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Build the Open Shelves Classification

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1timspalding
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 2:21pm Top

Okay, what are your thoughts?

PLEASE SEE MESSAGE 227 BEFORE COMPLAINING. THE CATEGORIES WE ARE TALKING ABOUT NOW ARE NOT THE ONES WE WERE TALKING ABOUT BEFORE

2timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 4:27am Top

See Princess Spider: True Experiences from a Dominatrix (http://www.librarything.com/work/1234697)

The distinction between "Biography and Autobiography" and "Memoir" is not maintainable or sensible. It really should go.

I'd call this book Sexuality. But there's no Sexuality category. There should be, I think.

3koffieyahoo
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 7:47am Top

Interesting game. Played with it for a while and although it's obvious how to classify most works, I'm pretty clueless about some. Also in some cases I would like to give more than one classification.

I think I should give some examples:

* The Way of the Samurai: a commentary by Mishima on a Japanese Military work which has quite deep implications on the Japanese mind. Should I classify this as "Philosophy" or as "Military"? The question same for the military work, which is called the Hagakure.

* A Mah Jong Handbook: "Games" or "Sports and Recreation"?

* Godel, Escher, Bach: "Philosophy", "Mathematics", "Computers", "Science"?

* What about theoretical books in computer science, should those be classified as "Computers", "Science", or maybe sometimes even as "Mathematics"? Example where I have a choice between the first two: Distributed Algorithms.

* The Penguin Book of Curious and Interesting Puzzles: "Games", "Sports and Recreation", "Mathematics"?

Then a small glitch: If there is a book description present, the brown-ish "Open Shelves Classification" bar is too short in FF3/Linux (see e.g. the puzzle book mentioned above).

4timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 4:46am Top

It's a good question what result we want. It's not good enough to have a system that's certain—we could achieve certainty by flattening it out to "fiction" and "non-fiction" or "books with primarily red covers" and "the rest." So, what sorts of classification failures are we looking to avoid? I think the autobiography/memoir issue is clearly one such--it's just not defensible.

The hope is that something like the Mah Jong problem can be ironed out at the second level. Still, you'd hope to split that out at the first level, if possible.

> Interesting game

Oh, it's a game to you, is it?! :)

5koffieyahoo
Jan 20, 2009, 4:49am Top

> Oh, it's a game to you, is it?! :)

Ok, new addiction :-)

6bookel
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 5:04am Top

What do you choose if the book's main focus is on animals that are not pets? I guess tamed wild animals would be 'pets'?

How would you classify this book? It isn't exactly pets. Film and television? It is based on the Walt Disney production? I would have thought Animals would have been better than just Pets.

7timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 4:53am Top

Reading Lolita in Tehran is a biography/memoir victim, with religion and history thrown in for good measure. It's clearly memoir or, I think, "memoir/biography/autobiography." I might separate memoir/autobiography from biography. Meh. Unsure.

8timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 5:00am Top

We need a "government" section or at least a "politics." Putting everything under "political science" is very cramping. Are Ann Coulter books "political science"?

9r.orrison
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 5:04am Top

Does all fiction go under "Fiction and Poetry", regardless of the subject of the fiction?

What about non-fictional poetry? Is The Cataract of Lodore "Fiction and Poetry" or "Geology"? Oh, there isn't a Geology - "Science" certainly doesn't seem right.

Edited to add: there's already a thread on this subject: http://www.librarything.com/topic/55508

10timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 5:05am Top

I think that poems about science are primarily wanted as poetry, not as science. That might not have been true for Nicander, but it's true today. You don't head into a poetry book to learn about science per se.

>Does all fiction go under "Fiction and Poetry", regardless of the subject of the fiction?

Yes, I think. The big fault line is graphic novels, as I see it.

11timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 5:07am Top

I think fiction and poetry should be split. People generally want one or the other. You don't browse indifferent to the form. And anything that splits that monster up on the first level is a good idea as far as I'm concerned.

12TimSharrock
Jan 20, 2009, 5:08am Top

One I have disagreed with the majority is Asterix and the Cauldron where I went for Fiction rather than the majority Comics. I will be interested to see if there is a regional difference in this classification, I am from the UK, and to me "comics" feels like short items (eg the Beano) rather than continuous stories - but webcomics does not have the same implications for me, so it may be time-shift rather than geography

13koffieyahoo
Jan 20, 2009, 5:09am Top

Technical remark: If I classified a work leave the work page and then come back I can't see anymore how I've classified the work without doing the classification again.

14bookel
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 5:12am Top

...and how do you classify a book like Dog Showing for Beginners?

That's confusing. What's the difference between Memoir and Autobiography/Biography? I know autobiog. is written by the person who the book is about. Biog. is written by someone about someone else. What exactly is a memoir?

15timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 5:11am Top

>14 bookel:

Pets, I think. It's about things you can do with pets--in this case waste your life on them, I think.

16Scorbet
Jan 20, 2009, 5:12am Top

How about books like the Tain or the Vinland Sagas? Do they count as "fiction and poetry", "history" (perhaps travel for the latter!) or should there be a mythology section?

I'm not that fond of the comics split either, unless it refers solely to things like the Far Side rather than graphic novels in general.

17bookel
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 5:34am Top

Well, I don't show dogs. I wondered if it was sports and recreation.

Some are definitely hard to categorize. If a story is about a relationship between two people but isn't to do with the family, does it go in Family and Relationships?

18tcarter
Jan 20, 2009, 5:15am Top

I'm also a bit confused where to put something like Reginald Perrin. It is both fiction and humour. I think humour should be a sub category of fiction - and I'd probably split poetry out for good measure.

19bookel
Jan 20, 2009, 5:16am Top

As an example of a fiction book not being about a pet, but a wild animal: The Last Otter. How would it be classified? Will there be further levels after level one? Hopefully this will be easier than Dewey...

20timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 5:17am Top

>16 Scorbet:

I think public libraries want to split out graphic novels. And, in fairness, bookstores do it too. I don't think your browse indifferent to whether your storytelling is in prose or drawing. I'd make a clear line between them—with everything comics, graphic novels or manga separated out from fiction. Then I'd put it next to fiction. And on the other side, memoir...

21timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 5:18am Top

> Will there be further levels after level one?

Yes, absolutely. Some of the problems here will be solved by this. It's hard to come up with perfect terms that are so short.

22TimSharrock
Jan 20, 2009, 5:20am Top

>20 timspalding:

I don't disagree, but to me calling that broader classification "comics" feels like replacing the "fiction" category with "Short Stories" but without changing what should be put in it

23timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 5:22am Top

24Scorbet
Jan 20, 2009, 5:34am Top

>20 timspalding:

Granted. I think I'm inclined to jump to edge cases immediately though.Something like Persepolis for example, belongs more in memoir, than comics.

25tcarter
Jan 20, 2009, 5:38am Top

I'm beginning to wonder if "fiction" is a useful classification at all. If we are looking for a *subject* classification system then does it matter, at this level, whether the subject is addressed in a novel, or an academic treatise. For example, consider War and Peace. It is (mostly) a novel, and therefore maybe it ought to go in fiction. But if you want to know about the history of the time then it's an important book to read.

I feel like we are comparing apples and oranges. Fiction is not a subject, it is a mode of addressing a subject.

On a technical note about seeing whether classifications are working it would be really useful to have the option of saying that a book fits into two (or more) categories, with perhaps a weighting system.

26bookel
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 5:58am Top

Before I go doing something wrong (or have I already?) is this "Fiction and Poetry" category including all fiction books, other than poetry? Argh. Because I just put a heap of fiction books about pets in the Pets category. Or... are all those categories including fiction too?

Maybe I'll go do something safe like biographies/autobiographies.

27andyl
Jan 20, 2009, 6:17am Top

#3

On the Mah Jong Handbook presumably that would be games if the games category is there to capture board/card/table/role games. If one was to put Mah Jong books in to the "Sports And Recreation" category surely Chess and Bridge ought to be treated similarly (both have world federations which have been granted Recognized International Sports Federations status by the IOC). Also the first World Mind Sports Games was held in China last year which added Go, Draughts and Xiangqi (but strangely no Shogi a game equal to Xiangqi and western Chess in my mind). Those five are part of the IMSA (International Mind Sports Assocation). There is another older organisation The Mind Sports Organisation which has been organising 'olympiads' for far longer and are far more permissive as to which games belong.

To my mind it is all too much of a slippery slope and games should include all board/card/table/role games.

28reading_fox
Jan 20, 2009, 6:20am Top

Children's books?

In the same sense that all fiction is one heading, I'd put all childrens' as another, and YA as a third - because that's how a lot of libraries and book shops organise things.
Top Level: Adult, YA, children
2nd Fiction or Non
3rd: subject categories.

But I realise there 's already been huge amounts of thought on this and I'm just passing through attracted byt he blogpost.

29klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 6:22am Top

So, Norton Critical Editions, Fiction or Literary Criticism? The latest one I'm reading has more pages devoted to the critical essays than the fiction piece ...

30andyl
Jan 20, 2009, 6:26am Top

Ditto for whoever said Atlases. Atlas, maps and A-Z street guides all don't fit at the moment.

What about Advanced 6502 Interfacing. Quite an old book but described easy electronic projects to add to your home computer. At the time (early 80s) these were filed with the rest of the computer books but really are more about electronic projects which may fit more under "technology and engineering".

31ErlendSkjelten
Jan 20, 2009, 6:30am Top

Slightly confused about the comics category now... Does non-fiction about comics and fiction in comic form go in the same category?

32andyl
Jan 20, 2009, 6:55am Top

Another one I am unclear on The CAMRA National Inventory : Pub Interiors Of Outstanding Historic Interest : Britain's True Heritage Pubs by CAMRA. It has aspects of architecture, aspects of "Home and house" but of course applied to public houses not home furnishing, aspects of social history.

33andyl
Jan 20, 2009, 7:05am Top

Sorry, me again.

Where should books about Mythology, Legends and Fairy Tales go? I cannot see a category which really fits.

34Scorbet
Jan 20, 2009, 7:14am Top

How about historical biographies?

In my mind a book about someone's life is a biograpy, whether it's the Alexiad or Victoria Beckham but I know from searching in bookshops that they often seem to put the historical ones into history.

35PhileasHannay
Jan 20, 2009, 7:18am Top

1:

A few observations, after a couple of hours of classifying.

I didn't know what to do with the following kinds of books:
a) books of maps,
b) books about libraries,
c) books that in my opinion are not about what they purport to be (i.e. books making false -- but not paranormal -- claims),
d) books about design

I'd suggest the following modifications to the top-level categories:

Change "Art" to "Art and design" -- then 1000 chairs has somewhere more obvious to go.

Change Paranormal to Controversial Knowledge (a category I've seen in some libraries), of which Paranormal could then be a sub-category. Then something like The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail doesn't have to be categorised as History.

Add an 'Information Theory' category, which could include books about libraries.

Change 'Cooking' to 'Food and cooking'. I came across a few books about food that weren't what I would think of as 'Cooking' -- which to me suggests recipes -- but seemed to belong with the cookbooks.

36andejons
Jan 20, 2009, 7:19am Top

I've had troubles with several of my books, from some different areas. The two first I expect will be straightened out with subcategories, but the last does not seem as easy.
*Military history: which of the two categories should it go under? I've put it under either, mostly depending on my own view of the book.
*Rhetorics: at least three possible, but none that I think really fits.
*Books about myths: I've put mine under "Religion", but I think "religion and mythology" would be better.
*Essays. I put Montaigne under "philosophy", but I have other books which I've no idea where they should go.

37klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 7:31am Top

andejons, I've been putting Myths under Fiction but I wasn't 100% happy with that. I don't see them as allying themselves well with Religion either, I'm afraid.

I hate the Literary Collections - don't really know what I'd put their because anthologies for me go under Fiction/Poetry and I don't know what else they would represent. If Fiction & Poetry is not going to be subdivided then anthologies of fictious writing belongs there. So, what exactly is 'Literary Collections', am I missing it?

God, how did True Crime survive?

Also, I'm not happy putting medical textbooks under science but this classification is forcing that issue because they're not Health and Fitness.

38andyl
Jan 20, 2009, 7:35am Top

#37

But not all the books are the actual retelling of the myths themselves. Where would you put a non-fiction book about myths or legends or fairy tales?

39abbottthomas
Jan 20, 2009, 7:40am Top

Ho, hum - something else to keep me at my desk!

Agree strongly with #11 - separating fiction and poetry.

Problems with "Health and Fitness" - I've got a lot of medical books, some of which are clearly "Science", some maybe could go in "H & F". Certainly I would put Snake Oil in H&F but what about The Man who thought his Wife was a Hat ?

40klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 7:41am Top

I've put some specific books about fairy tales under literary criticism - haven't encountered any about myths or legends yet to make a decision on. Like I said, not entirely happy with the distinctions, but not liking the religion link either. It's not so easy, is it?

I'm also finding that Autobiography/Biography and Memoir are overlapping in some cases, often depending on how you perceive a particular work ....

41klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 7:42am Top

Where do graphic novels go - comics? Meh! Fiction, meh!

42Scorbet
Jan 20, 2009, 7:44am Top

>41 klarusu:

See message 20 in this thread!

43klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 7:44am Top

Sorry, me again, what about collections of letters (don't seem to fit under Bio/History/Memoir ....)?

44klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 7:47am Top

#42 Saw that but it's not there yet ... unless I read it wrong. I've been flagging them as 'unclear' at the moment ...

45bookel
Jan 20, 2009, 7:49am Top

What exactly is a memoir?!? One online definition:

mem·oir
PRONUNCIATION: mmwär, -wôr
NOUN: 1. An account of the personal experiences of an author. 2. An autobiography. Often used in the plural. 3. A biography or biographical sketch. 4. A report, especially on a scientific or scholarly topic. 5. memoirs The report of the proceedings of a learned society.

So if it is an autobiography or biography too, then I am confused.

46klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 7:52am Top

#45 Personally, I think 'Memoir' is a redundant category ....

47abbottthomas
Jan 20, 2009, 7:58am Top

>45 bookel: My feeling is that an autobiography is a 'life' in the same way as a biography is. Memoirs seem more likely to describe a particular part of life - schooldays, war service, etc - and may focus more on the situation than the individual, who may be very much the observer.

I don't think it's a very helpful distinction ;-)

48Scorbet
Jan 20, 2009, 7:58am Top

>45 bookel:

In my head, there is a subtle difference between autobiography and memoir, wikipedia has a similar view

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memoir

I think though for these purposes they should be combined.

49beatlemoon
Jan 20, 2009, 8:00am Top

>40 klarusu: (and others)

I've always understood fairy tales/folklore/mythology to go into social science. Most classification systems use this approach. I always liked it, myself; I felt it allowed for the cultural/historical approaches as well as the fictional nature of the tales themselves.

50klarusu
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 8:05am Top

#49 I can see your point to a degree but coming from a literary background I've always studied them as literature so I wouldn't feel comfortable putting them under Social Science ... toughie.

Another one, I'm bringing up some music CDs, but I'm unhappy at classifying them under Music - I would argue that they deserve their own top-level spot but that's just me ....

51andyl
Jan 20, 2009, 8:25am Top

Natural history books such as Food for Free or Field Guide to Mushrooms and Toadstools seem to be poorly catered for. I chose unclear for them.

I presume that someone is going to do a report of the unclears and decide whether they fit a category or whether new categories need creating.

52klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 8:26am Top

In addition to the problems with letters, I'm also having problems with diaries which again don't really fit under (Auto)Bio or Memoirs.

53koffieyahoo
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 8:30am Top

AndrewB made my day by classifying one of the Harry Potters as "Paranormal" :-)

54klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 8:27am Top

Natural history books such as Food for Free or Field Guide to Mushrooms and Toadstools seem to be poorly catered for. I chose unclear for them.

