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Architecture and classification

Build the Open Shelves Classification

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Jul 16, 2008, 2:51am Top

I don't mean to stray away from the main task of creating a classification scheme but since we are going to build order on shelves and within buildings, perhaps we can explore how classification schemes can work with architecture. No, we're not going to be a Koolhaas wrapping Dewey along a spiral as he did with the Seattle Central Library. Let's see if we can come up with a shelf-order scheme that can be twisted to any shape to make more visible those aspects of a book (and other formats) that are most likely to help users find and discover the information they need. One thing to remember: the library as physical space is increasingly becoming a social center.

Jul 16, 2008, 11:00am Top

Holy cow. I have a hard enough time just following the fractured discussion threads here as it is. Would it be more feasible to focus on one or two main things at a time, and then branch off into sub-topics and ideas?

Jul 16, 2008, 12:22pm Top

You're right, pivy. I went back to Tim's summary proposal to see what we should focus on. I repeat his list here with my labels of those topics in capital letters. Would it go against the spirit of open design to discuss how we will explore these topics? How can these topics be effectively facilitated? I vaguely remember mention of a wiki for this project to better organize the discussions and ideas.

1. The OSC is for shelf order, not something more ambitious. PURPOSE

2. OSC should be composed of levels, separated by either "-" or ":" STRUCTURE / FORM

3. The system should be built on the assumption that libraries will pick how far to "go down" the levels, based on the collection size or whatever. GRANULARITY / FLEXIBILITY / LIBRARY DECISIONS

4. Each level can contain either letters or numbers. If letters, sorting will be alphabetical. If numbers, sorting will be numeric, not digit-by-digit. NOTATION SYMBOLS – SORTING

5. The top level should be fairly atomic, so that top-level categories correspond to real, concrete areas of interest, not abstract catch-all phrases for these areas. We want a section for medicine, for example, not for "life sciences." TOP LEVEL CATEGORIES

6. Whatever we do, the we should leave a lot of "space." So, for example, if the top level is to be alphabetic, let's use A, D, G and avoid the letters in between. ROOM FOR GROWTH / EXPANSION

7. Before the classification a library may choose to indicate a "place" facet, eg., DVD 12:1234:123, LOCALHIST 112:1234:123, BKMBILE 12:312:12 are all possible. NON-TOPICAL FACETS – LIBRARY DECISIONS

8. At the end of the topic-based part of the classification should come an indication of how to sort books within the topic—by author mostly. We can leave aside the question of whether this is dealt with by spelling out the name, in whole or in part, or whether to "cutter-ize" the name into a number. We can leave this aside because we don't need to solve it now and because, IMHO, this doesn't need to be solved globally—it's a data display issue, not a "real" data issue. SORTING WITHIN TOPICS

9. We should seriously consider the "patterns" of DDC. I proposed that all patterns be numeric and all other classification components be alphabetic. Or the reverse. I like this idea, but that's as far as I'll go there. PATTERNS – REPEATING FACETS

Dec 23, 2013, 7:22pm Top

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