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OSC Testing Begins ... (#2)

Build the Open Shelves Classification

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1klarusu
Jan 22, 2009, 7:24am Top

Original thread was getting very long so I've started this as a continuation.

PLEASE SEE ORIGINAL THREAD FOR FULL POST HISTORY

Here's the most up-to-date list that Laena posted at #227 on previous thread:

* 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

2jjwilson61
Jan 22, 2009, 9:18am Top

I think the idea was to look rethink the categories and not rely on how Dewey or LoC does it. And I believe that Gerdening is one of those cases that under Dewey is stuffed deep under Applied Sciences. But for most people Gardening books are another category of how-to book for the home, at least that's where most bookstores put them.

3jjwilson61
Jan 22, 2009, 9:19am Top

And here's my suggested shorter list:

ARTS
BIOGRAPHY ETC.
BUSINESS
FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS
FICTION
POETRY
HEALTH & FITNESS
HISTORY
HOUSE & HOME
PHILOSOPHY & RELIGION
POLITICS
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
SOCIAL SCIENCE
RECREATION
TRAVEL & GEOGRAPHY
REFERENCE

4klarusu
Jan 22, 2009, 9:21am Top

I would certainly think that the argument could be made for certain libraries wanting to shelve House, Home and Garden together without devolving in which case Gardening would fit here as a lower category. I don't like House and Home (and I hate that name anyway - repetitive concepts) and Gardening being separate.

5klarusu
Jan 22, 2009, 9:22am Top

Sorry jjwilson61, didn't mean to leave off your shorter list but I just posted Laena's because it was 'official' (note the 'inverted commas' ;) )

6GirlFromIpanema
Edited: Jan 22, 2009, 9:35am Top

I will think a bit more about the Agriculture/Horticulture/Gardening categories, and try to come up with a solution that doesn't split up collections all over the place.
(At the moment, my count of un-categorisable books stands at 26 out of 300 books I looked at, Environment, Conservation, Forestry, Soil, Geography, Maps, Geology and others).

7vaneska
Jan 22, 2009, 9:28am Top

Agreed that House & Home is pretty awful as well as being repetitive and inaccurate - food not necessarily having anything to do with the home. I liked PortiaLong's buckets in the previous thread and thought her 'Arts, Lifestyle and Recreation' pretty good.

v

8reading_fox
Jan 22, 2009, 9:45am Top

My shorter list would be

Fiction (adult)
Fiction (children's)
Fiction (YA)
Non-Fiction
Poetry / drama
Graphic novels and comics

9andyl
Edited: Jan 22, 2009, 11:55am Top

I mentioned BIC previously. It may be interesting for people to see what they have as their top levels.

The arts…
Biography and True Stories…
Language…
Literature and literary studies…
English language teaching (ELT)…
Fiction and related items…
Reference, information and interdisciplinary subjects…
Humanities…
Society and social sciences…
Economics, finance, business and management…
Law…
Medicine…
Mathematics and science…
Earth sciences, geography, environment, planning…
Technology, engineering, agriculture…
Computing and information technology…
Health and personal development…
Lifestyle, sport and leisure…
Children’s, young adult and educational…

They also do something for libraries called E4Libraries. They don't have a tree like structure but just list about 60 or so categories. They do however list broad category shelfmarks which are as follows

General - Generalities; Libraries and Museums
Basic Skills - Basic Skills; ELT
Computers and IT - Computers and IT
Religion and Belief - Religion; Philosophy; Customs and Folklore;Paranormal
Society - Media Studies; Social Studies; Politics and Government; Law; Crime; Education
Business and Money - Economics; Careers; Finance and Accounting; Business and Management
Language and Literature - Languages; Literature; Humour
Science - Science; Popular science; Environment and Ecology
Technology and Industry - Technology; Industry; Transport; Farming and Country Life
Body and Mind - Psychology; Health and Fitness; Beauty and Fashion
Home and Family - House and Home; Food and Drink; Gardening; Pets;Child Care; Family and Relationships; Advice and Rights
Sport and Leisure - Sport; Hobbies and Games; Antiques and Collecting; Crafts
Arts - Art and Design; Architecture and Planning; Music;Photography; Performing Arts
Geography and Travel - Geography; Travel and Tourism; Travel Guides
History and Warfare - History; Warfare and Defence

For both of their lists they treat fiction separately.

It is interesting in the detailed E4Libraries list it handles how to map from some BIC to E4L shelfmarks. For example E4L has "Farming and Country Life". That contains books that are distributed in 5 of the BIC top level categories.

Anyway these lists are good. Firstly they can highlight different terms and maybe help identify gaps which our proposals don't adequately cover.

10klarusu
Jan 22, 2009, 10:00am Top

reading_fox, my personal opinion is that I wouldn't use age-related terminology like 'adult' or 'young adult' to define a top level category. I don't like the age-labelling precedent.

11reading_fox
Jan 22, 2009, 10:09am Top

klarusu

Well I wouldn't grumble over:

Fiction
Non-Fiction
Poetry / drama
Graphic novels and comics

but personally I'd find it a bit odd if where the wild things are was next to animal farm

12BarkingMatt
Jan 22, 2009, 10:11am Top

Also - reading_fox - I don't like all non-fiction getting lumped together. Or rather, imho that would only be acceptable in a two way split top level "fiction / non-fiction" - each to be subdivided obviously.

13andyl
Jan 22, 2009, 10:12am Top

I think YA is a very poor thing to be using.

Where should Ender's Game go. It was first published as adult SF. It is still works as adult SF but it has been republished as YA. It is far from the only one - Shetterley's Dogland has also been treated in the same way. Even The Wheel Of Time has been repackaged for a YA market. Whilst we can all agree that someone like Diane Wynne Jones writes YA fiction it gets awfully wiggly at the edges as the books I mentioned earlier show.

14jjwilson61
Jan 22, 2009, 10:26am Top

A good observation was made on one of the related threads and since I haven't seen Tim or Leana respond in any but this main thread I thought I'd copy it here and get there comments. This is my response to that observation:

That's a great point. By making Comics and Graphic Novels a separate category it forces all libraries using this system to keep these things separate. If it wasn't a separate category then libraries could still decide to keep it separate but they could also decide to intermingle them. Eliminating the C & GN category would give libraries more choice.