Same here, also bird/insect/flower/tree identification books (which I would class as neither hobbies nor science).

55klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 8:27am Top

#53, that made me smile too!

56andejons
Jan 20, 2009, 8:29am Top

Well, my reasoning for putting religion and mythology together is that I can't see any clear distinction between for example "Greek myths" and "Greek religion". Separating the stories from the studies of them seems feasible and useful, but then the category names needs to make this separation clear.

57Aerrin99
Jan 20, 2009, 8:31am Top

This is going to be very, very addicting...

58bookel
Jan 20, 2009, 8:31am Top

Plant/animal identification is studied in university under a science degree (zoology/biology), so I'd put it under science.

It seems splitting memoir from autobiography/biography is too specific for a top level. I'd be inclined to incorporate them. The definitions seem too specific for layman's terms, for the average person to know the difference. And there may be some overlaps.

59Aerrin99
Jan 20, 2009, 8:50am Top

> 34 How about historical biographies?

In my mind a book about someone's life is a biograpy, whether it's the Alexiad or Victoria Beckham but I know from searching in bookshops that they often seem to put the historical ones into history.


I popped over to ask the exact same question, although I feel the opposite (I am certain this is due to my historian-mindset!). If I'm looking for information on a historical time period or figure, I want it in history - regardless of whether I'm learning about the Jacobite Risings or just the life of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

60klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 9:00am Top

Plant/animal identification is studied in university under a science degree (zoology/biology), so I'd put it under science.

Not at the level of ID guides such as popular bird books or mushroom ID guides - I'm a Life Sciences person and I certainly wouldn't classify basic ID guides under science ....

61tcarter
Jan 20, 2009, 9:03am Top

Is the "Film and Television" classification needed?

I can see a few problems with it:

Firstly, both Schama's History of Britain and Fawlty Towers were originally TV scripts, but I would want the first in History and the Second in Humour.

Secondly, what would be done about books that spin off from TV series or films but were not ever actually themselves filmed? For an example there are many more Star Wars and Star Trek novels that were never filmed.

62bookel
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 9:12am Top

I'm thinking under film and TV, unless it goes under fiction... seems this system is raising more questions than anything!

Ah okay. Plant ID guides would probably be found in the gardening section in a library (at least I seem to recall that was the case when I was in high school). Animal ID guides like for identifying birds would probably be found under Animals in non-fiction, if there was a general Animals category. :/ I still think Pets is too specific for a top level category.

63klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 9:07am Top

For me it is needed, but that's a personal opinion. I've been classifying books about film and television in there - haven't come across any scripts yet though. But I would put Schama's book under history and Fawlty Towers scripts under Film & TV (again, that's just me). I've put film theory, film history, books about specific film and film guides under Film & TV ....

64klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 9:08am Top

I still think Pets is too specific for a top level category.

I agree!

65Scorbet
Jan 20, 2009, 9:11am Top

> 59

My particular problem is that at least the bookshops/libraries I frequent seem to have cut-offs between "historical biographies that get put into history" and "historical biographies that get put into biography" that I can't figure out. Marie-Antoinette is under biography, while Napoleon is under history.

If there is a clear cut-off I wouldn't mind it so much.

66maryanntherese
Jan 20, 2009, 9:12am Top

I'm confused as to when to use "Biography / Autobiography" v. "Memoir."

67klarusu
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 9:15am Top

Oh the irony, I'm finding it hard to catalogue books on cataloguing ....

Felt I needed to shout that!

68markbarnes
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 9:18am Top

I'm not sure how good this top-level is, so glad for testing. To give one example The Visual Display of Quantitative Information is currently classified by three users as Art, Mathematics, Science.

Is the data captured going to be made public? I guess what's interesting at this stage is the standard deviation on answers, and how many times people click on unclear.

Edit: To me this shows the necessity of keeping top-level categories to a low number. The classifcation shouldn't present you with three choices that could all fit. It should guide you down a clear path.

69Aerrin99
Jan 20, 2009, 9:19am Top

> 65
If there is a clear cut-off I wouldn't mind it so much.


I agree - although Napolean vs. Marie-Antoinette seems a weird sort of cut-off to have.

I admit that to my mind, biography as a /genre/ (rather than as simply a form of book) tends to be more contemporary. The problem with that, of course, is that 'contemporary' is ever-changing and hard to define.

Do we put anything 20th century or newer in biography? 1950s or newer? What about those works that cross the date lines?

And of course, there are always going to be people who value a book because it's a biography and not because it's history, and vice versa.

70hailelib
Jan 20, 2009, 9:33am Top

Are we going to eventually allow dual classifications of some books? I occasionally do this at school because I know that some people will look in one place and others will look in another, very different, place for a particular book.

71eromsted
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 9:40am Top

Where does archaeology go? Social Science? What about anthropology and geography?

Also what about politics books that are not political science but journalism or commentary?

edited to add

Also, what about genealogy? Family and relationships? Seems wrong.

72andyl
Jan 20, 2009, 9:42am Top

I've been putting anthropology and ethnography in Social Science.

73TimSharrock
Jan 20, 2009, 9:43am Top

>68 markbarnes:
I have just added engineering (sorry... but that is how I think of it, it is engineering with numbers rather than with steel or silicon)

74klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 9:45am Top

Also what about politics books that are not political science but journalism or commentary?
Having the same problem ...

75abbottthomas
Jan 20, 2009, 9:47am Top

Re History vs. Biography - If the work is about the life of a person who had a significant effect on the history of their nation, that to me is History (e.g. El Cid). If it's about some bloke who happened to live a long time ago then Biography. I know that's fuzzy and I admit that I would include Shakespeare and Mozart in the "some bloke" category. Also social historians might balk at that distinction.

76Tatarana
Jan 20, 2009, 10:06am Top

I've just started trying to catalogue my books, and got a little confused with Antiques and Collectibles classification.

Since the classification is done at the work, and not the single edition page, it seems to me that I can't classificate some of the old books as Antiques, since someone else may have a modern edition.

77Scorbet
Jan 20, 2009, 10:10am Top

> 76

I assumed that meant that the book was about antiques and collectibles rather than being an antique itself.

78jjwilson61
Jan 20, 2009, 10:27am Top

My first impression is that there are too many top-level categories. For each book I end up having to scan the list for several minutes trying to remember the categories that were the closest match and then when I get to the end decide among those. I think it would be better if there were at most 5 or 6 top-level categories that were clear allowing you to quickly drill down to the next level.

Alternatively, you could attempt to group the categories you have instead of listing them alphabetically.

79vaneska
Jan 20, 2009, 10:28am Top

Not all books on food/drink are about cooking; but all books on cooking are about food/ drink. Therefore I don't think 'cooking' works on this top level.

v

80jjwilson61
Jan 20, 2009, 10:30am Top

76> I'd say that this is a classification system for the subjects of the books, not the books themselves.

81DaynaRT
Jan 20, 2009, 10:30am Top

82jjwilson61
Jan 20, 2009, 10:35am Top

And to weigh in on some of the other controversies.

I don't think that comics or graphic novels should be separated out. I'd want to find them in a library with the other humor or history or biography or whatever they were about.

About the people trying to classify CDs or DVDs, I think we should ignore those if they come up on random book, right? This classification is for books only? Are there any libraries that would put CDs and DVDs on the shelves commingled with the books?

83klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 10:38am Top

I think we should ignore those if they come up on random book, right?
Agreed - I haven't come across any more since I posted earlier ...

84aqualectrix
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 10:45am Top

For the purposes of this experimental cataloging we're doing, it seems like it would be more helpful for analysis if marking "Unclear" also gave us some option to say which categories we are wavering between.

This might be a better way to gather information about category confusion, rather than for me to come into this topic every time I find a graphic novel and post "I'm not sure if this belongs in Comics or Fiction", or to post about satires of fairy tales "This seems like it should go in Humor, or possibly Fiction, or maybe some Myth/Folk/Fairytales section that does not exist", or the very common "Autobiography or Memoir?" issue.

Just as the talking-it-out feedback in this thread is good and irreplaceable, better data from the actual process could bring out issues that people didn't feel the need to post about -- but are still confusing.

85upstairsgirl
Jan 20, 2009, 10:53am Top

This is addictive! I started with my own singletons, but it turns out that a lot of them are yearbooks, class reports and similar stuff - where should these go?

Also, I'm surprised to discover there's no obvious answer for maps, atlases, and books about geography or topography. I know a couple people have mentioned this, and I didn't see an answer in the thread here, but I apologize if I missed it.

86Topper
Jan 20, 2009, 11:03am Top

Can I have a clarification? Is this primarily a shelf-arrangement scheme rather than an intellectual scheme? If so, we ought to focus on shelf browsability rather than abstract qualities. A fictional work about a cat that solves mysteries is "about pets" in an abstract sense, but if you put it in the Pet section you're missing your primary audience.

My major quibble is lumping Fiction with Poetry while splitting Drama. But even that wouldn't make so much difference if Fiction > Poetry > Drama are sequential on the shelf. No one would really care what the top level is at that point.

87comfypants
Jan 20, 2009, 11:23am Top

You really need to clearly define the categories somewhere. With so many categories and potentially thousands of different people to interpret them, clicking that box at the bottom of the work page is more like multiple-choice tagging. After trying a few books, almost every one of them fit perfectly well into at least three categories, so I didn't see the point of bothering to click any of them without knowing what they were supposed to mean.

88Topper
Jan 20, 2009, 11:25am Top

89comfypants
Jan 20, 2009, 11:26am Top

Also, arranging topics alphabetically is a major headache.

90eromsted
Jan 20, 2009, 11:34am Top

>87 comfypants:
I suspect that people in this group spent a long time debating these categories, and you could really debate them forever. The current step seems to be saying, "Enough with the debate. Here's some categories. Let's see what people do with them."

If that's the general idea then whatever you decide is reasonable is fine, and if you can't decide, choose "unclear."

91Topper
Jan 20, 2009, 11:56am Top

>90 eromsted:

Understood. Just if the consensus had a reason for splitting "comics" from "humor" then it would be nice to have quick access to that rationale. Because "comic" means a lot of things to a lot of people and it would be nice to know what the scope is intended to be.

92andyl
Jan 20, 2009, 12:09pm Top

#91

But comics are also things like Spiderman, Superman, Batman and even modern graphic novels such as V For Vendetta or even Alice in Sunderland (which is as much non-fiction as it is fiction).

93lazyhedwig
Jan 20, 2009, 12:22pm Top

This is fun! Though I wish I could change my classification - there are a couple where I happily clicked, and belatedly realised that they'd be better elsewhere. I'm trying to go more slowly now!

One niggle - can we make the list alphabetical? 'Languages and Linguistics' is really in the wrong place - I've missed it once already.

Is anyone else bizarrely happy when they classify something in a completely different category to everyone else, or is that just me? ;)

94andyl
Jan 20, 2009, 12:30pm Top

#93

Just click another classification and it will change your previous answer.

The list is alphabetic - in columns.

95PhoenixTerran
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 1:07pm Top

Haven't read the whole thread, but here are a few things I've noticed so far:
Memoirs probably could be combined with autobiography/biographies
Where does sex/sexuality fit?--I've been going with Social Sciences for the most part
Poetry and Fiction should probably be separated
What exactly is a "Literary Collection"?
Pets seems to be limiting, where are the rest of the "animals"?

96PhoenixTerran
Jan 20, 2009, 1:03pm Top

Oh! And thanks for all the hard work that I know went into this! :-D

97staffordcastle
Jan 20, 2009, 1:09pm Top

It seems to me that one issue that needs clarification desperately is the one mentioned in #86: is this for applying a call number, or subject headings? Most books get multiple subject headings exactly because they have several aspects (see also #3, #9, #16, #36, et al).

If this is to be cataloging for the future, not the past, we need to remember that Everything is Miscellaneous, and that we have the power to do things differently.

98staffordcastle
Jan 20, 2009, 1:16pm Top

#51, 54, 58, 60
These items (ID guides, books on pets) seem to me to reflect a professional vs. pop/amateur divide. Perhaps there will be sub-categories under Science that accomodate this?

99staffordcastle
Jan 20, 2009, 1:17pm Top

#67 - So, we need a category for Librarianship/Knowledge Management!

100staffordcastle
Jan 20, 2009, 1:18pm Top

#85 et al

Wouldn't maps and atlases go under Geography under Science? That's where I'd look for them at my university library.

101Topper
Jan 20, 2009, 1:20pm Top

>95 PhoenixTerran:

I don't see a real need for Biography/Autobiography at all. For non-fiction works, I think the top level ought to be subject matter, not format. Baseball biographies would go in sports; political biographies would go in politics, etc.

102tardis
Jan 20, 2009, 1:22pm Top

What about The RAC Study Guide, which is a manual for people applying for a ham radio license in Canada? Does it go in Crafts and Hobbies? Technology and Engineering?

103jjwilson61
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 1:27pm Top

101> Hm. But people are people, not subjects. Our lives are not subject to a single subject. What about an astronaut who later became a US Senator? And there are plenty of athletes who later became politicians.

ETA: I don't think biography is a format. Graphic Novel is a format. A biography is a book about someone and that's the subject not the format of the book.

104staffordcastle
Jan 20, 2009, 1:27pm Top

#79 - I agree with vaneska and fleela - it should be Food & Drink, not Cooking.

105tardis
Jan 20, 2009, 1:30pm Top

International Motor Racing Book - Sports and Recreation or Transportation?

106klarusu
Jan 20, 2009, 1:33pm Top

#95 PhoenixTerran, I'd add to that :

Where do letters/correspondence/diaries go?

107staffordcastle
Jan 20, 2009, 1:43pm Top

#48
I agree with Scorbet, that for this purpose, memoirs are not enough different from autobiography to be separate. Perhaps the committee members who made this decision could pipe up with an explanation of why they made memoirs a separate entity? A link to the thread would be good.

108Topper
Jan 20, 2009, 1:53pm Top

>103 jjwilson61:

But we're categorizing the book, not the person.

109Anneli
Jan 20, 2009, 1:55pm Top

Will this feature be language dependent? I hope not. Translatable, yes, but no like CK, so that one has to add classification separately on every language site.

110staffordcastle
Jan 20, 2009, 2:05pm Top

#50
#82 "Are there any libraries that would put CDs and DVDs on the shelves commingled with the books?"

Special libraries that focus on music, like the one at my local university, have large collections of sound recordings, which are cataloged just like the books. There are subcategories for recordings under the broader heading of Music. While they are not shelved together, for practical reasons, they are certainly cataloged similarly.

If I search their catalog on "Aïda," I will get books about the history of the opera(Verdi's Aïda: a record of the life of the opera on and off the stage), scores, libretti, and sound recordings.

111Anneli
Jan 20, 2009, 2:11pm Top

Books like Take Better Pictures? Are they Photography or Crafts and Hobbies? I mean is Crafts and Hobbies going to have subcategories like Amateur photography? I would like to put Amateur photography as a subcategory of Photography.

112Topper
Jan 20, 2009, 2:13pm Top

>111 Anneli:

If it already has a category, use that one. If not, use the next best choice.

113tardis
Jan 20, 2009, 2:31pm Top

I still think that "comics" and "graphic novels" are format, not subject. Any novel, regardless of format, should go in with fiction. A graphic treatment of history or biography should go in with history or biography.

I also think "memoir" ought to be combined with biography and autobiography - the dividing line between them is awfully thin.

And why is psychology a category but medicine isn't?

114PhoenixTerran
Jan 20, 2009, 2:41pm Top

I like the idea of Food&Drink rather than Cooking, as well.

One advantage/disadvantage of having a "comics" category is that both fiction and non-fiction books could be labeled as such.

