The rapid growth of digital
resources has created a need for subject-access methods capable of
handling large volumes of resources with less effort and lower cost
than traditional subject cataloging. In 1999 both OCLC and the Library
of Congress began exploring new approaches to information organization.
As a result, the two organizations agreed to jointly develop, maintain,
and test the FAST
(Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) schema. After more than
ten years of collaborative effort, the initial development of FAST is
FAST was specifically designed for use by people with minimal
cataloging or indexing experience. It consists of a faceted controlled
vocabulary built on the terminology and relationships already
established in LCSH, but structured with a simplified syntax and
applied with different policies and procedures that are more inclined
towards post-coordination. There are eight distinct facets: Personal
Names, Corporate Names, Events, Uniform Titles, Chronological, Topical,
Geographic, and Form/Genre. FAST is documented in FAST: Faceted
Application of Subject Terminology: Principles and Applications
published by Libraries Unlimited in July 2010.
The FAST authority file contains about 1.65 million authority
records. It is provided via a user interface and as an experimental
linked data service (http://id.worldcat.org/fast/).
data, FAST headings that support both human and machine
access are available, as are downloadable versions of the dataset.
Users may download the entire FAST file including all eight facets or
choose to download individual facets. The FAST datasets are made
available under the Open Data Commons Attribution (ODC-By) license.
OCLC is committed to making FAST freely and publically accessible.
Several services are available online which provide access to
the FAST authority file or support the application of FAST. searchFAST
is a new and enhanced search engine and interface for accessing FAST
authority records. mapFAST
is a mashup with Google Maps that uses FAST geographic authority
records as a different way to provide access to bibliographic records. FAST
Converter was introduced to add FAST headings to
bibliographic records with LCSH headings or convert a set of LCSH
headings into FAST headings.
FAST was specifically designed to meet the requirements of the
digital environment and to be useable by non-professionals. It is being
used in a variety of new applications where it has shown to be a
practical and cost effective. The FAST team continues to explore
collaborative effects to improve the service. OCLC is committed to
working with the community to further enhance FAST and to explore new
O'Neill is a Senior Research Scientist