Vocabulary standards are important, this we know. This is true regardless of the subject matter – be it medical coding or liquor. This interesting topic came to us from Digitalomnium in their article, ‘Bourbon Whiskey, Controlled Vocabularies, and Library of Congress Subject Headings.”

A few years ago one of our staff wrote a comprehensive feature regarding whiskey. Straight bourbon whiskey is the most strictly defined and regulated of the whiskeys – although, contrary to common beliefs, it need not be made in Kentucky. It must, however, be produced in the United States from spring water; the mash (mixture of grains) must comprise at least 51% corn (the rest being barley, wheat, and rye); it must be aged no less than 24 months in new charred American white oak barrels; and of course it must not contain any additives. (For the record, rye is identical to bourbon with the very important exception that it must contain no less than 51% rye.)

When I read this article and watched the brief video documenting their journey to have bourbon whiskey established as a Library of Congress Subject Heading, I was reminded of the variety of vocabulary terms used in this industry and the importance of establishing those standards.

Melody K. Smith

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