Does the "Cartoon History of..." series get categorized as history, or comics?

115PhaedraB
Jan 20, 2009, 2:42pm Top

#56 Well, my reasoning for putting religion and mythology together is that I can't see any clear distinction between for example "Greek myths" and "Greek religion".

There is quite a gap between Greek myths and Greek religion, even though most modern folk conflate them. What we commonly identify as Greek Mythology is primarily literary. Kids still study them because they are woven deeply into Western art and literature. As a simplified example, The Metamorphoses is to Roman religion as Ben Hur is to Christianity. Thus, I might put Edith Hamilton's Mythology under literature, but Ginette Paris's Pagan Meditations under religion.

116PhaedraB
Jan 20, 2009, 2:47pm Top

The second book I tried to classify was The Kybalion, and I was stumped. I wanted to put it under "Occult," but no such heading. "Paranormal" isn't quite it, nor is "Philosophy" nor "Religion."

As much of my library is occult, it's gonna be an interesting game.

117PhaedraB
Jan 20, 2009, 2:48pm Top

And finally, I'd split off "Biography" and merge "Autobiography" with "Memoir."

118timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 2:49pm Top

I think it's critical to remember: This is a system for a physical library, not an utopian plan to find the one true organization scheme. There is no perfect answer, no "essence" here--there is only what would be more useful for patrons of a library. That means putting groupings patrons grasp, and putting books where patrons will expect to find them. And it means putting books near each other that provide a coherent browsing experience.

To this end, comics may "be" fiction, but most library patrons will expect them to be grouped together. (They could be grouped under fiction, but they should be together.) The comic-book "300," that recent novel about the 300 and a Greek language selection from Herodotus about it are all non-fiction about a historic event. But readers do not browse a library indifferent to whether they read a bloody, childish graphic novel, a silly historical novel or the Greek text of an ancient historian.

2.

119gemmation
Jan 20, 2009, 2:50pm Top

I don't really understand what "social sciences" are. Is this perhaps more common term in the States compared to the UK? Hmmm, at school I remember subjects like history and geography being called "humanities." Would this be similar? I can't even give an authoritative definition of "humanities" I would need to look it up and haven't. "Humanities" wasn't a word I'd even heard of until I was maybe 14, not a bread-and-butter word to me like Paranormal or Law.

I assume that we are aiming for fairly international English here, so hopefully sharing my bewilderment might be of interest. :)

120timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 2:51pm Top

>117 PhaedraB:

I think a really sound principle is the idea of "splitability." We want to let libraries choose how far down to go on the system. Some libraries will want to mix autobiography with biography--ordering alphabetically by person, presumably. So, while we should have a level that splits them, there should be a level that does NOT split them, eg.

1. Biography/Memoir/Autobiography
1a. Biography
1b. Autobiography and memoir

Can someone—Laena?—reply to this point. I think it's a pretty important one, and I haven't seen it raised.

121tardis
Jan 20, 2009, 3:04pm Top

What I understand about this exercise (and what I think Tim is saying in msg 120) is that we are dealing with the TOP LEVEL. At that level, biography, autobiography and memoir are the same.

I guess I come back to my view that the classification should be about SUBJECT, not format. Most libraries separate out different formats on a physical level (my nearest public library, for example, breaks out paperbacks from hardcovers, movies, french language books, etc.) but classification of a movie about insects would be the same as a book or a comic about insects.

I don't think too many people here agree with me, though...

122abbottthomas
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 3:08pm Top

>120 timspalding: I think your 1. --> 1a / 1b is better than what we have now. I would further split 1b into 1b(i) autobiography and 1b(ii) Memoir - but that's for another day.

>113 tardis: And why is psychology a category but medicine isn't? Maybe because Medicine is a subset of Science and Psychology isn't ;-)

123tardis
Jan 20, 2009, 3:11pm Top

122 > Would psychology not be a subset of social science? I'm just asking - not really familiar with the field.

I asked about medicine because I was trying to classify a book of home remedies. Science? Technology? Cookery?

124gemmation
Jan 20, 2009, 3:15pm Top

I'm feeling a little miffed/confused about the fact that "Fiction and Poetry" is top level, but "Non Fiction" is not (it is presumably implied that the 40-odd other headings must be Non Fiction if not in the Fiction category).

Tim says above that this system is designed to be used in real libraries (thanks - this clarification was helpful). But is it purely a shelving question? If so, the fiction/poetry will presumably break down into a handful of second-level categories and just stop. My local library has (from memory)
- Crime
- Sci-Fi Fantasy
- Mills & Boon romance
- General Fiction (which would include romances other than Mills & Boon (a.k.a. Harlequin); classics; historical novels; modern fiction; etc etc etc)
- Books not in English
- Large Print

... and that's about it.

If the Open Shelves system is going to leave fiction pretty much just in three or four big lumps like my local library does, then it wouldn't be an improvement on Dewey in my mind.

If this project is about more than purely shelving, and approaches some notion of "subject headings" I would be more interested in it myself. (E.g. "fiction -> 19th Century -> Spain -> Romance..... or somesuch). If that is the case (and I don't know much about the project at all, that's just how I imagined it from the blog post) then you really can't have Fiction as a top level category, and not also have Non Fiction.

125trollsdotter
Jan 20, 2009, 3:15pm Top

>118 timspalding: "To this end, comics may "be" fiction, but most library patrons will expect them to be grouped together. "

I know of one small library in Alexandria that shelves graphic novels mixed into the fiction section.

126Anneli
Jan 20, 2009, 3:21pm Top

>119 gemmation:

What I find more difficult to understand is the category of Science which I think means here natural sciences. The definition that Wikipedia gives is more understandable to me: "Fields of science are commonly classified along two major lines: natural sciences, which study natural phenomena (including biological life), and social sciences, which study human behavior and societies." Could humanities fitted in that dicotomy as a social science?

In this classification (OSC) the social sciences are given the major role and the natural sciences are lumped together in one big blob. Do the public libraries have so few books about natural phenomena that they don't need more detailed main categories? Flowers and bees and stars and diseases in the same category sounds messy to me.

127gemmation
Jan 20, 2009, 3:33pm Top

re: #93 and #94

Everything is alphabetised in columns except for Languages and Linguistics. It has accidentally fallen in between Film And Television and Games. Hmmm.... did it get changed from Foreign Languages at the last minute? (guessing)

128jjwilson61
Jan 20, 2009, 3:36pm Top

If I were perusing section of my library containing works on the Holocaust, I would prefer to find the Maus graphic novels there alongside the purely text works.

129jjwilson61
Jan 20, 2009, 3:40pm Top

115> So the Bible and the Koran should be classified as Literature?

130jjwilson61
Jan 20, 2009, 3:44pm Top

109> What feature? The Open Shelves Classification is supposed to be a new classification system for libraries to use. The LT "feature" that was added is just a way to test if the system is making sense at the top level. I don't think Tim intends for these classifications that we've been making for individual books to stick around for the long term.

131Aerrin99
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 4:01pm Top

> 119 Could humanities fitted in that dicotomy as a social science?

I suppose it /could/, but I probably would not advise it given current usage and the occasional academic squabble over discipline lines. ;) Mostly, I don't think people would /look/ for Humanities under Social Sciences, even if it could be made to fit.

Generally speaking, Social Sciences covers anthropology and sociology and may also have things like journalism, education, archaeology, political science, psychology... History sometimes also gets put in here, although I think it's more common to find it as a Humanity. Of another note, I've also heard this called 'Social and Behavioral Sciences', which seems in some ways to fit a bit better.

Humanities generally covers literature and its criticism, philosophy, religion, languages, classics, performing arts.

What this shows is a desperate need for some definition of categories, because right now it looks like inconsistent 'top level'ing - we have social sciences, but also at least two topics 'topped' that, in general practice, tends to go under it (Psychology, Poli Sci). And then Humanities is not a top level, and instead all its component parts are their own top level.

So by 'social sciences' do we really mean 'anthropology and sociology'? Or something else? And if that's what we mean, then where do the other spare pieces go? Etc.

ETA: I'm sure that the committee thought these things over, by the way - it's just confusing to new eyes to the project! If definitions/clarifications exist, I would be very excited for a link or some such!

132klarusu
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 4:03pm Top

Along the lines of the Food and Drink and Cookery (I refuse to go down the 'cooking' route ;) ), could it not be argued that there is a place for making the top-level heading 'Politics' rather than 'Political Science'. I would suggest that Political Science could fall under a main 'Politics' section and may, at the basest level, be shelved together conceivably. However, other less lofty political writings would never fall under 'Political Science' but would come under a 'Politics' heading. Surely the more broad should be top level, the more specific shouldn't. If Tim's going to argue that principle with regards to Fiction and Poetry (*tears hair out at thought of Poetry being lumped in with Fiction*), surely it should hold true for other categories ...

133tardis
Jan 20, 2009, 4:07pm Top

OMG this is addictive...

134Topper
Jan 20, 2009, 4:10pm Top

I think part of this "testing" process is to see if the categories work in a practical sense. Psychology may or may not be a Social Science but if everyone agrees on which books go where it doesn't make that much difference.

I do wish though there were more top-level natural science categories. It seems out of whack.

135timspalding
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 4:18pm Top

If the Open Shelves system is going to leave fiction pretty much just in three or four big lumps like my local library does, then it wouldn't be an improvement on Dewey in my mind.

Part of the point is to give libraries the choice "how far" to go in branching. (See message 120 somebody!) If you have a "Fiction" level then you allow a libray to shelve all its fiction together by author. Some small libraries may want this--or imagine, for example, a specialized collection with very little fiction. That does not mean that the classificaiton should end there. We can split and split until we're blue in the face. The goal should be, however, to allow people to split or not split as they choose, and not beg the question.

If this project is about more than purely shelving...

No, it's just shelving. Obvious that has some relationship with subjects, but, well I'm too tired to get into it, but there's no perfect single tree. Tree structures for books only happen BECAUSE you need to shelve. That is, subjects are not lines of books, or shelves or trees--we were only lead to think they were because we were fooled by the physical world.

I don't think Tim intends for these classifications that we've been making for individual books to stick around for the long term.

No. I should make it clearer. We spoke of it as a beta. This stuff will all go away soon, or anyway not be effective. The goal is to make better and better systems. This system has some major flaws. This is a good thing—we'll be able to show that the process can be made better. I also think we'll see the problems in the data (ie., a lot of confusion between autobiography and memoir).

136jjwilson61
Jan 20, 2009, 4:28pm Top

I'm confused about the self-help category. I think in bookstores this is generally filled with pop-psychology books that I'd rather see under Psychology. Is time management such as Getting Things Done under there?

137nperrin
Jan 20, 2009, 4:34pm Top

I do wish though there were more top-level natural science categories. It seems out of whack.

Yeah, it makes things seem a little...biased... Paranormal and all of natural science are the same level of thing? And why aren't study aids just part of the category they are an aid for?

I realize I have not worked on any of this in the actual OSC threads so I hate to criticize. And I guess this is directed at public libraries. But I don't think it is overly academic to split up science as much as sociology/psychology/religion/etc are split up.

138gemmation
Jan 20, 2009, 4:37pm Top

#135. I do see what you mean about branching, that's not quite what I meant. (I acknowledge #120!)

I meant, branching should work the same for fiction and non-fiction.... which means (in my mind) that F and NF are both top level categories, and everything else is a second-level category.

Thus:
Fiction -> Military -> Tanks
Non-Fiction -> Military -> Tanks
Fiction -> Family/Relationships -> Spousal Abuse
Non-Fiction -> Family/Relationships -> Spousal Abuse

(My local library wouldn't bother to shelve novels based in tanks or spousal abuse separately from other novels, but that would be its own call, re #120.)

Whereas your top-level categories force the slightly uneven/unequal:

Fiction -> Military -> Tanks
Military -> Tanks

However, if you're not really planning on subdividing fiction into these sorts of subject-heading sections, then I guess not having Non-Fiction as a top-level category makes sense:

Fiction -> General Fiction -> Contemporary
Military -> Tanks
Study Aids -> English -> GCSE level
Fiction -> Romance -> Medical
Science -> Medicine -> Nursing

139comfypants
Jan 20, 2009, 5:00pm Top

>90 eromsted:

That's exactly why I want the categories defined. Like you say, they presumably put a lot of effort into debating them. But if I just pick whatever category seems reasonable to me, then I'm replacing all that hard work with my whim of the moment of what one of those words means.

It's clearly not an intuitive system, and not intended to be an intuitive system. So what is the point of measuring LT members' intuitive reactions to its labels?

140lorax
Jan 20, 2009, 5:35pm Top

Where the heck do field guides go? Science is the category that fits best, but I don't think it's where your average person would go look for them. Hobbies might make sense, but not classed with "Crafts" as it is. You could even make a case for "Travel", for guides to specific areas or those that include or focus on places rather than just species. I'm tempted to just go put them all as "Unclear" to make it plain that this is a problem with the system as currently set up.

141laena
Jan 20, 2009, 5:47pm Top

To respond:

Classifying can be tricky, but the rule is to identify the "aboutness" of an entire work. Because we are creating a physical shelf order, a book can only go in one place. If you need help, look to library catalogs and see where they put things. Not always easy--good luck!

We are beginning to add descriptions and lower levels in the wiki (http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/Top_Level_Categories#Top_Levels_Worki...).

>2 timspalding:
Sexuality, added.

>2 timspalding:, 117, 120
This is how I have broken it down (http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/BIOGRAPHY_%26_AUTOBIOGRAPHY). By profession and then Alphabetical. Does that work?

>3 koffieyahoo:, 4
Mah Jong is a game, not a sport.

>All pets are not animals (snake, bird, turtle, etc.), and animals would not include books on snakes, birds, turtles, etc. Not sure of the solution to this one. At the moment, animals, reptiles, etc. are in Science. Pets would include books such as "how to take care for your dog/gerbil/potbelly pig".

>For info on formats and audience treatment (DVD, Children's, YA), please see the "How should the optional facet be used?" thread in this forum.

>Fiction is ALL FICTIONAL WORK. Ignore the subject (or rather, add a subject tag in LibraryThing!). This is a PHYSICAL shelf order, so it needs to be a category. The consensus seems to be to separate poetry. Done.

>Mythology is not fiction, it is religion.

>What if political science were a lower level and politics became the top level category?

>Yes, anthropology and ethnography are social sciences.

>I changed Travel to Travel and Geography.

Thanks for the great work! As Tim said, this is a system for organizing books on the shelf. There will be descriptive data in the library catalog to help people find the books (subject headings, tags, pictotags, etc.), but that is not our concern on this project.

Keep Classifying!

142laena
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 5:53pm Top

Fiction is almost always organized by AUTHOR, in bookstores & libraries. We want all the books by Zadie Smith together, no matter the subject.

People look to the library catalog, LibraryThing or Amazon entry for more details, descriptions, similar book suggestions, etc.

143staffordcastle
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 6:05pm Top

#141'>All pets are not animals (snake, bird, turtle, etc.), and animals would not include books on snakes, birds, turtles, etc.

I think you mean all pets are not mammals, because snakes, birds and turtles are all animals. You wouldn't call them plants, would you?

144lorax
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 6:08pm Top

All pets are not animals (snake, bird, turtle, etc.), and animals would not include books on snakes, birds, turtles, etc.

What?

Surely you mean "All animals are not pets, right? A hypothetical "animals" category would certainly include books on birds -- wild birds, not pet birds -- which the existing "pets" category does not. And it still doesn't solve the problem of field guides to plants or fungi. Science works, but as I said is non-intuitive, and is already going to be horribly overloaded.