Expanding on that, I recall a thread from a while back about using an additional facet for things like YA and DVD that each library wanted to make separate. Each library was free to define whatever facets suited their purposes; the OSC would just define a space for it in their label. So, if this facet is an official part of the OSC system then Comics and Graphic Novels are a perfect use for them.

15reading_fox
Jan 22, 2009, 10:52am Top

#12 "I don't like all non-fiction getting lumped together. Or rather, imho that would only be acceptable in a two way split top level "fiction / non-fiction" - each to be subdivided obviously.
"

That's precisely my point. If Romances and Thrillers and Crime are all to be lumped together at top level then Animals and Science and Religion should be too.

16klarusu
Jan 22, 2009, 10:59am Top

In my local library, physically on the library floor, all the fiction is in one section, all the non-fiction another. Then, within each there is sub-division. Just like my local bookstore, fiction downstairs, non-fiction upstairs. What I think this current proposal does is ignore the unspoken highest level functionality of that first divide for non-fiction, refusing to accept that it is a category in itself, whereas it argues for it for fiction. There is no balance.

17klarusu
Edited: Jan 22, 2009, 11:02am Top

but personally I'd find it a bit odd if where the wild things are was next to animal farm

True enough but I just don't like age-levelling as a top-level divide. By the same merit, I would find it very odd to have the graphic novel of any particular work shelved immediately adjacent to its regular novel form (which is really in answer to #14)

18reading_fox
Jan 22, 2009, 11:02am Top

#16 I totally agree. It is also my argument for an Age division at top level, because in Bookshops and Libraries that is how books are shelved.

19klarusu
Jan 22, 2009, 11:05am Top

#18, I come from the anti-age-band camp generally, so would vehemently fight to keep any acknowledgement of it out of a cataloguing system as far as possible. I would categorise by description, such as 'picture book' rather than an age distinction.

20jjwilson61
Jan 22, 2009, 11:21am Top

Well, another argument against the Comics and Graphic Novels category is what are the levels under it going to be? If a Graphic Novel can be of any subject (see Maus or Marx for Beginners) then you will just end up repeating the whole category structure one level down which is just nuts.

I think part of the resistance to having categories of Fiction at the top level is that they are more fluid than categories of Non-Fiction. Sure, there are categories like Mystery that are pretty well defined, but new categories arise all the time like Steampunk. But I don't think that's any reason that we couldn't have some broad categories at the top level as they should be pretty stable.

21jjwilson61
Jan 22, 2009, 11:23am Top

And why is this thread so wide? Is it msg #9? andyl, please check your message and see if you can do something about it forcing a wide page.

22tardis
Jan 22, 2009, 11:45am Top

I thought PortiaLong had some good points in message 301 of the previous thread.

I especially liked the concept of having at the top level only 2 buckets - Fiction and Nonfiction. If we're looking for a system with scalability, those are the two most basic categories. Libraries can subdivide both, either or neither.

I'm not totally in agreement with her subdivisions - for example, in Fiction I would not put Romance and Westerns in one category and I still think graphic novels are just other kinds of fiction with pictures, but it is an interesting starting point.

23andyl
Jan 22, 2009, 11:54am Top

#21

Probably. It fits in my browser without horizontal scrolling so I thought it was OK. I will go back and re-edit so as not to piss people off unnecessarily.

24tardis
Jan 22, 2009, 12:21pm Top

Speaking as a gardener who works in a library with an agriculture focus and having 25+ years of cataloguing experience using LC classification...

We're trying to develop a classification for libraries, not bookstores. The problem with putting Gardening by itself as the bookstores do it is that most bookstores aren't catering to the professional level. All they have is the stuff aimed at home gardeners. Libraries often have both (maybe not so much the public libraries, of course - they probably have mostly the stuff aimed at amateurs).

In my work library it is important to shelve the books aimed at the professional grower/landscaper WITH the books aimed at the amateur because the professionals use both. There is also a relationship between the books aimed at the professional grower/landscaper and the books aimed at other kinds of farmers (books on weeds or pest management, for example).

Yes, growing flowers for the retail florist trade is agriculture and home gardening really isn't, but we need to think about the relationships between them and the associated subjects that relate to them (pests, weeds, diseases) before we arbitrarily split them.

25aqualectrix
Jan 22, 2009, 12:44pm Top

#17 By the same merit, I would find it very odd to have the graphic novel of any particular work shelved immediately adjacent to its regular novel form

Why? There are arguments to be made for shelving by format (hence not shelving, say, an audiobook next to a paper book), but it feels to me that the separateness of graphic novels is more a result of libraries and bookstores not knowing what to do with them. Is there a reason to not want them in with other books, or are we just uncomfortable with it because it's not what we are used to?

Alternately, even if you found it odd to see the graphic novel version, do you think this would improve your browsing experience?

26Topper
Jan 22, 2009, 12:56pm Top

>20 jjwilson61:

I think genre fiction at the top level is a bad idea. Put them underneath Fiction > Genre as Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, Western, and Mystery (or whatever the consensus is--I don't have an opinion). Public libraries probably will split them out into genre, anyway--alphabetical by title--and if they have another genre to segregate as an exception then it won't matter much because there's no call number sequence to screw up. And if there are not enough items in a genre to segregate (or the library doesn't want to), there will also be a place for them under either Fiction or Fiction > Genre. But if you put them at the top level, the system becomes less flexible for those institutions using it. As for age-labeling, it's annoying in an abstract sense but necessary for shelf browsing.

The reason I think there are more non-fiction categories at the top is because this is where the real problems are with the Dewey Decimal System.

27GirlFromIpanema
Jan 22, 2009, 1:24pm Top

Yay, tardis! I thought I was all alone here :-).

"In my work library it is important to shelve the books aimed at the professional grower/landscaper WITH the books aimed at the amateur because the professionals use both."

