 2007: Thesaurus published online as a subscription service, with six-monthly updates. Beginning of the use of the New Subject by the Italian National Bibliography and start of the development and terminological increase of the Thesaurus. 2008: Beginning of use of the New Subject Book by other Italian libraries. 2010: Free access to the on-line Thesaurus and to the Application Manual to aid indexers, periodically updated. 2010: Prototype of translation of the metadata format of the Thesaurus into the SKOS / RDF standard also with a view to linked data and start of interoperability with other knowledge organization systems available online. 2011: Beginning of interoperability with equivalents i