145rfb
Jan 20, 2009, 6:12pm Top

69, 75: Re History vs. Biography

To me, Biography seems to be more specific than History - after all, all biographies will one day be historic biographies, and I assume that there are a lot more history books than biographies. Likewise, I've encountered a biography about Edward Hopper, which I put in Biography, and somebody else in Art...

146staffordcastle
Jan 20, 2009, 6:15pm Top

So my "where do you put it" question is books on the history of costume. I have a lot of them.

In LC, they are under GT: Geography, Anthropology, & Recreation/Manners & Customs/500-2370 - Costume. Dress. Fashion.

I *think* they go under 391 Costume & Personal Appearance in Dewey (I don't look for them at libraries that use Dewey very often).

It seems odd to me to put them under History, though it is history of costume.

147laena
Jan 20, 2009, 6:17pm Top

The crowd has spoken: COMICS, GRAPHIC NOVELS & MANGA are now a top level category.

Fiction on the wiki (http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/Top_Level_Categories#Top_Levels_Worki...) includes a description and a few lower level categories to give you an idea of how people proposed we break it down.

148laena
Jan 20, 2009, 6:19pm Top

Fashion and costume design go under: DESIGN / Textile & Costume

149staffordcastle
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 6:41pm Top

I see that; but that will not account for books about the HISTORY of costume. They are not about design.

I would put this book in DESIGN / Textile & Costume: Dress Design: Draping and Flat Pattern Making

but not this one: Shoes and pattens, which has much more to do with archeology (BTW, where is archeology?)

or this one: Dressing Renaissance Florence which is more about economics.

My point is that books about the HISTORY of costume are about history of one segment of human behavior, not about design.

150abbottthomas
Jan 20, 2009, 6:42pm Top

>145 rfb: I'm repeating myself somewhat but I hope that is excusable when the thread gets as long as this. I would never put a biography of Edward Hopper under History/Biography no matter how long ago he lived because his influence on 'events' was minimal. More important, if you regard his historical influence on painting to be significant there is already Art/History to accept him.

A biography of the Duke of Wellington might fit in History/Military/Biography or in History/Political/Biography depending on is emphasis but I don't think I would shelve it next to a biography of Charles Dickens or the Rev. Sidney Smith who would rest in Autobiography-Biography-Memoir/Biography/Literary (or Clerics)

151Carnophile
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 6:50pm Top

I am baffled at the category name "Social Science/Sociology." Sociology is a social science, so this is like having a category called Mathematics/Calculus.

Also, Political science is social science, and so is economics (and economics and business are not the same thing). I know, this is something no one's gong to listen to. Venting makes me feel better, though!

Seriously, my suggestion:
Keep the SS category, but take away the "sociology"; that's implied by "social Science."

152timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 7:01pm Top

Classifying can be tricky, but the rule is to identify the "aboutness" of an entire work.

See, I think that is subtly wrong. It makes the focus of the system the item and its aboutness, not its finability.

Books are for use, and classification is too. The question we should ask is "Where would someone expect to find this?" and "What kind of stuff would people expect to find together?" Once you get into aboutness, you're imposing a structure that is fundamentally not going to cut it.

>Mythology is not fiction, it is religion.

I have to agree with the above commentator on that. There's a very bright line between Greek mythology and Greek religion, for example. One solution would be to separate out Folklore and Mythology. Another would be to change the top level to "Religion and Mythology" or anyway separate it out on a lower level?

>What if political science were a lower level and politics became the top level category?

I think that's the right answer. If possible polits should be near philosophy, so political theory and political science can be near each other.

>Mah Jong is a game, not a sport.

But what is a game? Can I get an Aristotelian definition, please?

>Pets and animals

If there's a book about caring for your venus fly trap I'd expect to see it near the book about caring for your goldfish, not over by the books about tree biology.

>The crowd has spoken: COMICS, GRAPHIC NOVELS & MANGA are now a top level category.

Raaaaawr! Let's see what else we can make Laena do if we yell! :)

>My point is that books about the HISTORY of costume are not about design.

That's very much about the book, about the library and so forth. There will be a million such problems in any classification. I think one way to think of it, though, is to say that certain buckets have priority over other buckets. So, for example, Manga about pets is Manga. Manga beats pets like rocks beat scissors.

I think that's a very powerful notion. ANyone agree with it?

153timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 7:03pm Top

154lorax
Jan 20, 2009, 7:08pm Top

152>

If there's a book about caring for your venus fly trap I'd expect to see it near the book about caring for your goldfish, not over by the books about tree biology.

Sure, but "animals" was suggested as a way around the fact that people aren't going to expect to see The Sibley Guide to Birds next to The Feynman Lectures on Physics, either.

I hate the artificial "Science" vs "Nature" distinction, but if the alternative is to have no obvious place at all for something like National Audubon Society Field Guide to California, it seems like the lesser of two evils.

If "manga" is intrinsically fiction in your mind, then yes, manga beats pets; but I think Fun Home is memoir first, graphic novel second. I sure wouldn't want it next to the Calvin and Hobbes.

155timspalding
Jan 20, 2009, 7:10pm Top

>I sure wouldn't want it next to the Calvin and Hobbes.

Right. But books don't have feelings. Where would you look for it?

156lorax
Jan 20, 2009, 7:27pm Top

155>

I'd look for it next to the rest of Alison Bechdel's work, though that isn't necessarily ideal either, since there's a fiction/nonfiction issue. Barring that, though, in with the rest of the memoirs.

No system's going to be perfect, and edge cases are why libraries have places to look up where to find a book, after all, but I don't think the "does it have pictures" is the most useful primary distinction -- especially given how many people still think that means it's for kids.

Alternatively, comics and "graphic novels" could be separated, as they are in my local bookstore -- Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts over here (with other humor), Fun Home and Persepolis over there. Manga is in a third place entirely.

157abbottthomas
Jan 20, 2009, 7:34pm Top

>152 timspalding: Do like the powerful/weak buckets!

James Thurber's stuff is often Memoir but I think the Humour bucket wins. What about Douglas Adams? Certainly fiction but should it be in the Humour bucket with Thurber? Is Humour a wry smile or ROFLOL?

158abbottthomas
Jan 20, 2009, 7:40pm Top

>154 lorax:-156 I've always considered Peanuts to be pretty high class philosophy, so Hobbes OK but why Calvin? Then I Googled Calvin and Hobbes ... well, they're not so big in the UK.

159_Zoe_
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 10:22pm Top

One solution would be to separate out Folklore and Mythology. Another would be to change the top level to "Religion and Mythology"

I vote for changing the top level to "Religion and Mythology".

Also, I prefer "Controversial Knowledge" to "Paranormal", as someone else suggested.

160PaulFoley
Jan 20, 2009, 10:35pm Top

STM "business and economics" needs splitting; if anything, "economics" has more affinity to "political science" than to "business" (except that most non-Austrian econ. should obviously go in "religion" ;))

161Carnophile
Jan 20, 2009, 10:53pm Top

Right on, brother!

162jjwilson61
Jan 20, 2009, 11:11pm Top

>The crowd has spoken: COMICS, GRAPHIC NOVELS & MANGA are now a top level category.

What!?! I thought the crowd said to get rid of the category entirely, not to rename it?

163shmjay
Jan 20, 2009, 11:28pm Top

Where is "geography"? It's neither the same as history nor as travel, though I suppose you could slot it in with travel since they are both about "things that are on the land".

164sqdancer
Edited: Jan 20, 2009, 11:39pm Top

> 163

In message 141, laena said she changed Travel to Travel and Geography.

http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/Top_Level_Categories

ETA: although it would be helpful if that showed in the table on the work page.

165tjsjohanna
Jan 20, 2009, 11:44pm Top

Where do you put books about living things (bugs, animals - not the pet variety, etc.)? I just put them in science - but that seems awfully broad.

166Anneli
Jan 20, 2009, 11:55pm Top

>130 jjwilson61:
Sorry, I thought that LibraryThing is going to be classified according this system. I keep my mouth shut then.

167laena
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 12:13am Top

>162 jjwilson61:
This argument has gone back and forth on multiple threads, and consensus is difficult. I would prefer to let the matter rest until further research is done. Where do most public libraries put this material? Where will people look for it? I would like the answer to direct this decision.

168laena
Jan 21, 2009, 12:23am Top

In response to a number of questions above:

We are in beta. This classification we are doing now is to test the system that we are all building. Nothing is set in stone at the moment, however the end goal is a good, usable system that will be incorporated into LibraryThing and hopefully some public libraries.

Read my PLA blog post. Read Tim's Thingology post.

169timspalding
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 1:07am Top

tThere is, of course, no reason LT can't use the system where appropriate or interesting, but it's not primarily for use in digital systems--it's for shelving.

170PortiaLong
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 1:42am Top

OH, I love it but can't OCD over it yet - reading through this thread: sorry but I have to go to bed so can't attribute my response to specific post...

Definately, I need to be able to see what I have previously selected (at least for the works I own) - current system - I will need to edit work (comments) to note how I classified. (Maybe show me in red)

Too many top level categories - I would probably divy them up based on how Universities are divided into Colleges or somesuch.

>152 timspalding: (Tim)
But what is a game?
I had to laugh:
This book: Finite and Infinite Games
http://www.librarything.com/work/81078/book/24917633
actually FORCED one of my shelving decisions - I had to order the shelves Religion-->Philosophy--->games JUST SO I could shelve this between philosophy and games with this book as the transition point.

171koffieyahoo
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 4:06am Top

141>

I wouldn't classify Mah Jong as a sport either (although I could imagine this in the case of chess for example). However, some books on Mah Jong could reasonably be classified as recreation.

Tim? Could we get some statistics on e.g. the number of works that have a classification now?

172lazyhedwig
Jan 21, 2009, 4:50am Top

Having played with it a bit more, I have to agree with some of the points raised above. Science should (at the top level) include social science and psychology, so it's weird that they are separate categories. If they are, then why isn't science at least split into natural and life sciences?

173GirlFromIpanema
Jan 21, 2009, 4:54am Top

I started classifying my books, and stopped classifying the novels and poetry, because it gets boring. Non-fiction is much more interesting! At least at this one-level-classification stage.
Categories like "Fiction", "comics", "biographies" etc. IMHO should either be taken out of this level completely or made a top level: Fiction > Military > Special Forces > Britain for books like Strike Back, something along these lines. Usability for people, rather than for scientific libraries. I tend to separate fiction and non-ficton and only then start assigning shelfs by categories at home.

And ditto on Portia's comment re: the bug that doesn't allow you to see if you categorised the book before. ;-)

174andyl
Jan 21, 2009, 5:01am Top

#170 Too many top level categories

The wiki page says that the consensus was to have about 40-50 top level categories. Which is pretty much how I remember the debate. In fact there was plenty of debate on Science at top level. Many wanted the big three - Physics, Chem and Biology to have their own top level categories. However the liberal arts biased people won out and science is just one bucket.

175GirlFromIpanema
Jan 21, 2009, 5:07am Top

"However the liberal arts biased people won out and science is just one bucket."

*grrrr* from an engineer. I see half of my library end up in "science" or "engineering" and the other half in "fiction and poetry". Really, no joke. (OK, a tiny section of "religion" and "history")

176andyl
Jan 21, 2009, 5:17am Top

#141

Where are the lower levels coming from? The ones for fiction don't seem to correspond at all to the discussions on the "A proposed outline for fiction" topic in this group? Looking at Fiction where is Science Fiction / Time Travel for example? The only Time Travel I can find is Romance / Time Travel.

Also I (not being American) am a little puzzled by the large African American section. To me it seems a wee bit too mired in present day US culture to my mind. Do the majority of people really think "FICTION / African American / Mystery & Detective" and not "FICTION / Mystery & Detective / African American"? My area of expertise is SF and although there aren't many black writers, people think of Octavia Butler and Samuel Delaney as primarily SF writers first and black second. Probably more so for Steven Barnes.,

Yes I know it is in flux but I want to understand how the process is (or should be) working for these lower levels.

177klarusu
Jan 21, 2009, 5:21am Top

*grrr* from a Biologist with an English Lit history also - I also championed top level splits for science and fiction. But alas no. I can't conceivable see why any library would want to shelve science mixed and I don't think people accessing non-academic libraries would expect to have to root through particle physics books to find a biology text (even if I could conceivably accept that some libraries may shelve fiction alphabetically) ... but the library folk begged to differ.

178PhileasHannay
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 5:28am Top

> 152
>I think one way to think of it, though, is to say that certain buckets have priority over other buckets

This works for me.

I think some cases where bucket priority really matters for usability are Humour and Memoir.

Any humorous work that is also a work of fiction should be in the Fiction category. Most fiction contains some humour, and any categorisation system that calls some fictional works "Humour" will necessarily be based on a tipping point that is both arbitrary and subjective.

So the Humour category should be for non-narrative, non-comic-book humour.

(For many years PG Wodehouse was the only fiction writer in the Humour section at my local Borders. There would usually be a couple of Wodehouses in the Fiction section, too -- just enough for someone to think they'd found where the Wodehouses were kept and stop looking. Now they've finally moved all of Wodehouse into fiction, and are doubtless selling a lot more of them.)

As for memoir -- I see there's a consensus developing that Memoir = Autobiography. For me, without consulting any dictionaries, a "Memoir" is a person's account of a specific aspect of their life. And I think the aspect of their life that they're writing about should be the priority bucket, not Autobiography/Memoir.

So Cecil Lewis's Sagittarius Rising is a memoir of his time as a World War I flying ace, and people are more likely to pick it up because they are interested in World War I than because they are interested in Cecil Lewis. In terms of selling books (as opposed to helping people find particular books), Sagittarius Rising is more likely to be bought by someone browsing the Military or History sections than someone browsing biographies/autobiographies/memoirs.

As a rule, I'd say that someone writing an autobiography is likely to be intrinsically interesting in themselves (in the sense that someone might go into a bookshop looking for his or her autobiography); while a memoir is more likely to be about a person's experience in some particular subject area that is interesting in itself.

In other words, famous people write autobiographies because people are interested in their lives; non-famous people write memoirs about subjects that people are interested in.

179klarusu
Jan 21, 2009, 5:26am Top

I've started a thread to talk about the lower levels if anyone's interested:

http://www.librarything.com/topic/55597

180abbottthomas
Jan 21, 2009, 5:30am Top

>177 klarusu: What about the non-scientist with only a few Science volumes? They would probably shelve A Brief History of Time with the Concise British Flora rather than with their many books on the Hundred Years War. Even a physicist might lump together very disparate life-sciences books. If you have a lot of books from one top category you need lots of sub-categories.

181GirlFromIpanema
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 5:43am Top

#180: But at the moment I am forced to lump my agriculture, biology, geology books under Science, when in reality I have them on three different shelves with subsorting (for example agriculture > plants, agriculture > animals, agriculture > machines). Same with my engineering tomes (wind-energy stuff goes in Engineering, agriculture stuff in agriculture? Different levels of detail!).

On the other hand, like I said, I have to put all my novels under "Fiction" at this level, even though I would be much more interested in assigning rough categories of content (see my example in #173).

More categories for the science crowd** ;-)! And a top level for "Fiction", "non-fiction", "biography", "reference", etc. :-)

** I guess that would mean to get involved myself :-). Any other engineers, scientists?

182klarusu
Jan 21, 2009, 5:47am Top

Any other engineers, scientists?

Me! I chipped into the discussion of top-level way back when and there were others so science wasn't badly represented (even though it had limited effect ;) )

183Merriwyn
Jan 21, 2009, 9:31am Top

do i put my 'SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) without anguish' book under Social Sciences or Mathematics? Or computing? It is a book to help you use a computer based statistics package designed for use in the social sciences. Libraries using dewey have put it under social science and computing, so where would this system out it?