That is the *exact* problem I am facing with my personal library at the moment, when I am trying to apply the OSC categories that are there...- some stuff is pure Gardening (potted plants), other not so much (composting). Actually, I have shelved one book on composting with gardening, and there is another that is shelved with waste management (large scale composting/compost works stuff).

I am open to any discussion of this (I am not a librarian though, just a user with professional background in Agriculture and Environmental Studies.

(...we need more people with a science/engineering background in this... where are you?)

28vpfluke
Jan 22, 2009, 2:17pm Top

Although I tend to agree that age related top categories are not good, it is true that nearly every library (public or private) and bookstore keeps children's books separate from 'adult' books. To the extent that we want categories to reflect what we actually do, we might find a children's category acceptable. I am uncomfortable, though, with YA as a category, as it mushes into adult categories. In my local public library I see adult novels in YA, and presume that either they are on a 'reading list' or else these are books that adults think teenagers should read.

29abbottthomas
Edited: Jan 22, 2009, 2:35pm Top

Went to Waterstone's today to look at science shelving. Their two main categories seem to be Popular science and Academic science. I think this is a reasonably meaningful division in book terms. Anyone see any merit in it?

30DaynaRT
Jan 22, 2009, 3:06pm Top

>29 abbottthomas:
Those sound like arbitrary judgments based on 'intended' audience

31jjwilson61
Jan 22, 2009, 3:09pm Top

If a criterion is based on something then they aren't arbitrary. And every book has an intended audience; it shouldn't be too hard to figure it out.

32DaynaRT
Jan 22, 2009, 3:12pm Top

It shouldn't? It very often is.

33klarusu
Jan 22, 2009, 3:21pm Top

It would be difficult to categorise some books between 'popular' and 'academic' - OK, so some sit easily in the popular science category (I'm thinking about the bloody awful Matt Ridley books ... sorry, personal bug bear) but others not so much. Jared Diamond for example or Roger Lewin and Richard Leakey books, to name but a few. Also while you may class things like The Elegant Universe as popular science, it depends where you're standing on the scientific ladder. After all, what is a diversion at post-grad level, is a good grounding at A-level/Foundation ...

34lorax
Jan 22, 2009, 3:44pm Top

29>

I think that's a terrible idea.

Certainly there are cases at either end where the distinction is unambiguous -- Radiative Processes in Astrophysics is academic, The Stars: A New Way to See Them is popular-level (OTOH my wife, a professional astronomer (as I once was), says it has the best explanation of celestial motions she's ever seen, and has half-seriously suggested that she might use it as a supplementary text in an intro class. But I digress.) But what about a freshman-level text, which could easily be read by a layperson if they wanted a basic grounding in the field? Or something like A Brief History of Time, which is clearly intended for a popular audience but which some people may find too challenging?

35timspalding
Edited: Jan 22, 2009, 3:51pm Top

>30 DaynaRT:

I don't agree with the split. I think most public libraries will have books with the range of laymen, not academic. But I disagree with the opposition to "arbitrary judgments based on 'intended' audience." Unless you shelve by size or color, is no way to split books that doesn't rely on their reception--in this case where people will expect to see them and what they expect to be around them. Are history and biography separate or not? We could have a fight over it. (Plutarch says yes, and that's good enough for me!) But most public library readers think of them as separate, and the system is for them.

36DaynaRT
Jan 22, 2009, 4:10pm Top

>35 timspalding:
My public library doesn't split up academic/popular books. Bill Bryson is next to Lyle Campbell in the 400s.

37jjwilson61
Jan 22, 2009, 4:23pm Top

Don't most public library readers expect to find books where they are usually found in public libraries, which basically means Dewey? If that's the case then what are we doing?

38timspalding
Jan 22, 2009, 4:56pm Top

The goal should be more intuitive than Dewey. And free.

39jjmcgaffey
Jan 22, 2009, 11:59pm Top

I'm a pretty strong lumper as well. There are a lot of top-level categories that I'd look for under others (in my personal library, in a standard (Dewey) library, or in a bookstore). The one that's currently annoying me most is Pets - that is waaaaay too specific. Animals as a top-level might work, Pets - no way.

I like jjwilson61's set in Msg 3 in this thread. There were a few subjects (that I have a lot of books in) that I couldn't place - but then I looked at PortiaLong's sub-buckets in Msg 301 in the first thread. I like. I wouldn't have thought to place Language and Linguistics under Social Sciences - but as soon as I saw it there it clicked for me.

So my list would be something like:

Fiction (subdivided into genres and formats - argue about placement of ie graphic novels)
Poetry
Drama

Arts (fine arts definitely. Crafts? Graphic novels/manga (no, under Fiction)?)
Biography (autobiography, memoir, etc)
Business (maybe. Or under Social Sciences)
Health & Fitness (maybe. Or under Home. Or Recreation)
History (& current events? By the time it's written about, it's gotta be history...)
Home (DIY, hobbies, crafts, pets as distinct from animals(?))
Philosophy & Religion (including Occult/Paranormal/etc)
Politics (maybe. Probably under Social Sciences)
Science & Technology (hard stuff (as in solid, not difficult) - the way things work. Physics, chemistry, biology (incl. ecology, animals, agriculture...), etc)
Social Sciences (people and relationships (culture, language, politics, economics...)) (maybe a different label for this one?)
Recreation (games (board/card/etc), sports, fitness(?)...)
Travel & Geography
Reference

Aside from the inflation of minor subjects to top-level (yes, sorry, I wasn't contributing while these were being built), there are just too many top-level subjects for me. Antiques and Collectibles, for instance, might fit into several categories for me - Arts, Hobbies, Home...But I'd never look for it at the top. With that long a list, I glaze over half-way through.

40timspalding
Edited: Jan 23, 2009, 12:31am Top

So, I think the notion of many top-level categories still stands. But I'm troubled.

Some ideas:

1. At the moment we are just talking about terms. Later we can do terms within terms. Do we NEED to decide if something is top-level or not now?

Can't we put pets on the top level and, if needed, tuck it somewhere else later? At some level asserting pets as a top level isn't to assert its structure in the final tree, but to assert that pet books are a worthwhile category—something we want to exist and be important. Public library patrons surely find them so. We don't want pets distributed all over the place because pets aren't a serious topic.

