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A Note From The Fresh Air Archives Team

If you’ve ever found yourself asking a coworker what the “official” term for the sex industry is, you might be creating metadata. The answer is “sex-oriented businesses,” by the way, and the 2010 Terry Gross interview with memoirist and former dominatrix Melissa Febos was the question’s inspiration. Using authoritative terms for topics, places and personal names will help ensure that future users of the archive can distinguish segments about free jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman (official heading “Coleman, Ornette”) from those about his son (official heading “Coleman, Ornette Denado”).

So, where do we find the official headings? The Fresh Air Archives team relies on OCLC’s FAST (Faceted Application of Subject Terminology) schema and the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF), based on the Library of Congress Subject headings. Take a look. Their records are far-reaching and often hyper-specific. A few terms we’ve used recently include “Infants switched at birth,” “sexual behavior in animals” and “Cooking (Onions).”

The Fresh Air Archives has also been working with Drexel University to have culturally-significant people–like journalists, actors and film directors–added to the Library of Congress authorities. That includes Fresh Air executive producer Danny Miller. Frequent guest host Dave Davies – not to be confused with The Kinks’ lead guitarist of the same name, who now has his own Library of Congress heading, too.

- Niki & Alex, Fresh Air Archives Team