184klarusu
Jan 21, 2009, 9:54am Top

#183 HA! I would put it under the proposed 'Controversial Knowledge' section - I have to use SPSS a lot day-to-day and believe that the concept of it being used 'without anguish' belongs in the realm of the fantastic ;)

Seriously, personally I'd put it under computing as it doesn't deal with the derivation of statistics but the use of a computer program to execute them, but that's just me!

185timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 9:59am Top

I think we should avoid thinking of this as validating the importance of a subject—or of ourselves. Rather, we should consider:

1. The number of items.
2. The likelihood that someone would want to aggregate at a particular level.

Maybe we've gone too far in the number of top-levels. I favor a lot of top levels to avoid the "all knowledge fits in ten boxes" phenomenon and the meaningless top-level categories it creates. No used bookstore has ever confined itself that way—they know customers can scan a larger list just fine, and aren't offended that there's a pets section, not animalia > chordata > fuzzyalia > cuteii > as petii.

186timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 10:01am Top

>184 klarusu:

I don't like "controversial knowledge" because it's non-obvious. What does a really good used bookstore have? Paranormal. "Controversial knowledge" is a weasel word. It's only effect can be to confuse people. Besides, it's more judgmental than paranormal. And invites people to say "Well, evolution is controversial!"

187klarusu
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 10:06am Top

I don't like "controversial knowledge" because it's non-obvious.

Oh, I hate that for exactly the reasons you've cited. I'm just bitchin' at SPSS ;)

aren't offended that there's a pets section

It's not that the Pets section is offensive per se, but that there should be a pets section and not and Animals section (which could encompass works like ID guides, for example, that don't fit in Science or in Pets ..)

188jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 10:37am Top

185> I don't think I've been to a bookstore that had this many categories, maybe 15? But bookstores colocate sections that are related so if I don't find what I'm looking for in one area I mght find it in the related area next to it.

Oh, all right,maybe there are more if you count all the different fiction categories. But you see, all the fiction is located in the same area of the store so it's false to say that a bookstore has all those top-level categories. What a bookstore has is Mysteries over in the Fiction area and Psychology over in the Science area. In other words, what bookstores typically have is a two level organization with the first level being implicit in the general area of the store. (There's also often a third level of organization on the shelves).

What I'm seeing with the current organizaton is that it is too overwhelming with the number of them and too confusing in the different levels of specificity all being at the top. What this means is that if I'm trying to categorize a book, I have to search the categories for one that matches but I can't stop there because there might be a category of greater specificity that matches better, so until I have it memorized I have to search the whole list for each book.

189r.orrison
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 11:15am Top

The levels of specificity is a problem for me too. It really seems like either Fiction is being unfairly lumped together, or non-fiction is too spread out. If the question to be answered is "where would you find this book" I think I'd have a hard time with any purely hierarchical categories. The nearest large library to me has just two top-level categories: Fiction on one floor and Non-Fiction on another floor. On the Fiction floor, the next level of categorization is Paperbacks, Hardbacks, Large Print, and Childrens'; Childrens' is broken down into three areas by age, and below that everything is alphabetical by author. On the Non-Fiction floor, the second level of categorization is Reference, Periodicals by title, and other books by Dewey.

Not helpful, I know, but a real world example in which the debate here over what goes where just doesn't fit.

What am I trying to say? I don't know. I guess that I think Fiction and Non-Fiction should be equal top level categories, or at least that there should be fewer non-fiction categories and more fiction categories.

Certainly in my personal library the vast majority of books are lumped into the Fiction category in the current system.

Hmmm... Tim says we should consider "The number of items". I've just done a tag search for "fiction" here and came up with 3,114,438; non-fiction only gets 1,471,263. So why is non-fiction represented by 45 top-level categories, and fiction only by two? Why not start with top level categories like "Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, (others), Non-Fiction"?

Edited to add: It would be very interesting to see a graph of the number of books assigned to the current categories.

190staffordcastle
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 11:19am Top

#159, 186
I totally agree with Tim - "Controversial Knowledge" is a fairly useless term. In fact, it conveys no meaning.

If you look at it from the right angle, all knowledge is controversial. Just ask Galileo.

191aqualectrix
Jan 21, 2009, 11:19am Top

Is there any chance we can get the new/revised categories into the beta cataloging box? I'd love to try them out and see if some of my problems are solved, but as it is I can't give any feedback on the changes (although, reading about them, they seem excellent).

192timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 11:20am Top

>187 klarusu:

We could tuck pets under biology > animals > pets, of course. Do we want to do that. I suppose signage can emphasize pets as a different area.

193abbottthomas
Jan 21, 2009, 11:27am Top

>188 jjwilson61: I don't think I've been to a bookstore that had this many categories

I haven't counted but I reckon our local Waterstones can manage just about as many main categories - i.e. with the name on top of the bookcases. The big difference from here is the way we are handling Fiction. From memory, the bookstore has Fantasy and SF, Crime, Classics, Graphic novels and Fiction (everything else). Poetry lurks coyly beside Drama and, as rorrison pointed out in his library, Children's books are in a separate area, shelved by age group, presumably for social rather than bibliographical reasons.

Wouldn't suit everyone but seems reasonable to me.

194timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 11:28am Top

"Fiction is being unfairly lumped together"

Again, where is the injustice? To the book?

What is the point of lumping or splitting? I would argue that if there's a decent chance a library would want to lump everything under one heading, then it should be available to them as such. Some libraries DO want to lump all fiction together—and then alpha by author. So, it should be available that level. That doesn't mean the signage can't show A1 Mysteries and A2 Love stories just as big as Z Pets.

I'd argue that pets is a classic example of something that "belongs" in science (science > biology > animals > animals as pets, or whatever) but is silly to put there. In a real bookstore you'd expect to find books on washing your golden retriever near "house and home" books, if not in it.

Now, if we're going to pull back the number of categories, what goes? What can we pull back?

195timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 11:29am Top

presumably for social rather than bibliographical reasons

Is there a difference? What are classifications for, books?

196PhoenixTerran
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 11:33am Top

192>

Even simpler, Animals > Pets would work

197careytilden
Jan 21, 2009, 11:35am Top


"Fiction is being unfairly lumped together"

Again, where is the injustice? To the book?


Unfairness is not what bothers me; it's inconsistency. Fiction is being treated differently than non-fiction. I could see the decision (lumping vs splitting) going either way, but I would rather see it it applied consistently.

198jjwilson61
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 11:37am Top

Science is a system and animals are an object. It seems like both things can't fit into the same system. You could have science books about animals, how-to books of how to care for animals or how to raise them on a farm or something, you could have fiction about animals, and biographies about animals (but no autobiographies I suppose). Are there any other categories that are primarily about things?

I know that it's supposed to be an intuitive system based on how people actually look for things but people are pretty inconsistant creatures. I also wonder if asking the question how would you categorize this book will give you a different answer than the question where would I look for a book about this. That is, we are trying to judge whether a system primarily for users (finders of books) works by performing as a cataloger (classifier of books) and I'm not sure both ways will come up with the same answer.

199DaynaRT
Jan 21, 2009, 11:37am Top

In a real bookstore you'd expect to find books on washing your golden retriever near "house and home" books, if not in it.

Really? I would expect to find it with the other pet care and animal books, which is a section within the larger biology section. That's where those books actually are in the real bookstore I go to.

200jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 11:42am Top

I don't see a book on how to care for your pet as a Science book. It's more like a hobby. And how to manage your cattle seems like it would fall under business. A book about the wildlife in Yosemite National Park could fall under Travel I suppose.

201kevinashley
Jan 21, 2009, 11:42am Top

This is an interesting experiment, but it's disappointing that the wiki page with the top-level categories has little in the way of explanations for most of them - I went to that initially to try to understand what some of them were about: autobiography vs memoir, for example. Although I see many other people here think, as I do, that there's no excuse for memoir being separate at this top level.

I don't mind the problems where one book fits more than one category - I'll choose one and others will choose another and the stats will tell us what the consensus is.

What's causing me a problem are the books that don't fit any of the categories. 'Unsure' isn't right, because I am sure that certain books don't fit any of the given categories. Some have mentioned books about library science, to which I would add things like archives and records. None of them deserving of a top-level category, but there needs to be one that can embrace them along with a bunch of other things.

Others have already mentioned reference. Most bookshops tend to put reference stuff together (in my limited experience) as do libraries.

202laena
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 12:33pm Top

>188 jjwilson61:, 193
To correct some assumptions:

--Bookstores use the BISAC classification system, which has 51 top levels.

--Fiction is under one top level category (both in Dewey & BISAC). The second level is where it is broken down by genre (crime, romance). But all fiction is together, in one area. The crowd has spoken :)

There is differing consensus, with some suggestions for splitting (e.g. Business & Economics) and some for trimming down the number of categories. Both of these are possible, but be aware that for every top level that gets folded into another, the deeper it becomes.

203nperrin
Jan 21, 2009, 11:43am Top

199: Yeah, that seemed off to me too. I would expect to find pet books among animal books, because pets are animals. I definitely wouldn't expect to find them in the same place as guides to interior decorating or home improvement.

204abbottthomas
Jan 21, 2009, 11:45am Top

>195 timspalding: I was thinking about social interactions - or maybe antisocial interactions - between different aged clients. This is, after all, hoodie-infested, drug-ridden, teenage pregnancy-and-knife crime rife Britain I'm talking about ;-)

>194 timspalding: What can we pull back?

Memoir to Autobiography for one. Could Transportation live under Engineering? Does Literary Collections neen to be top level? And what about Humour? There are funny books about almost everything - well, maybe not Architecture.

205E59F
Jan 21, 2009, 11:45am Top

I think the oddity is not so much having all of the physical and natural sciences in one slot as having the social sciences divided up into several slots (economics, linguistics, geography, political science, and social science). Linguistics doesn't overlap much with other social sciences except anthropology, but economics, political science, and sociology all have large areas of overlap, especially the latter two.

However, as pointed out in #119, the American categorization of "science/social science/humanities" is culturally specific, and people in the UK or in France, for example, draw different lines in different places. Where history goes, for example, varies.

206DaynaRT
Jan 21, 2009, 11:49am Top

well, maybe not Architecture

Photo books about buildings shaped liked genitalia!

207lazyhedwig
Jan 21, 2009, 11:58am Top

> 194 If you want to get rid of some top level categories, then I'd say the Social Sciences, Psychology & possibly Political Science can go into a Science category. Cooking and House & Home (and maybe Crafts & Hobbies?) could be combined too.

I think Paranormal is an odd one to have as a top level category too - maybe combine it with Religon and Philosophy, and call it Beliefs?

It's so weird to look at this. There are some which I would never think of as being necessary (eg Pets), but clearly many people have disagreed with me! Guess what's obvious to me isn't obvious to all - and really, why should it be?

208abbottthomas
Jan 21, 2009, 11:59am Top

>206 DaynaRT: What can I say?

>202 laena: You are right - I know nothing about bookstore classification. What I'm talking about is what the store looks like, and that has much to do with the relative number of titles displayed. So Fantasy and SF (a sub-division, yes?) has as much wall space as psychology, philosophy and politics put together. This is no more than a comment about what it feels like if your personal library is heavy on Fiction of various sorts and you've only got 3 books on Pets.

209PhoenixTerran
Jan 21, 2009, 12:00pm Top

207>I think Paranormal is an odd one to have as a top level category too - maybe combine it with Religon and Philosophy, and call it Beliefs?

Something along those lines makes sense to me. Right now, I have no idea what's even supposed to go under Paranormal.

210tardis
Jan 21, 2009, 12:07pm Top

204> I agree - Transportation should mostly go under Engineering. My library (work, not home) specializes in Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure. Transportation has a couple of aspects, some of which would be better under Engineering and Technology (e.g. roadbuilding, design of cars and engines, energy use, etc.) and some under Economics & Business (e.g. transportation economics, costs, maybe freight managment). I don't think that's a difficult split to apply.

I have a lot of car design/restoration/building books (belonging to my husband) in my personal library and they'd fit nicely under Engineering and Technology. My husband's bridge and road design/building/history books would also go there. I would put his books on rallying and F1 racing under Sports and Recreation.

211lorax
Jan 21, 2009, 12:07pm Top

174>

However the liberal arts biased people won out

And that's the root of the problem. The main problem I have with this system isn't that there are too many or too few categories -- it's that it's so erratic. It seems like it was devised by someone who would never imagine entering the science section of a library or bookstore -- someone who sees social sciences as being interesting and important, and worthy of splitting out by discipline, but science as being worthy of no more mind-space than "paranormal", and that they'd rather just have it go away entirely.

212jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 12:07pm Top

I don't have a lot of time right now but I think you all the current categories into Art, Recreation, Philosophy & Religion, Science & Technology, Fiction, and House & Home (Includes Cooking). I don't believe Comics should be a separate category. Did I miss anything?

213xtofersdad
Jan 21, 2009, 12:09pm Top

Whilst I find this an interesting diversion from my day to day work I can't help but feel it's like re-inventing the wheel - we all know what we need but can't decide on the thickness or the diameter or on the ideal material to make it from - but we know it's got to be round and not square.

>202 laena: Here's a link to BISAC classification mentioned above, http://www.bisg.org/standards/bisac_subject/major_subjects.html,

My layman's question is why that isnt good enough for liibraries?

214comfypants
Jan 21, 2009, 12:12pm Top

>202 laena:, 208
I think that all comes down to this list of categories being organized alphabetically. Bookstores might technically have loads of top-level categories, but in practice they're organized at a higher level because similar top-level categories are next to each other.

215jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 12:14pm Top

We weren't talking about some paper classification that bookstores use but how many signs they have hovering over their shelves. And I believe that they have an implicit top-level categorization by how the bookstore is layed out that isn't taken into account in your system.

216timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 12:25pm Top

I think the oddity is not so much having all of the physical and natural sciences in one slot...

Okay, here's a justification. "Science" is a rich, meaningful category. We all know it's a high-level concept, but it's known. "Social Sciences" is a classic "catalogers' category." It's not a bucket anyone thinks about. It's a bucket for holding buckets.

Look at LibraryThing. There are 231,000 books with "science," but only 13,000 with "social science." Is that because there are fewer social science than science books? Not at all. It's because "social science" isn't a natural unit of thought for most LT members.

We should avoid these "catalogers' categories." There's no reason to have "things that happened" as a holder for both history and auto/biography. We think in a lower set of terms--history and auto/biography.

That may not be consistent, but it's the way we think.

>I think Paranormal is an odd one to have as a top level category too - maybe combine it with Religon and Philosophy, and call it Beliefs?

This is the same issue again. Nobody goes to a bookstore looking for "beliefs" books. It's not a natural category. It's a label we stick above some categories to achieve a false consistency.

I could see the decision (lumping vs splitting) going either way, but I would rather see it it applied consistently.

Yeah, I disagree, and side with Emerson on this one. A consistent system would be a pinched one, with headings that might be of the same conceptual "weight" but wouldn't fit how we see the world.

I also wonder if asking the question how would you categorize this book will give you a different answer than the question where would I look for a book about this. That is, we are trying to judge whether a system primarily for users (finders of books) works by performing as a cataloger (classifier of books) and I'm not sure both ways will come up with the same answer.

Right. Right. Right. We should think of classification as a tool for *finding*, not a tool for asserting ontological truth about the book. That's why you cluster pet books together, not put them at the leaf-end of different branches of some grand Linnaean tree.

Really? I would expect to find it with the other pet care and animal books, which is a section within the larger biology section. That's where those books actually are in the real bookstore I go to.

Which bookstore? Let's compare systems.

I don't see a book on how to care for your pet as a Science book. It's more like a hobby. And how to manage your cattle seems like it would fall under business. A book about the wildlife in Yosemite National Park could fall under Travel I suppose.

Right. And Barbar is a children's book.