I propose this first because I want to defer arguments and because, if we can defer this decision, I feel we'll be in better shape to assess it later, once we've done some secondary levels.

2. Can we solve this through order? If we put pets next to biology or house and home, we've associated them. That they don't live under a common "things we own and keep in a house" doesn't matter.

3. I'd love to get a straigtforward defense of many top-levels here, and then we can try voting on it. I'm not too enthusiastic about that prospect—I think it cheapens the process. So maybe instead we can speak about what we can live with and what we can't, and where compromise and deferred solutions can live.

41jjwilson61
Jan 23, 2009, 1:24am Top

I've written several times for why 48 is too many for a top level. What are the arguments for it?

42timspalding
Edited: Jan 23, 2009, 2:39am Top

So, the goal is to make things findable by public library patrons. It is not to:

1. Structure reality.
2. Teach patrons you are smart.
3. Make sure patrons know their mental categories are wrong.

Take a moment and look at the Main Dewey classes and try to figure out where Parenting goes.

000 Computers, information & general works
100 Philosophy & psychology
200 Religion
300 Social sciences
400 Language
500 Science
600 Technology
700 Arts & recreation
800 Literature
900 History & geography

Parenting--Is it Philosophy, maybe under ethics? Is it psychology? That seems right. Or maybe it's a sort of ghetto social science? If not, it must be under "General works." Right?

Give up? All wrong. Parenting in the 600s. It's Technology!

Why? Because Technology includes "Applied Sciences" (a term library parents are likely to associate with test tubes, not children).

But don't for a minute imagine these things can't be explained to library patrons. As OCLC's intro to Dewey has it:

"Class 600 is technology. Technology consists of utilizing the sciences to harness the natural world and its resources for the benefit of humankind."

That's very edifying—a very good definition of technology. But it doesn't explain why "parenting," "pets," "health" and "business" are considered technology. Only in cataloger-la-la-land is it acceptable to prattle on about these high-level concepts and then confound all normal human expectations by making tax advice, breast examination and ferret enthusiasm a subset of technology.

There is an alternative to top-level idiocy. New and used bookstores organize books into categories like "Computers" or "Parenting" without an artificial superstructure above it. They know that people are better at looking for terms they know than working through trees making guesses about the intent of the designers. And they don't consider the system to be part of the goal. (Don't think I'm making that up. We've had discussions on AUTOCAT about the "educative" role of Dewey.)

So, ten categories is silly. There's no way to slice the world up into ten categories and make it intuitive where books go. Nor is there anything magical about ten—Dewey wanted ten for the same reasons he liked the metric system and invented languages, he wanted to remake the world, neatly. The world is not ten-shaped* and neat. The real world is messy. And in the real world people come into a library looking for parenting.

So, the goal should be to have as many categories as are needed for most regular people to be able to guess where a book might be without too much thinking about the system.

That's why I'm fine with "Science" on the top level, but worry about "Social Science." Science is easy. But as this discussion shows, there's doubt what is social science and what isn't—and LibraryThing members are better informed than your average library patron. So, I'd keep science but elevate terms like "history." Everyone knows what History is.

Paying attention to findability, not abstract structure makes the system "lumpy" and "inconsistent." So what? Our brains and our brains' categories are lumpy and inconsistent too!

I don't know the number, but I think we can get away with fewer than 48. There are reasons you want to reduce the number if you can do so without affecting the basic principle. I doubt we can go below 25.

*After thinking about it for a while I have concluded that there is only one organization that can rationally claim to require a ten-based classification system. I speak, of course, of the "gifts" department of the Yakuza.

43GirlFromIpanema
Jan 23, 2009, 2:39am Top

jjmc: "The one that's currently annoying me most is Pets - that is waaaaay too specific. Animals as a top-level might work, Pets - no way."

Tim: "Can we solve this through order? If we put pets next to biology or house and home, we've associated them. That they don't live under a common "things we own and keep in a house" doesn't matter."

It still is a category that is too specific, and really is too special-interest IMHO. What makes it more important than my about 30 books with the theme "Environmental Studies" (which all go in one bucket with the rest of "Science" atm)?

The moment a pet book owner buys the first book about whales, wolves or kangaroos, the thing explodes, IMO. He has to put the book on whales on an other shelf than his books on saltwater aquarium fishes, or wolves in a different place than dogs. For me, those are in the same category.

44timspalding
Edited: Jan 23, 2009, 3:28am Top

>44 timspalding:

If I may, it seems like your goal is to enforce fairness, apportion importance and create a conceptually defensible system. My goal is to make sure people can glance at a list or some signs and know where a book is likely to be.

So, for me, to put "pets" lower would require putting it under a term that produces minimal doubt. I think pets can go lower. But I want it going somewhere that makes obvious sense to people, not putting it under technology because it's too unimportant for top billing.

45andyl
Jan 23, 2009, 3:58am Top

But lists and signs don't have to equal the top level of categories do they?

If a library knows it has a lot of patrons who want books about pets they can highlight the books on pets with a sign (and include it on the list/map) can't they?

On to pets in more detail. Would having Pets as a subcategory of Animals confuse someone looking for a book on caring for their dog? I don't think so. What about Nature / The Natural World? Is that too big a jump?

46GirlFromIpanema
Edited: Jan 23, 2009, 4:34am Top

"If I may, it seems like your goal is to enforce fairness, apportion importance and create a conceptually defensible system. "

Not neccessarily (although fairness is good ;-) ). I just don't want to crawl all over the place in my own library to find my books on plants or animals, because they are split in 2 or 3 categories. Having Pets as a category excludes a bunch of books on Wildlife that are not neccessarily "academic" (e.g. coffee-table book about whales), using Animals includes them. And is a category that is accessible to specialists as well as hobbyists. And I could, in my real-life library, put all books on Animals on one shelf, next to Agriculture and Gardening (which, incidentally, is how I have shelved them now, without using any classification :-) ).