Although I see many other people here think, as I do, that there's no excuse for memoir being separate at this top level.

Okay, but look at the discussion. That was changed long ago.

--Bookstores use the BISAC classification system, which also has a large number of categories.

To be exact SOME bookstores use it. Lots of independents do not. And used bookstores do whatever makes sense to them. I'd argue the best used bookstores do some of the best work here.

199: Yeah, that seemed off to me too. I would expect to find pet books among animal books, because pets are animals. I definitely wouldn't expect to find them in the same place as guides to interior decorating or home improvement.

I'm fine with animals. But I don't see pets as being in some deep section under Science > Biology. As someone above said, pets are hobbies. A book on the mating habits of timber wolves is just different from Knitting with Dog Hair. Okay, that's under Design, I suppose. :)

Memoir to Autobiography

This was done. We need to reset the system on work pages. I dont' want to do it in tiny increments, as we'll have to reset a lot of data. When we're ready for a true Draft 2, then we cando that.

217andyl
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 12:34pm Top

#202 and #208

It may well be that abbottthomas is correct. BISAC is primarily an American standard isn't it? Whilst there is overlap with how a UK shop would shelve the categorises are not 100% identical. There is a sort of UK equivalent is called BIC (now BIC2) but it isn't too often followed religiously. See http://193.128.166.228:3000/ for a drill-downable browse of the BIC categories.

For example in their "Lifestyle, sport and leisure" category there is the subcategory "The natural world, country life & pets" which then has further subcategorisation into "Dinosaurs & the prehistoric world", "Wildlife: general interest", "Farm & working animals", "Domestic animals & pets".

Although I could quibble with where the natural world category has fallen I can't quibble that dinosaurs, general wildlife, farm, domestic animals and pets are all close together.

218DaynaRT
Jan 21, 2009, 12:32pm Top

Which bookstore?

B&N

219DaynaRT
Jan 21, 2009, 12:34pm Top

pets are hobbies

I guess that's where the disconnect is. I would never think Pets = Hobbies.

220PhaedraB
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 12:42pm Top

I think I have to make a pitch for Metaphysics. I dislike muchly "Controversial Knowledge" and Paranormal is a subset, not a top level. ESP is paranormal, and maybe cryptozoology and Forteana. I could imagine UFOs and conspiracy theory under Controversial Knowledge. However, I would not put ceremonial magic, tarot, astrology, kundalini, or meditation under either of those categories.

Of course, I may be showing prejudice as the former owner of an occult, uh, metaphysical bookstore. (I prefer "occult," but that marks me as a bit old fashioned.) Paranormal, Conspiracy Theory, Magic, Meditation -- those were subsets.

However, the existence of specialty bookstores does give you an idea for which top categories people will commonly browse. Certainly one finds metaphysical/occult/new age bookstores, mystery bookstores, SF/F bookstores, and comics/graphic novel/manga bookstores. (FWIW, the Japanese bookstore in my local mall has all the manga segregated in a massive Manga section.) I don't know of any Romance bookstores, though there may be some.

It's hard to think beyond our own obsessions specialities (for me Romance=Recycling, and New Age rhymes with sewage), but that is the point of the exercise.

221laena
Jan 21, 2009, 12:43pm Top

"We should think of classification as a tool for *finding*, not a tool for asserting ontological truth about the book." Yes, this is our goal!

222andyl
Jan 21, 2009, 12:44pm Top

#220

It usually all comes under Mind, Body & Spirit doesn't it?

223jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 12:46pm Top

This is the same issue again. Nobody goes to a bookstore looking for "beliefs" books. It's not a natural category. It's a label we stick above some categories to achieve a false consistency.

But the religion, philosophy, and perhaps paranormal books are all stuck in the corner over there making them all part of an implicit top-level with no name.

224laena
Jan 21, 2009, 12:51pm Top

>220 PhaedraB:
Thanks, very helpful! Is Metaphysics intuitive to the average PL user? What about "Metaphysics & Occult"?

225tardis
Jan 21, 2009, 1:05pm Top

What is the point of the category "Performing Arts" when we also have separate top level "buckets" for Drama, Music, and Film & Television? What else is there to go in performing arts? Dance, I guess. Why not have a top level for Dance and make PA go away?

Or is PA where you put books on acting, but books on plays go in Drama? Does Music hold works ABOUT music or works OF music? Or both?

This isn't an area in which I have much personal investment so I don't really care what we end up with - I just want to understand the logic.

226Carnophile
Jan 21, 2009, 1:09pm Top

>216 timspalding:
We should think of classification as a tool for *finding*, not a tool for asserting ontological truth about the book.

That's how I've been thinking of it as I categorize books: Where would I expect to find this?

227laena
Jan 21, 2009, 1:09pm Top

Let's discuss the present list:

* AGRICULTURE
* ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES
* ARCHITECTURE
* ART
* BIOGRAPHY, AUTOBIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
* BUSINESS
* CAREERS
* COMICS, GRAPHIC NOVELS & MANGA
* COMPUTERS
* COOKING & FOOD
* CRAFTS & HOBBIES
* DESIGN
* DRAMA
* EDUCATION
* FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS
* FICTION
* POETRY
* FILM & TELEVISION
* LANGUAGES & LINGUISTICS
* LIBRARIES & ARCHIVES
* GAMES
* GARDENING
* HEALTH & FITNESS
* HISTORY
* HOUSE & HOME
* HUMOR
* LAW
* LITERARY COLLECTIONS & CRITICISM
* MATHEMATICS
* MILITARY
* MUSIC
* METAPHYSICS & OCCULT (was paranormal)
* PERFORMING ARTS
* PETS
* PHILOSOPHY
* PHOTOGRAPHY
* POLITICS
* PSYCHOLOGY
* RELIGION
* SCIENCE
* SELF-HELP
* SEXUALITY
* SOCIAL SCIENCE (ECONOMICS now a subcategory)
* SPORTS & RECREATION
* STUDY AIDS
* TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING (TRANSPORTATION now a subcategory)
* TRAVEL & GEOGRAPHY
* TRUE CRIME

228andyl
Jan 21, 2009, 1:10pm Top

#225

I put a book about the Circus in Performing Arts. I guess you also have puppetry, mime and stage magic as well.

229laena
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 1:37pm Top

>225 tardis:
Performing Arts: e.g. acting, theater, puppetry, storytelling, dance, circus, comedy, mime.

DRAMA is for dramatic works written for the stage. Critical works=LITERARY CRITICISM.

230abbottthomas
Jan 21, 2009, 1:18pm Top

If contraction is still the aim...

Architecture as sub-set of Design?

Photography to find its way between Art and Crafts & Hobbies depending on the book?

Gardening under House and Home?

Lose Humour as a top level category?

231abbottthomas
Jan 21, 2009, 1:19pm Top

Oh yes, and Psychology under Science?

232andyl
Jan 21, 2009, 1:23pm Top

OK, just off the top of my head

* COMICS, GRAPHIC NOVELS & MANGA

Obviously causes issues for people. Most shops I know split their comics, BD, manga up. You have manga and SF type stuff with the SF. Funny stuff in the humour section. Anything else is such a think category (in the book shop) they just get thrown in the SF section (yep that is where you find Maus).

* TRUE CRIME

Not sure about this as a top level category. What do people think about "Biography and True Stories"?

* CAREERS
* EDUCATION

What about mushing these two together.

* GARDENING
* HOUSE & HOME

Usually see these together - so the gardening books are next to the DIY books.

* LITERARY COLLECTIONS & CRITICISM

Still not sure we need literary collections. I've never seen a section in any bookshop labelled that.

* PETS

Still like to see this as a subcategory of animals.

* PHOTOGRAPHY

Surely should be part of hobbies or art or maybe business depending on the focus.

* SEXUALITY

Despite Tim's protestations I don't see this as a top level category.

* SOCIAL SCIENCE (ECONOMICS now a subcategory)

I don't think Economics is a social science. Belongs more with Business and Finance.

* TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING (TRANSPORTATION now a subcategory)

Maybe add Agriculture to this. To my mind they all share a certain something.

233jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 1:27pm Top

Computers under Technology.

Cooking under House & Home.

Antiques & Collectibles, Crafts & Hobbies, Film & Television, Games, Sports & Recreation under Recreation.

234jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 1:31pm Top

* TRUE CRIME

Not sure about this as a top level category. What do people think about "Biography and True Stories"?


I was thinking that this could go in a History and Current Events category. My thinking is that a current event will eventually become history and a library doesn't need to be in the business of reclassifying books when the event becomes old enough.

235PhoenixTerran
Jan 21, 2009, 1:32pm Top

232>SEXUALITY Despite Tim's protestations I don't see this as a top level category

Just wondering...what category would you put the sex/sexuality books in?

236andyl
Jan 21, 2009, 1:34pm Top

Alternatively Film & TV, Drama, Music & Performing Arts could be rolled up into one. Dramatic & Performing Arts maybe. Maybe it ought to be put under Arts as well. After all the bookshop can still put a big sign saying "Film & TV" up over that bit of the shop and the fine arts books would be on the next shelf over.

237andyl
Jan 21, 2009, 1:38pm Top

#235

The BIC2 categorises it as follows
Health and personal development > Family and health > Family and relationships > Sex and sexuality, sex manuals

So they fit it with Family & Relationships which seems a reasonable place.

238E59F
Jan 21, 2009, 1:39pm Top

>227 laena::
Here are some lumping ideas.

I would lump Art, Architecture, and Photography together.

I would lump Biography etc. and History together.

I can see a strong case for lumping History and Social Science together. (Where does economic history go, for example?)

I would lump Film/Television and Performing Arts together.

I could see a strong case for lumping Families/Relationships with Psychology.

Sure, there are important differences among these, just as there are within "Fiction" or "Science". But they contain enough relatedness that they make some sense as top-level categories, assuming that those provide the most general level of spatial proximity. Presumably the second-level categories are matter a lot more anyway.

239laena
Jan 21, 2009, 1:42pm Top

*Reminder*
We do not need to condense these categories, although some may not be necessary. The goal is finadability/browsability, and terms that make sense.

240laena
Jan 21, 2009, 1:45pm Top

It's 2009, does sex/sexuality need to be in Family & Relationships?

241jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 1:49pm Top

239> I think several of us find the current number of categories confusing and would like to see them greatly reduced. I certainly don't find the current categories browsable as I have to spend a lot of time searching the list finding the place to start browsing.

242jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 1:51pm Top

240> Doesn't sex imply some sort of relationship if not necessarily family? I think you'd find most books on sex discuss it in terms of a relationship. Unless it was completely about the biology of sex in which case it ought to go under biology.

243andyl
Jan 21, 2009, 1:52pm Top

I agree that we don't need to condense these categories. But if we feel that they make more sense when they are condensed then we should certainly speak up. That is what this is all about isn't it?

I think that people are generally making good points. I for one expect to see DIY books next to the gardening books. I think the whole Films & TV / Drama / Music / Performing Arts is way too fine for a top level. What privileges photography over other hobbies (or other forms of art)? Really some photography books belong with the art, some with the hobby books. They are usually two quite distinct set of books, and quite distinct types of people who will be looking.

244abbottthomas
Jan 21, 2009, 1:54pm Top

>240 laena: Well then, in Sports and Recreation.

245andejons
Jan 21, 2009, 1:56pm Top

>216 timspalding:
Okay, here's a justification. "Science" is a rich, meaningful category. We all know it's a high-level concept, but it's known. "Social Sciences" is a classic "catalogers' category." It's not a bucket anyone thinks about. It's a bucket forholding buckets.
....
We think in a lower set of terms--history and auto/biography.


Well, I for one don't think of "science" as one big cathegory: there's physics, and then there's the rest ;)

But slightly more serious, people think in different terms, and different libraries has different needs. People might not use the name "social sciences", but I'd expect to find books on politics quite near books on economics. Even if I might not label a book "social science" if given a free choice, it does not mean that I wouldn't see that it could go under that label.

246auntmarge64
Jan 21, 2009, 1:57pm Top

#176

-------------
Also I (not being American) am a little puzzled by the large African American section. To me it seems a wee bit too mired in present day US culture to my mind. Do the majority of people really think "FICTION / African American / Mystery & Detective" and not "FICTION / Mystery & Detective / African American"? My area of expertise is SF and although there aren't many black writers, people think of Octavia Butler and Samuel Delaney as primarily SF writers first and black second. Probably more so for Steven Barnes.
-----------

And it's clear here in the US that we're trying to get past the racial distinctions anyway (ever hopeful...).
Also, thinking back to my days as a public librarian, it's much more likely that a browser will look for a mystery and see "African American" as a subcategory than the other way around.

247klarusu
Jan 21, 2009, 2:02pm Top

It's 2009, does sex/sexuality need to be in Family & Relationships

It's not about hiding surely, but about 'findability'. It's not about politicising, to quote Tim:

"I think we should avoid thinking of this as validating the importance of a subject—or of ourselves. Rather, we should consider:

1. The number of items.
2. The likelihood that someone would want to aggregate at a particular level."

So, is sex/sexuality separate enough of a subject that individuals would want it at top level and does it contain enough items. I would argue yes.

And quite frankly, if Pets stays then I would certainly say Sexuality has its place too.

When did 'Literary Collections' get lumped with 'Literary Criticism'? Don't agree with that.

Definitely want separate top-level for comics, graphic novels and manga - would never expect the graphic novels to be shelved alongside fiction equivalents, sorry, format trumps.

248sqdancer
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 2:06pm Top

As far as True Crime: FWIW my local chain bookshop shelves them in the same area as the biographies (not intermingled, but in the same set of shelves). Local second hand shop does the same.

-------

For Pet books: my local chain bookstore shelves them with the science books (and that's not anywhere near the household or hobby books).

My local second hand shop shelves pet books in the same area with the outdoor and sports books (both owners are dog-owning, acerage dwellers, which may effect their perspective on that one).

Since people have so many different ideas of where Pets "belong" then maybe, for the sake of findability, it does need to have it's own catagory.

249lorax
Jan 21, 2009, 2:16pm Top

* ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES

Why aren't these a subset of "Hobbies?"

* GAMES
* SPORTS & RECREATION

Aren't games recreation?

* LITERARY COLLECTIONS & CRITICISM

This doesn't make sense to me; I'd expect to see anthologies (which is what I suppose "literary collections" are) in with fiction, not with criticism.

* MUSIC
* PERFORMING ARTS

Why single out music and not the other performing arts? (Or is the "music" category intended for recordings and sheet music, rather than books about music?)

* PETS

I still hate this as a top-level category, when wild animals are shoehorned under Science > Biology.

* SCIENCE

I know this is a losing battle, but I still hate this lumping.

250E59F
Jan 21, 2009, 2:20pm Top

239: We do not need to condense these categories, although some may not be necessary. The goal is finadability/browsability, and terms that make sense.

The weird mix of lumping and splitting in the present list is not consistent on those criteria. Sure, "science" makes sense as a maximal category in the sense that then the physics will be near the chemistry which will be near the biology, aiding browsability. But really, people generally look for a book about one or another of those, not about "science" in general. And why would one put art and design in entirely separate categories, when they are much more closely related to each other? Or have drama, poetry, fiction, and literary collections all separated from each other?

If the top-level categories are not meant to be how "insiders" categorize, then they should reflect how "outsiders" categorize. Instead, there's a mix of the two principles, being more "outsider"-ish for sciences and more "insider"-ish for arts and letters.

251lorax
Jan 21, 2009, 2:21pm Top

But slightly more serious, people think in different terms, and different libraries has different needs. People might not use the name "social sciences", but I'd expect to find books on politics quite near books on economics. Even if I might not label a book "social science" if given a free choice, it does not mean that I wouldn't see that it could go under that label.

This is a very good point.

Even if "social science" isn't actually used as a shelf label, it's certainly used as a shelving aid. It may be a category at a higher level of abstraction but it's still there.

(I need to check and see whether my local bookstore actually has "Science" on the shelves, or just Biology/Chemistry/etc. I know they're together, and there's a "miscellaneous science" section -- but not whether Science is used as an actual label.)

252Carnophile
Jan 21, 2009, 2:25pm Top

>232 andyl:
I don't think Economics is a social science. Belongs more with Business and Finance.

DIE! DIE! DIE!

Seriously, Economics is a social science.

In fact, some economists let their rhetoric run away with them and call it the queen of the social sciences. I regard this as silly, and in grad school it led to jokes about closet queens, but anyway...

253DaynaRT
Jan 21, 2009, 2:27pm Top

I was thinking that this {True Crime} could go in a History and Current Events category.

This!

I felt odd putting a book about 9/11 into the History only category. Sure, it technically happened in the past, but it's still a very current topic.

254andyl
Jan 21, 2009, 2:33pm Top

#249

Absolutely lorax. If we were to apply the same rules consistently that are being applied for sexuality (as restated in #247) surely the big three should have their own top level category.

I feel that all we are doing is just taking BISAC and dropping a few items, mushing a few together and generally waving a magic wand over the remainder. Personally I don't like the approach BISAC takes. I certainly would prefer that at top level categorisation (and note this doesn't correspond to what a book shop will label its shelves) there is some consistency of treatment. If Science is one big bucket, why isn't the Arts, the Humanities, Lifestyle & Sports & Recreation, Personal Development, etc?

255sqdancer
Jan 21, 2009, 2:33pm Top

(I need to check and see whether my local bookstore actually has "Science" on the shelves, or just Biology/Chemistry/etc. I know they're together, and there's a "miscellaneous science" section -- but not whether Science is used as an actual label.)

Here the small local chain bookshop has Science as a label (but it is - depressingly - only two shelves in a four-foot section). The larger branches in the city have a breakdown in the Science section - Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Biology, Mathematics, etc. But, to be fair, they also have a breakdown in the History section - Canada, UK, USA, Europe, Asia, Military, Ancient, etc.

256klarusu
Jan 21, 2009, 2:37pm Top

If Science is one big bucket, why isn't the Arts, the Humanities, Lifestyle & Sports & Recreation, Personal Development, etc?

Exactly!

257timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 2:40pm Top

217

BIC. That's great. We need to add it to our list.

Mind, Body & Spirit

It's funny how that sort of category never includes, say, Philosophy, Football and Religion.

But the religion, philosophy, and perhaps paranormal books are all stuck in the corner over there making them all part of an implicit top-level with no name.

Yes, I agree. I think we SHOULD put the top-level categories next to each other. It's hard--a system like this is only 2D, so every subject gets only two buddy-subjects.

I put a book about the Circus in Performing Arts. I guess you also have puppetry, mime and stage magic as well.

Can we make mime a top-level heading?

Architecture as sub-set of Design?

I'm game for that.

Photography to find its way between Art and Crafts & Hobbies depending on the book?

I think "art" is a nice, rich category, not an empty one like "social sciences." I'd be in favor of putting photography under it.

Gardening under House and Home?

I'd do that.

Lose Humour as a top level category?

Okay, but put it under what?

What do people think about "Biography and True Stories"?

If you walked into a store or library looking for true-crime, I think "Biography and True-Stories" would confuse. It's not a normal term.

Despite Tim's protestations I don't see this as a top level category.

Do you mean proclivities? :)

I don't think Economics is a social science. Belongs more with Business and Finance.

What?! Hey, see Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_science).

So they fit it with Family & Relationships which seems a reasonable place.

Does masturbation go under "hobbies"?

We do not need to condense these categories, although some may not be necessary. The goal is finadability/browsability, and terms that make sense.

We should clearly articulate what the trade-offs are for having too many and having too few. I think the only danger to having too many is that a library may want to aggregate at level you don't provide—to, for example, aggregate all science together, or all social studies.

Well, I for one don't think of "science" as one big cathegory: there's physics, and then there's the rest ;)

No, I don't mean that. People do use tags like that all the time. But a term like "Social Science" isn't used by many people on LT. I think that means that it's a level of abstraction higher than most people want to go.

We need a good term for "inappropriate levels of abstraction." It's a common phenomenon of life. We say "brothers and sisters" in normal conversation even if there's a term that embraces both. A perfectly rational classification system could start with "things made of atoms" and "things not made of atoms." But that's not a level we think on.

And quite frankly, if Pets stays then I would certainly say Sexuality has its place too.

Can we put the Sexuality and the Pets section far from each other?

* ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES

Why aren't these a subset of "Hobbies?"


Faberge eggs are hobbies? Surely that's worse than masturbation.

This doesn't make sense to me; I'd expect to see anthologies (which is what I suppose "literary collections" are) in with fiction, not with criticism.

Yes, can we explain what literary collections are here?

If the top-level categories are not meant to be how "insiders" categorize, then they should reflect how "outsiders" categorize. Instead, there's a mix of the two principles, being more "outsider"-ish for sciences and more "insider"-ish for arts and letters.

I wonder if we can split the classification system and the suggested signage. That is, we make a category for "Social Sciences" but suggest it be signed at the level of History, Economics, etc.

258klarusu
Jan 21, 2009, 2:43pm Top

Can we put the Sexuality and the Pets section far from each other?
Oh, please, please do! ;)

259lorax
Jan 21, 2009, 2:49pm Top

* ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES

Why aren't these a subset of "Hobbies?"


Faberge eggs are hobbies? Surely that's worse than masturbation.

Ah, see, I was thinking more along the lines of baseball cards and Beanie Babies for "collectibles". Faberge eggs, I would think, are art.

260PhoenixTerran
Jan 21, 2009, 2:49pm Top

257>Lose Humour as a top level category? Okay, but put it under what?

I don't personally see humor as it's own section--I see it as a subsection since you can have a humorous take on any of current top-level divisions.

Oh...and can someone tell me where to put The Zombie Survival Guide? :-)

261E59F
Jan 21, 2009, 2:52pm Top

I wonder if we can split the classification system and the suggested signage. That is, we make a category for "Social Sciences" but suggest it be signed at the level of History, Economics, etc.

Yes, exactly the same thing would make sense for things like romance, science fiction, etc. within fiction.

an empty one like "social sciences."

Social sciences are sort of the opposite of the physical and natural sciences here, in that the lumpers seem to be the insiders, while the outsiders don't see as much connection. But you know, the people who write the books are part of the whole process too, not just the ones who read them :)

262timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 2:52pm Top

I don't personally see humor as it's own section--I see it as a subsection since you can have a humorous take on any of current top-level divisions.

Yeah, but people want to go to the humor section for their LOLCAT book, not biology > animalia > felidae > humor > LOL

263timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 2:53pm Top

> But you know, the people who write the books are part of the whole process too, not just the ones who read them.

Since LT is so anti-self-published authors, apparently, can we have a section for "Vanity Press Authors and other Bozos"?

264GirlFromIpanema
Jan 21, 2009, 2:55pm Top

"If Science is one big bucket, why isn't the Arts, the Humanities, Lifestyle & Sports & Recreation, Personal Development, etc?"

Because us LT engineers and LT scientists haven't spoken out loud enough? Maybe we should temporarily remove to a separate thread and hammer out a classification top level set for the current "science bucket"? And bring it back to the group for discussion?
I wouldn't try to have the final word about literature/literary criticism/collections/whatever. But in the same way I'd presume an Engl. Lit. major or teacher for German cannot say much about the questions that arise in catalogueing my engineering and agriculture books.
Having task groups works at work (at least it does in my place) --why not try it here, with all the expertise and experience around?

265andyl
Jan 21, 2009, 3:05pm Top

#264

Hey I'm just one of the nerds (to paraphrase Ben Goldacre on the radio) who likes science but doesn't actually do any. I actually work in computer programming so I have a top level category :-) Actually I wouldn't be too upset if Computers did move into a second level although it is a very hard category to move. It includes some stuff that is very close to Maths, some stuff that is very close to science, some stuff that is very close to Technology (I presume that is where Electronics will belong), some stuff that is very close to business, and some which is very close to Games/Sports & Recreation. If you include Photoshop close to photography as well.

I think it is worth reiterating that the top-levels do not have to correspond directly with bookshop signs. People on one side have been saying that for science yet not accepting the fact for the arts. What is sauce for the goose ...

266andyl
Jan 21, 2009, 3:07pm Top

* Film & TV

In addition to my previous comments should we add Radio to this. I mean books about Radio Performance & Productions rather than books on how radios work.

267klarusu
Jan 21, 2009, 3:14pm Top

#264, I would argue that it's not necessarily about personal specialities, but about putting yourself into the mindset of users/browsers and what they would want. I accept that thinking from an academic perspective would lead to more splitting than you'd expect in a public library. To be fair, Fiction is being treated in a similar fashion.

How about getting the new category list up and seeing how another batch of cataloguing would go with them? I'd like to try ... it helped me think last time!

268jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 3:15pm Top

We should clearly articulate what the trade-offs are for having too many and having too few. I think the only danger to having too many is that a library may want to aggregate at level you don't provide—to, for example, aggregate all science together, or all social studies.

I think another danger of having too many is having a library patron walk into the library, look at the chart on the wall, and seeing 30 categories in no order except alphabetical walks out because it is impossible to find anything in this library.

Faberge eggs are hobbies? Surely that's worse than masturbation.

But surely the collecting of Faberge eggs is a hobby.

269tcarter
Jan 21, 2009, 3:18pm Top

Would one way of resolving this be to let the numbers do the talking. Run with a set of top level categories and their respective sub categories for a while. It might then become obvious that a particular sub category is significantly more popular* than a current top level category. That would then lead to a promotion of the popular category.

This would leverage the strengths of LT - lots of data, and remove some of the subjectivity of the process. Isn't one of the USPs of this categorisation meant to be that it is statistically validated as we go? I think that this validation has to rest on more than an aggregation of the opinions of the type of people (like me) who can be bothered to argue about categorisation and click on little boxes to catalogue books we've never seen. It also has to use the data from the people who type of people who can't be bothered, but do want to find books easily and maybe experience the odd moment of serendipity as they do. I'd love it if could capture some of the serendipity of LT special sauce recommendations in this categorisation.

* We'd have to decide what we mean by popular. I would suggest some form of index based on number of distinct works and distribution of ownership of those works. For a category to be "popular" it should contain a large number of works, lots of which are owned by a lot of people.

270timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 3:24pm Top

How about getting the new category list up and seeing how another batch of cataloguing would go with them? I'd like to try ... it helped me think last time!

I don't think it's changed enough yet. But I can bend to others on this.

271abbottthomas
Jan 21, 2009, 3:24pm Top

257> Re: Humour. I've got a Humour shelf at arm's reach and have just looked at what's there. Thurber, Perelman, Leacock, Runyon, Woody Allen - mostly easily fittable under other top level categories. Also things like The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams - a list of bizarre definitions of place names, Eavesdroppings - strange fragments of conversation overheard out of context, compilations of selected items from Private Eye. These are a bit more difficult to place but, intellectually, I would be happy to lose Humour as a top level category and put them elsewhere.

However... I have already shelved these books together and not with P G Wodehouse, Peter Tinniswood and other very funny authors. I suppose that means something!

272klarusu
Jan 21, 2009, 3:27pm Top

But I can bend to others on this.

Like a pretzel?

273timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 3:31pm Top

I think humor is a junk-drawer category. If something is funny, but it's also clearly a novel or teaches important scientific information, it doesn't belong in humor.

274andyl
Jan 21, 2009, 3:32pm Top

Would one way of resolving this be to let the numbers do the talking. Run with a set of top level categories and their respective sub categories

We can't even agree basic top levels let alone sub categories.

I think you're approach is going to be very prone to selection bias. Science geeks would be working their way through the science books just to show that there is a significant number in each category. Just searching on tags there is just short of 10,000 books on pets. Chemistry has a very similar number of books but about 10% less taggers. Physics and biology are both about four times as numerous as pets Dance is only 6,500 books. Yes I know that is broad brush and some books with those tags might appear elsewhere (which is why I didn't look at music or sexuality as there seemed to be too much case of crossover into other categories).

275PhoenixTerran
Jan 21, 2009, 3:32pm Top

Slightly off topic--something that really annoys me about many bookstores, is when a subject gets split up into different sections. For example, I usually have to visit at least three different sections to find all the books on yoga: health and fitness, religion and philosophy, and mind/body/spirit, etc.

276abbottthomas
Jan 21, 2009, 3:32pm Top

277laena
Jan 21, 2009, 3:40pm Top

>269 tcarter:
That's tricky, popularity on LT doesn't necessarily correspond to need, or reflect how library collections are used. Also, this is a crowd sourced project, and sub categories have not been made for most of the top levels yet. Making them is a lot of work and won't be done overnight.

278laena
Jan 21, 2009, 3:41pm Top

I just want to remind everyone that this is a system being made for libraries, not bookstores.

279jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 3:43pm Top

* AGRICULTURE

Not sure. Some could go under Business and some under Science & Technology

* ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES
move to Recreation

* ARCHITECTURE
move to Arts or Science & Technology

* ART
top level

* BIOGRAPHY, AUTOBIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
top level

* BUSINESS
top level

* CAREERS
Business

* COMICS, GRAPHIC NOVELS & MANGA
Books should be shelved according to subject matter
* COMPUTERS
move to S&T
* COOKING & FOOD
move to House & Home

* CRAFTS & HOBBIES
move to Recreation

* DESIGN
move to Arts

* DRAMA
move to Arts

* EDUCATION
Not sure.

* FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS
top level

* FICTION
top level

* POETRY
top level

* FILM & TELEVISION
move to Arts

* LANGUAGES & LINGUISTICS
move to Social Science

* LIBRARIES & ARCHIVES
Information Science could go under S&T. I'm not sure what Archives is.

* GAMES
move to Recreation

* GARDENING
move to House & Home

* HEALTH & FITNESS
top level. I can't see this going under Biology.

* HISTORY
top level. or maybe Humanities, along with Languages? Rename History & Current Events.

* HOUSE & HOME
top level

* HUMOR
Humorous fiction or poems can go under fiction or poems. What other kinds of humor are there?

* LAW
move to Politics

* LITERARY COLLECTIONS & CRITICISM
not sure what this is.

* MATHEMATICS
move to S&T

* MILITARY
Military history to History. Military technology to S&T. What else is there?

* MUSIC
move to Arts

* METAPHYSICS & OCCULT (was paranormal)
Not sure.

* PERFORMING ARTS
move to Arts

* PETS
move to Recreation (under Hobbies.

* PHILOSOPHY
combine with Religion.

* PHOTOGRAPHY
move to Arts or S&T. Should sport photography go under Sports?

* POLITICS
top level

* PSYCHOLOGY
move to S&T

* RELIGION
merge with Philosophy

* SCIENCE
top level, rename Science & Technology

* SELF-HELP
move most of it to Family & Relationships. Self-help on Psychiatric Disorders can move to S&T

* SEXUALITY
move to Family & Relationships

* SOCIAL SCIENCE (ECONOMICS now a subcategory)
top level

* SPORTS & RECREATION
top level as just Recreation

* STUDY AIDS
Goes with subject or perhaps where Education ends up.

* TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING (TRANSPORTATION now a subcategory)
merge with Science

* TRAVEL & GEOGRAPHY
top level

* TRUE CRIME
move to History & Current Events

280andejons
Jan 21, 2009, 3:47pm Top

>257 timspalding:
We need a good term for "inappropriate levels of abstraction." It's a common phenomenon of life. We say "brothers and sisters" in normal conversation even if there's a term that embraces both.