Re: Importance: That *is* something to think about. At the moment, I am sorry to say, the OSC is heavily tilted towards the Arts and Letters. Probably because these categories were important to the people working on the first draft. I will go through my library in the next days and try to assign a category. I have already 25 books that don't fit anywhere, all of them from the "Science" bucket, mosty from the Environment and Conservation area. For me and for other people interested in Environment and Conservation, this probably should not be tucked away at level four below Biology or Physics. How important is "Environment" as a top level cat.? 40 years ago, it was not important/interesting at all, today it is a very important topic, and in 100 years time it will have waned a bit.

Just thinking aloud (and not looking up every term in the dictionary), and writing down an incomplete list for the Science category:

Plants
>Gardening
> (I'll have to think about this)
Animals
>Wild Animals
>Domestic Animals
>Pets
>Man/Humans (ha!)
The Environment
>Conservation
>Ecology
>(I'll have to think about this)
Earth
>Geology
>Geography
>Meteorology, Climate
Universe
>Astronomy
>other Planets
>Space Travel

Edited to add: Just found the thread "What about nature?" http://www.librarything.de/topic/55571 and posted it there, too, for discussion.

47klarusu
Jan 23, 2009, 4:47am Top

So, based on what Tim said in #42 (and bearing in mind I was in the 'split science' camp), retraining the brain, I asked myself:

If I walked into a library and wanted to find a biology text or a geology text, would it confuse me to first walk to the Science section? Have to say, no. In which case, I recant, Science could be split by further levels.

Same question:

Would I intuitively go to Social Science for Language and Linguistics books? No, I wouldn't. It would require asking or looking for directions as to where they were shelved. So I would stick with that as a top level.

Same question again in a different way:

Where would I go to find a book on ghosts (no idea, so maybe 'metaphysics' isn't the best term), a Shakespeare play (I'd be torn between Performing Arts and Drama ... these should possibly lower level or better defined), Encyclopaedia Britannica (wouldn't have the faintest idea), a bird/animal/tree guide (again, not clear so maybe this needs better addressing at top-level).

My two pennies!

48timspalding
Jan 23, 2009, 5:03am Top

Thank you for playing along. I agree with your problems.

For Shakespeare I'd look under Literature. Drama would throw me. Performing arts wouldn't. I'd assume plays were in drama, and books about the theatre would be in PA.

Tim

49reading_fox
Jan 23, 2009, 5:09am Top

Maybe we're approaching this in the wrong way. Instead of starting with subjects and checking whether Jo Bloggs would be able to find a book, perhaps we should be starting with a list of books Jo Bloggs is likely to ask for in a Public Library. (is such a list available or should we guess?)

Shakespere seems like a good bet,
Pets
Health
Various fictions
Various hobbies: woodworking, knitting, cars, computers,
Cooking
History
I'm sure there are more.

All of these should then be the top level categories, with the more traditional ones tucked in underneath.

50klarusu
Edited: Jan 23, 2009, 5:26am Top

I would certainly keep Psychology as top level because I would want a one-stop-shop for Psychology (otherwise you're going to get the cognitive stuff under Science ... we have a cognitive psychology division in our Life Sciences department ... and the social science side of it under Social Sciences ... which again we have at our uni ... they called themselves Psychology In Social Sciences when they split ... rather unfortunate acronym ... but I digress). I think it would be fair to say that it is intuitive to walk in an want to find a single Psychology section with further division as this is very much a split discipline.

ETA, even that real life split didn't work well ... they're merging them again now after a short time

51abbottthomas
Jan 23, 2009, 7:13am Top

I like the way this thread is going in the last post or two. I am also rather bothered by the 'value' some folk seem to be placing on being a top level category. Does it actually matter if a category which has a heavy representation in one's own library is top-level or sixth-level (or wherever we stop). I for one will be shelving my books as I do now, regardless. I have listed 100+ opera programmes; I don't think they are devalued by being "Arts - Music - Classical - Opera - programmes" rather than "Opera programmes".

Unconfused searchability is crucial, however, and if I needed to look for a book about keeping domestic cats, I think I'd find it easier to go to "Pets" than "Science-Biological Sciences-Zoology-Mammals-Cats-Domestic-Pets". That doesn't mean that I think that cats are more important than Der Rosenkavalier ;-) In my own library, my 3-4 cat books nuzzle up to rather more bird books and seashore guides.

52jmgold
Jan 23, 2009, 7:53am Top

49: I think there's a lot of value in using your approach that approach toward designing this system. Although it can cause some problems of course. I'm pretty sure the inclusion of memoirs as a top level category distinct from biographies, which everyone seems to hate (including me actually) was my fault. But it's there because of the demand in my particular library where patrons like having that as a browsable collection. I'm pretty sure that how true crime made the list as well.

53GirlFromIpanema
Jan 23, 2009, 8:06am Top

" I am also rather bothered by the 'value' some folk seem to be placing on being a top level category. Does it actually matter if a category which has a heavy representation in one's own library is top-level or sixth-level (or wherever we stop)."

Well, we *are* discussing top level at the moment, not third-level. Sorry, if I am coming across a bit as a nag, but it seems that I am the only one trying to make sense of the large "Science" category ATM here (someone pulled up an older thread on "Nature" this morning, though). And we need to seriously think about cross-topic categories (such as the already mentioned "Environment" category, and "Architecture", which encompasses engineering, design, art history,...). Should they indeed get their own listing (makes sense in terms of findability, otherwise they'll be split over 3-4 categories)?

54klarusu
Jan 23, 2009, 8:21am Top

I think if Science is the top, it is perfectly reasonable to have Environment as a sub-level. If I walked into a library and wanted to find books on the environment I would definitely head for the science section. If it's handled under top-level Science, it could also be arranged in physical proximity to Ecology as they are two sciences that often overlap but are distinct. If you put Environment at top level, where does that leave Ecology (which, to my mind, is too specific for top-level).

You're not the only one trying to make sense of Science, but as I said in #47, I'm happy to concede that a top-level Science category would work, especially in the context of a non-academic, public library (which is the intended main user of this system, I believe).

As for Pets, I'm still not convinced it's top-level. Applying the same reasoning regarding findability, I would certainly not think that pet owner would be unable to make an intuitive leap to think that pets may be under Animals, which could then include ID guides etc (doesn't help with plants and trees though - I'd love a sub-level category under something for Natural History ...)

55Aerrin99
Jan 23, 2009, 8:24am Top

I think the posts in 47 and 49 make a good point - although I have been sitting here being annoyed about the 'Science' top level as well, I /do/ see that no one is really going to be confused about where to find physics or biology books if they're under science, whereas 'Social Science' (while not, thank you very much, an /empty/ term) has less /popular/ usage. It's largely a term for academics, not the public at large, not high school students.

That said, what bothers me is that we have top-level categories that clearly look like they belong in lower level categories (we still have 'social science' as a category, for example, as well as some broken out things). To me, this is /intensely/ confusing for the patron.

If I'm heading off to look for psychology, I'd head straight to that section - if that happened to be what I saw on the list first. There's a decent chance, though, that what I saw on the list first was 'social science', and my brain would go 'oh, well of course it'll be in a section there'.

That's the sort of thing I'm wary of. When some categories seem like they should logically fit (not, mind 'are able to to be shoved and smooshed') into a broader category, I think that adds to rather than minimizes the confusion.

56abbottthomas
Jan 23, 2009, 8:51am Top

>53 GirlFromIpanema: Perhaps it is as good as impossible to discuss top-level categories in isolation - there are always going to be things pulled up or squashed down the pecking order.

I'm reasonably relaxed about unsplit Science as a top category, at least in part because I don't see that as a value judgement. My guess is that there may be quite a lot of libraries on LT in which Science has about the same impact as, say, Religion in mine. So, I keep a Bible with a Koran, a couple of books about Cathars and one or two Buddhist works all together. I tag them more precisely but only need a foot of shelf space.

My Science books are heavy on Medicine and Natural History, less on meterology and astronomy together with things like The Blind Watchmaker and A Short History of Nearly Everything. So I need two or three lower levels, at least, to tidily deal with my shelving - and to facilitate searching. I can't see the problem with this.

I'm not sure about 'cross-topic' categories - there has been discussion about Photography. I know I wouldn't look in the same place for the works of Cartier-Bresson (Photography/Art) as for Digital Photography for Dummies (Photography/Hobbies), nor would I have them sharing a shelf. I think I feel the same way about Architecture.

57nperrin
Jan 23, 2009, 9:21am Top

55: Yes, I share Aerrin's concern about some of the lumpiness being confusing for patrons. If I was looking for linguistics, and I saw that there was a category called "social science," that's where I would go--especially since I wouldn't expect a public library to have much of a linguistics section. I have done this before in real life. More than once, in fact. If social science exists, I'm going to expect the social sciences to be there.

58klarusu
Jan 23, 2009, 9:35am Top

Just throwing this out there, but if Social Science is confusing (and believe me, I think it is) then how about thinking about how we would split out that category at top-level to dispense with the 'Social Science' heading completely.

Wikipedia list the sub-branches as follows (I don't fully agree with this list, but it's a starting point for discussion):

Anthropology
Economics
Education
Geography
History
Law
Linguistics
Political Science
Social Work
Sociology
Communication studies
Development studies
Information science
International Relations
Legal management or Paralegal studies
Sociobiology

My questions would be:

1. What does Social Science encompass?
2. If we have a definitive list, how many of these would stand alone at top-level?
3. How would the rest be accomodated, under which top-level headings?

I think if we can answer these, we'd be in a good position to argue for the removal of Social Science completely.

59LinuxChristian
Jan 23, 2009, 9:37am Top

I my world of science there is a very bold line between "Science" and "Technology". The problem with science is that it can be many things and more are added every year. My proposal is to have two top-level categories: "Natural Science" and "Applied Science". This (i think) would make it easy to find things.
If you want something about theory you would look in Natural Science and if you are looking for how to apply the theory from natural science in the real world you would look in Applied Science. Then (to take a ex. from post #53) Environment would be in Natural Science if you are talking about animals Environment but if you are looking for something about waster treatment you would look in Applied Science.
This is also the reason tax advice should be under Applied Science (like it is under technology in DDC) because it is applied math.

I can see how this can be strange to some people but when you know the system it easy. But people have to use time to understand the system and would normal people who go to the library to find a book about pets take that time?
If the system is to be used in libraries it has to be simple to find the book you are looking for. Many top-levels will do this but also make the system very messy. I can see the reason for the many top-levels but the system would not be one I would use in my library because it would not help me find anything. The system has to be universal so both the public libraries and the geeks from LT who have 200 textbooks about computer science can use it.

60klarusu
Jan 23, 2009, 9:43am Top

I see where you're coming from LinuxChristian, but I'm a scientist and even I wouldn't know what to put in each category (but it could just be that I'm a very slow scientist!)

61Aerrin99
Edited: Jan 23, 2009, 9:51am Top

I agree that nixing Social Science entirely is better than having it there and yet not encompass all its subject areas. (Does this bring us back to a place near where we started? This must be frustrating for all those who have been involved in this for months, sorry!)

Some of this list is already covered:

GEOGRAPHY
HISTORY
LINGUISTICS
POLITICS
--> Political Science
--> International Relations

I think that some of the others stand alone:

ECONOMICS
EDUCATION

That leaves us with:

Anthropology
Law
Social Work
Sociology
Communication studies
Development studies
Information science
Legal management or Paralegal studies
Sociobiology

I think Anthro and Soc go in one category, but I'm not sure what to call it. Perhaps something that could encompass social work, maybe even law, as well? Something to do with society?

62klarusu
Jan 23, 2009, 9:52am Top

I'm not frustrated and I've been chipping in from the beginning Aerrin99, sometimes it takes 'testing' to see that something isn't right ... it's that simple. So I wouldn't worry.

63Aerrin99
Jan 23, 2009, 9:56am Top

Good to hear! I'm glad you all opened this for testing - I'm finding it fascinating!

64klarusu
Jan 23, 2009, 9:58am Top

"Communication studies"

I'd *love* to see a top-level for something like 'media' (although that's possibly not the best term). Something that could encompass journalistic writing (which doesn't really have a place right now) and things like communication studies etc. Although there might be issues about Film and Television (sub-category? poss?).