Well, I don't, since in my language the word corresponding to "sibling" is actually the standard phrase. Is OSC supposed to be translateable? If so, that would be another argument against top-level separations like memoirs/autobiographies - the distinction might not even exist in some languages!

281klarusu
Jan 21, 2009, 3:47pm Top

I just want to remind everyone that this is a system being made for libraries, not bookstores.

Yes but the point is accessibility - it doesn't matter whether it's a library or not. If bookshops get accessibility right, why not take the model and work with it. The point being we're not constrained by old-school cataloguing mindset.

282yoyogod
Jan 21, 2009, 3:50pm Top

I guess I'd like to put in my 2 cents on a few things...

1) I don't really like metaphysics and occult as a substitution for paranormal. I think Paranormal & Occult would be better, but maybe that's just me.

2) I have quite a few books on writing, and under the current system, I don't really know where they should go. Language, Careers, or some other category?

3)Where do books that contain both fiction and nonfiction go? I'm thinking of things like Douglas Adams' Salmon of Doubt, which includes essays, articles, a short story and a novel fragment.

283PhoenixTerran
Jan 21, 2009, 3:56pm Top

282>Where do books that contain both fiction and nonfiction go?

Maybe that's what a literary collection is? Of course, that's now been combined with literary criticism...

284lorax
Jan 21, 2009, 4:01pm Top

278>
I just want to remind everyone that this is a system being made for libraries, not bookstores.

Well, yes, obviously, but if it's an explicit rejection of existing library classifications, it must be because you see problems with those, so comparing it to Dewey or the LC system won't get us very far. Bookstores provide another point of comparison, and the existing classification seems more similar to that of a bookstore than a library.

I'm willing to admit you know more about libraries than I do, but you seem very unwilling to admit that people with subject expertise might have anything useful to add. If you wanted to keep this a librarians-only party, why did you open it up for general comments?

285vpfluke
Jan 21, 2009, 4:17pm Top

Regarding Transportation, although now not a top category, I think we can see that it might be second or third level subject in:

Techonology & Engineering
Social Science/Economics
Travel & Geography

Most of my transportation books would come under the second or third groups.

286tcarter
Jan 21, 2009, 4:21pm Top

>277 laena:

I appreciate both of your points, LT isn't a library, and doing this thing right is going to be a lot of work.

But if OSC is to bring something to the categorisation party it has to leverage LT's strengths, even though that runs the risks of introducing some of it's weaknesses. Otherwise we run the risk, as noted by others, of just providing a tweak to other classification systems rather than being truly innovative.

But I don't think that we can wait until the top level is rigid before going to the second level. In fact, the very fact that sub-category threads and groups have sprung up so quickly supports this intuition. The system will need to remain flexible enough for a while for promotion up and down the tree of categories if it becomes evident that this is sensible for any given category for quite long time into the project.

287jjwilson61
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 4:57pm Top

So, summing up 279, my top level would be,

ARTS
BIOGRAPHY ETC.
BUSINESS
FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS
FICTION
POETRY
HEALTH & FITNESS
HISTORY
HOUSE & HOME
PHILOSOPHY & RELIGION
POLITICS
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
SOCIAL SCIENCE
RECREATION
TRAVEL & GEOGRAPHY

and I think we need a GENERAL category for things like encyclopedias that encompass several areas at once.

That's 48 categories down to 15 which I think is manageable. Comments?

288Carnophile
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 6:53pm Top

Maybe this book has the answer to all our questions.

I seriously couldn't think of where to categorize it, though.

Edit: Awww, somebody else had already mentioned it.

289laena
Jan 21, 2009, 5:18pm Top

Ah, the heat and passions of classification! Please don't be offended by criticisms, this is a work in progress and there are no wrong answers--you should see the dirt thrown on the pro-cataloger's listserv :)

290GirlFromIpanema
Jan 21, 2009, 5:35pm Top

#267: ""I would argue that it's not necessarily about personal specialities, but about putting yourself into the mindset of users/browsers and what they would want. I accept that thinking from an academic perspective would lead to more splitting than you'd expect in a public library. To be fair, Fiction is being treated in a similar fashion."

With fiction, that is what most people do (at home and in libraries): All fiction in one category/one set of shelves, alphabetically, and pull out a few "special interest" subsets (sci-fi, women, etc.). That's how I do it at home. But after categorising the first page of my catalogue (non-fiction only for now), I can *see* that the science category will never do for my library (which is just a personal library of an average person NOT working in academia).

I have only 700 books but looking at my shelves I see that I use at least the following categories for "Science" : Agriculture (with subcategories), Botanics (including guides and keys), zoology (including guides and keys), climatology/meteorology, geology, chemistry, geography, hydrology (now there's a cross-sectional category!). Some of these are sharing a shelf but they are clearly grouped together, even if only 3 or 4 books.
Björn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist is Science, sure. But for me it is rather "Environment", in which category I have about 20 to 30 books with cross-sectional topics like Lomborg's. Real-life category, again, looking at my shelf, not theoretical. I didn't look to any library classification system, when I set it up, just tried to make it best accessible. Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers could go into Environment as well, but I have a number of Meteorology and Climatology books, so that's where I find this book.

Of course these categories could probably collected as subcategories under a few top categories, like Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science (as a cross-sectional category). But these are not as visible/clear-cut on my shelf.

As it is now, tags are more useful to me than the single OSC category "Science". I cannot categorise most of my non-fiction --and I will not categorise my fiction for now, because clicking on "fiction" 150 times is boring ;-).

291staffordcastle
Jan 21, 2009, 6:21pm Top

#204, 296 Architectural humor:
Motel of the Mysteries

#248 My local Barnes & Noble puts true crime right next to the mysteries - the relation between crime (true) and crime (fictional) overrides the difference between fiction and non-fiction.

292staffordcastle
Jan 21, 2009, 6:30pm Top

I have a question about the Photography bucket; I have quite a few books about photography. Some of them are how-to books: The Digital Photography Book; some of them are art books: A Book of Books; some are collections of antique photographs: The Victorian Art World in Photographs ; a few are history books: The Golden Age of British Photography. I'm really wondering which aspect of photography this category was meant to include.

293timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 9:00pm Top

>285 vpfluke:

I'm pretty anti Transportation as a top-level too. It would never be a top-level in a more traditional subject system, and unlike something like "history" it doesn't have the numbers to justify it jumping up on top.

294christiguc
Jan 21, 2009, 9:49pm Top

I don't know the reasoning you all are using, but the fact that "Languages. . ." is the only one out of alphabetical order is a bit confusing.

295jjwilson61
Edited: Jan 21, 2009, 10:04pm Top

I can't agree with taking a second-tier category and promoting it to first just because it's popular. That leads to things like Music and Performing Arts being on the same level which is confusing because someone may be looking for Music and find Performing Arts and look for it there and not find it.

296timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 10:06pm Top

>295 jjwilson61:

The alternative is to have a top level too abstract to grok. That said I agree that you shouldn't have both a child and its parent on the top level, when that's particularly grievous.

297jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 10:09pm Top

I don't agree that just because tags for Beliefs or Humanities are uncommon on LT that that means that they are too abstract to grok.

298timspalding
Jan 21, 2009, 10:19pm Top

>297 jjwilson61:

So, the question is, why do bookstores dispense with more abstract bucket-buckets like "Social Science" and mostly use headings like "History" and "Economics"? Do they do it because they're stupid, or because findability is not about creating perfectly consistent subject trees?

We're already had a smart, informed person say they didn't know what was in it, and others claim economics isn't one. Isn't that evidence?

299jjwilson61
Jan 21, 2009, 11:49pm Top

Bookstores don't need it because they can get nearly the same effect by just grouping the categories in the same area of the store. But if OSC is going to be written down it's going to need a name to fill those top level slots. Or you could just designate that whenever the categories are listed they are clumped into groups without necessarily naming the groups.

300timspalding
Jan 22, 2009, 12:03am Top

Anonymous classifications—like anonymous functions in a programming language. Excellent.

301PortiaLong
Edited: Jan 22, 2009, 12:15am Top

In 170 I was one of the ones who thought there were too many TOP levels - I'm a lumper and tend to chunk alot of things together. So today I was thinking about how I think about this -

First big split - Fiction/Nonfiction - giving one top category to Fiction and a zillion to Nonfiction leaves all those fiction works essentially uncategorized at all except a few (seemingly random subgroups). I would give them roughly equal "top" billing - say 1/2 dozen BIG buckets in each - with a few spare buckets:

My big buckets would be:
(Fiction buckets):
General Fiction
Science Fiction and Fantasy/Horror
Thrillers, Crime and Mystery
Romance and Westerns
Plays and Poetry
Graphic Fiction


(Nonfiction buckets)
Science and Technology
Social Sciences
Arts, Lifestyle and Recreation
History and Current Events
Philosophy and Religion
General Works/Reference

Bio/Autobio/Memoirs


So then, as an amusing game, I had to figure out where, in my BIG BUCKET scheme all the current "Top" level categories would go (and how far out the tree some of them ended up- subject to endless debate of course).
*=current top level category from msg 227

(Obviously this isn't exhaustive - I had to flesh it out enough to give some of the current "top" levels someplace to hang)

(FICTION)
General Fiction (includes Humor* if it doesn't go elsewhere and Literary Collections*)
- Literary Criticism*
Science Fiction and Fantasy/Horror
Thrillers, Crime and Mystery
Romance and Westerns
Plays and Poetry
Graphic Fiction
* (comics, manga, etc.)

NON-FICTION
Science* and TechnologyThe study of STUFF (research and applications)
- Agriculture*
- Biological Sciences
- Computers*
- Engineering*
- Mathematical Sciences
- Medicine
- Physical Sciences
Social Sciences* – The study of PEOPLE and SOCIETY (research and applications)
- Law* and Politics
- Economics and Business*
--o Careers*
- Sociology
- Psychology
- Education*
--o Study Aids*
- Languages and Linguistics*
Arts, Lifestyle and Recreationstuff we enjoy
- Art and Design
--o Architecture*
--o Art*
----- Performing Arts*
-------• Drama*
----- Music*
--o Design*
- Lifestyle and Home
--o Cooking and Food*
--o Family and Relationships*
----- Sexuality*
--o Gardening*
--o Health and Fitness*
--o Pets*
--o Self-Help*
- Hobbies, Sports and Recreation*
--o Antiques & Collectibles*
--o Crafts and Hobbies*
--o Film and Television*
--o Games*
--o Travel* (currently combined with geography)
History* and Current Eventsstuff that happened
--o Military*
--o Geography* (?)
--o True Crime*
Philosophy* and Religion* - stuff to look at your navel with
--o Metaphysics and Occult*
General Works/Reference
--o Libraries and Archives*

Bio/Autobio (includes memoirs)*

A big section that is missing for me is Personal Finance/Investing - I'd either put it under Lifestyle/Home or Social Science and Economics.

Now you all know way to much about how my brain is organized...

302E59F
Jan 22, 2009, 12:18am Top

So, the question is, why do bookstores dispense with more abstract bucket-buckets like "Social Science" and mostly use headings like "History" and "Economics"? Do they do it because they're stupid, or because findability is not about creating perfectly consistent subject trees?

Bookstores do it because they want to lump in lots of other stuff that isn't social science, like business with economics, or politics with political science, or social commentary with sociology. Because normal people don't buy actual economics or political science or sociology books if they don't have to. They tend to be boring. But they do occur in libraries. And if you're actually looking for the latest work on institutional regimes or collective action theory, you know what social science is.

Since LT is so anti-self-published authors, apparently, can we have a section for "Vanity Press Authors and other Bozos"?

Yeah, you could even start the label with "WARNING:".

303GirlFromIpanema
Edited: Jan 22, 2009, 5:53am Top

#301, PortiaLong:
:-)
Something to hang my hat on! I'll have to think about your Science tree... Computers and Agriculture as own categories... maybe Andyl can give input on this, too. Are there any other scientists, engineers, computer professionals reading this?
(Off to work, be back in a few hours.)

304andyl
Jan 22, 2009, 4:05am Top

I'm pretty happy having Computers lumped with Science but then the focus of the books I have are to the programming/computer science end of the spectrum. The far end of the computer science spectrum can shade into maths anyway. However for the guy who is looking for books on how to use Windows, or books on business apps or computer games I don't think that it is a great solution. I think Computers (like photography) is one of those categories which is really two things mushed together but in reality the connection between them is fairly weak.

305bcobb
Jan 22, 2009, 4:58am Top

Interesting, but a couple of comments:

I tried a few of these a couple of randoms, (which perplex me as they seem really hard to be certain about if one hasn't the book in hand for much non-fiction) and then some from my own library which I know well.

Once or twice the grid containing the choices apparently misloaded (despite several hits on the F5 to "reload" the page). What I saw was uneven length columns that were missing some categories. In the instance I was looking at, "cooking" was missing, so I gave up on that book.

However, I found that many of my books couldn't find a right home because they are natural history in a general sense (meaning not field guides). They're not travelogues, but not pure science either. Where do they go? Plus I didn't see any subfields, am I missing something?

And of course, my constant plea to make sure any add-ons don't bog down the downloading time for us sloooooow connection folks. It seemed somewhat slower - is it possible to have a way that I can expand the new feature as necesssary rather than have the whole she-bang have to load every tme I look at a work page? Then folks with high-speed connections could tick "always open these fields", and those of us on slower connectins could opt for it on a case-by-case (or user period) basis.

cobb

306GirlFromIpanema
Edited: Jan 22, 2009, 5:52am Top

Quick remark (I had some time to think, while waiting for something): As far as top level categories go, how about putting Agriculture and Gardening together? On my real-life shelves, these are close to each other (Gardening is on the shelf above Agriculture), and I seem to remember that my library has those close to each other as well. I do wander from one field to the other (looking up stuff on fertilisers in my Agriculture books, that my Gardening books don't answer).
A non-Agricultural person (hobby gardener) would disregard the whole Agriculture branch and concentrate on Gardening.
Follow-up question: If someone is a professional Gardener (flowers grown professionally as supply for flower-shops), he would put his stuff under Gardening too, I suppose? At least that is how it would work in my native language.

307andyl
Jan 22, 2009, 6:10am Top

#306

Books for a professional gardener (flower-grower) should be in horticulture which I would put as a subcategory of Agriculture.
Incidentally I would rename Agriculture to Agriculture And Farming to be a bit more inclusive.

Books about gardening, gardens and allotments is more to do with home & lifestyle in my opinion.

308GirlFromIpanema
Edited: Jan 22, 2009, 7:33am Top

#306: But then there's the question on how often we want to split a category. Gardening is technically a subset of "Agriculture and Horticulture", and there's overlap. I remember straying from one set to the other at my public library (and my Uni library had a category that encompassed both, so you'd find "hobby" stuff on plant diseases (for orchids, for example) next to "professional" stuff on pest management).
It doesn't really help to put them in totally different categories/places, I think, not in classification nor on real-life shelves.

309klarusu
Jan 22, 2009, 7:25am Top

I've started a continuation thread here as this one has topped the 300 mark.

310trollsdotter
Jan 22, 2009, 12:55pm Top

> 216

"Really? I would expect to find it with the other pet care and animal books, which is a section within the larger biology section. That's where those books actually are in the real bookstore I go to."

"Which bookstore? Let's compare systems."

Bay Books. All animal nonfiction books are in the same section. This includes animal identification books, general science books, farming, pet care, stories, etc.

311IaaS
Feb 15, 2009, 7:41pm Top

Don't you dare to put Architecture under Design, most of my architecturebooks will then be homeless, and there will be no other place for them.
This can only work for amateurs that do not know what architecture is about, but have bought som cute designbooks.

312laena
Feb 17, 2009, 2:46pm Top

this thread is closed! See the continuation thread.

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