Anthro and Soc could sit well together I guess (especially if you consider the fact that anthropology constitutes both Physical and Social Anthropology), although heaven knows what it might be called ...

Law's top-level now and I think it should stay.

65jjwilson61
Jan 23, 2009, 10:09am Top

Those are good principles Tim, but I'm not sure they were applied consistently to get the current list. If we take the reasoning that it is obvious that Physics go under Science so Physics doesn't need to be a top level category, why doesn't that reasoning apply to Art and Music?

I think the worst thing is mixing levels. To have both Performing Arts and Drama is the worst of both worlds.

66andyl
Jan 23, 2009, 10:48am Top

Surely these -

Law
Legal management or Paralegal studies

can go together?

Information Science is a difficult one. Wikipedia has this to say about it Information science is often (mistakenly) considered a branch of computer science. However, it is actually a broad, interdisciplinary field, incorporating not only aspects of computer science, but often diverse fields such as cognitive science, commerce, communications, law, library science, management, mathematics, public policy, and the social sciences.. Seems to fit in a number of boxes.

67PhaedraB
Jan 23, 2009, 11:17am Top

#57 If I was looking for linguistics, and I saw that there was a category called "social science,"

I'd walk right past it and go for, I dunno, language arts? Never would I have thought linguistics is considered a social science. Ya learn somethin' new every day.

A Civilian.

68Aerrin99
Jan 23, 2009, 12:13pm Top

> 64 'Communications & Media', perhaps? That would also cover the 'journalism' category others were mentioning.

Ah, yes, I missed Law. Yes, it should stay, and Legal management or Paralegal studies does seem to go under it.

That would give us:

TRAVEL & GEOGRAPHY
HISTORY & CURRENT EVENTS
LANGUAGE & LINGUISTICS
POLITICS
--> Political Science
--> International Relations
ECONOMICS
EDUCATION
LAW
--> Legal management or Paralegal studies
COMMUNICATIONS & MEDIA
--> (Would then draw in TV and film?)
SOCIOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY (by a better name?)
--> Social work?

Which leaves us with:

Development studies
Information science
Sociobiology
Social Work

Information Science /might/ be a top level simply for lack of fitting elsewhere without difficulty, but... I find it hard to believe that many libraries have very many materials related to it. Perhaps this actually goes under the 'LIBRARIES AND ARCHIVES' section? That's what I think of with Info Science, anyway, but... I'm a librarian. ;)

I still dunno where Social Work goes - I almost put it under SOCIOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY, but perhaps it actually belongs in another category all together, like FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS?

I'm afraid I don't know much about the other two. Development studies (a multidisciplinary branch of social science which addresses issues of concern to developing countries. It has historically placed a particular focus on issues related to social and economic development http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_studies) seems as if it might go with Anthro and Soc.

Sociobiology (neo-Darwinian synthesis of scientific disciplines that attempts to explain social behavior in all species by considering the evolutionary advantages the behaviors may have. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociobiology) ... Um. I really have no idea.

69E59F
Jan 23, 2009, 12:20pm Top

I don't think it makes any sense to aggregate anthropology with sociology, if the other social sciences aren't included. Anthropology and sociology don't have much in common any more. If the idea is not to use entities that aren't in common use among the general public, then anthropology should be disaggregated and its components scattered among the various other places that it is related to - archaeology probably to geography or history, physical anthropology to biology, cultural and social anthropology to cultural studies or literary criticism (or, indeed, in some instances sociology), and linguistic anthropology to linguistics. In my experience, most people have no idea what anthropology comprises, and its scope varies quite a lot from one country to another as well.

Information science and development studies seem to present the same problem. I don't suppose their content is immediately obvious to the general public, and they connect with multiple of the more obvious categories.

70Aerrin99
Jan 23, 2009, 12:26pm Top

> 69 Anthropology and sociology don't have much in common any more.

Really? I often have trouble determining which is which! I would take the word of someone who is actually in the fields, though.

I think you may be right with splitting the sections of anthropology, since we are designing a system for public rather than academic libraries. Your breakdown seems to make some sense to me.

71jjwilson61
Jan 23, 2009, 1:49pm Top

If you don't have an umbrella category for the social sciences where do you put works that contain information about many or all of the social sciences, such as International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences.

72lorax
Jan 23, 2009, 2:11pm Top

44>

My goal is to make sure people can glance at a list or some signs and know where a book is likely to be.

Okay, then, the single most common comment I've seen from people here is "where the heck do the field guides/books about non-domestic animals go". Nobody's going to glance at those signs and say "Clearly this book about attracting birds to your backyard goes under Science." Replacing "Pets" with "Animals" may be conceptually dodgy, but it's still findable -- everyone knows that a turtle or a puppy is an animal, after all -- and also makes field guides and so forth findable. (It's also how all the bookstores I can think off off the top of my head do it -- books on pet care are next to the field guides, which are next to the books about wild animals.)

73Aerrin99
Jan 23, 2009, 3:23pm Top

> 71

In a desperately-needed reference category!

74jjwilson61
Jan 23, 2009, 4:49pm Top

I thought people wanted to put reference works on a given subject with that subject. But how about this one? Ideology in social science

75BarkingMatt
Jan 23, 2009, 5:38pm Top

I can see how putting reference works with their subjects would usually be okay. Historical atlases under history, a dictionary of painters under art, "normal"dictionaries under languages, fine... BUT, in that case where-o-where do I put my encyclopedia?

76comfypants
Jan 23, 2009, 6:26pm Top

>75 BarkingMatt: "normal dictionaries under languages"

If I were looking for a dictionary, and the library didn't have a reference section... I think I would just keep looking for the reference section, because it has to be here somewhere.

77klarusu
Jan 23, 2009, 6:33pm Top

I think the lack of a reference section is a BIG flaw with this classification system. I really think it needs one.

78timspalding
Jan 23, 2009, 6:42pm Top

How about we set up a large number of categories—50, or whatever—with the explicit plan that they can "tuck into" other categories. That is, we classify by branch, but at the level of an individual library, the branch can either be a branch of a tree.

In practice, the library sets up what they want to use. For example one library may want pets as a top level, or to keep all the reference together. They set up those preferences and the preferences map the classifications to the number system. In this scheme there would be equivalencies between numbers--P32.2 (Pets > Hairless > Grooming) woud correspond to A4.P32.2 (Animals > Fun > Pets > Hairless > Grooming).

Am I crazy?

79ExVivre
Jan 23, 2009, 7:04pm Top

#78 (Science > Medicine > Psychiatry > DSM-IV > Tim Spalding)

80careytilden
Jan 23, 2009, 8:13pm Top

#78

How much nesting should be allowed? I think each level in the hierarchy makes it harder to guess a particular book's category.

I would almost favor a flat list of 50 (or whatever) categories, with suggested groups. Categories keep similar books near each other, groups keep similar categories near each other. Libraries could choose to ignore either the groups or the categories: either shelving all the books from a particular group in sequence, or putting the categories in whatever physical arrangement they want. Though, maybe 2 levels isn't enough?

81vpfluke
Jan 23, 2009, 8:45pm Top

Specialist libraries may need more than two or even three levels. But the lowest levels might be optional.

82timspalding
Jan 24, 2009, 12:33am Top

I think we definitely need nesting, but with the option to chop the things off at a certain level, and do it subject-by-subject. So, if you're the Nantucket Island Public Library maybe you want fishing to include a whaling section, and maybe you want however it's subdivided (by country?). If you're in Iowa, maybe you're happy with a more general section on fishing.

>78 timspalding:

*I* think that's the answer.

83tcarter
Jan 24, 2009, 8:43am Top

>78 timspalding:

I did wonder about this a little while ago, but I think that maintaining equivalency would lead to you running out of numbers. One of the things that branching allows you to do is for the same code, P32, to signify different things on different branches. If it has to mean the same thing at different places in a possible tree, I think that you will run out of numbers, unless you make them so long that they become unwieldly.

84jjwilson61
Jan 24, 2009, 11:35am Top

78> Well Tim, I'm afraid you've stumped me. I've been trying to visualize how that would work in practice but I don't see it. I think it would be confusing not having the same materials being in the same place from library to library, even though they use the same system. Perhaps we need some real librarians to chime in?

85BarkingMatt
Edited: Jan 24, 2009, 11:40am Top

>84 jjwilson61:: Seems there are plenty of librarians chiming in : http://www.librarything.com/topic/40861

86GirlFromIpanema
Jan 24, 2009, 5:30pm Top

>#78: I can see it working, but only for the case of losing the top level. When you start chopping off branches and twigs, you inevitably will change the place a book gets classified under the reduced classification. Or, you remove the complete sublevel and lose the ability to finetune.

87KarenElissa
Jan 25, 2009, 1:05am Top

Well, I've been labeling books, and here are a few thoughts:

* I really don't understand what a memoir is and I've just been putting anything that talks about someone's life into bio/auto-bio. It just seems like all of that goes together.

* I'm not really sure what careers is for. Is it just for how to choose a career? I'd put anything about specific careers in that sections, ie biologist in the science section. If it is just for choosing a career, I'd put that together with education.

* I take it Drama is for plays and such and Performing Arts can include the magic book I ran across. That seems a bit too separated to me, I'd combine the two.

* I have no idea what I would find in Literary Collections, but maybe that is just because I don't read that? To me, it sounds like a collection of stories which would go under fiction, or essays which would just go in whichever section they are about.

* Is Military necessary? Wouldn't that fit under history or poli sci?

* I also don't really understand the True Crime category, it seems like that would be history since it is something that happened.

* It really would be nice to have some kind of Animals and nature category. While I can intellectually understand why things like bug and plant id books and such would fit under science, intuitively, it would take me awhile to think to look there.

88GirlFromIpanema
Jan 25, 2009, 6:55am Top

I think categories like Military, True Crime, Pets came into the list because they are of interest to many "average" people. But it also is culturally specific: Military history is more of a fringe topic in my country, for historical reasons --of course professional historians and the Army work on that, but the public is not interested much in the topic, consequently there are only tiny sections in any library I know. True Crime is also something that doesn't have a broad "following" here, judging by the number of true crime books I have seen (no special publisher's series that I am aware of).

Re: Animals and Nature category: In the "What about Nature" thread, we are trying to work out a set of categories for the Science section.

89IaaS
Jan 25, 2009, 7:17am Top

>Message 87, I agree with your thoughts.
* It annoyes me that I have no category for my animalbooks and no category for plantbooks. It was a book in the test about eatable plants with the way to use them and the toxic lookalike. It was no category for this book that was obvious.
* My petbooks I can catgorise now and it feels so wrong.
* Architecture on top level is a must for me, I have a whole room full of architecture-books. This category must never be sorted under art, just beside it. Architecture> garden architecture with gardening nearby.
* Photography should have a place on the top, not under art, because just some of the result is art.
* As for biography; all art, architect, philosophy, science biographys you will find in my library under the topics they worked with. Maybee this is strange ?

And for the testing"machine", I worked a little with this today and lost interest because it is mostly fiction that pops up and that is not the difficult thing to categorice when it is only one box to put it in.
If you could take away, that fiction pops up for this test it would be much more effective.

90BarkingMatt
Edited: Jan 25, 2009, 7:34am Top

>89 IaaS::

Architecture on top level is a must for me, I have a whole room full of architecture-books. This category must never be sorted under art, just beside it.

I do see your point - believe me - but what do I do with all the books that deal with both architecture and art to about the same extent? Being an art historian I have lots of those too.

Architecture> garden architecture with gardening nearby.

Yeah, another problem there. Is garden architecture architecture, or is it gardening?

Photography should have a place on the top, not under art, because just some of the result is art.

Really disagree with you on this. Sure - looking at quantity - most photography isn't high art, but the same must be said for drawing, painting, and sculpture. In the end photography is just another technique for making art work. Setting it aside from the others is really counterintuitive (for me).

91abbottthomas
Jan 25, 2009, 7:49am Top

>87 KarenElissa: I'd assumed that 'Military' was there for the large number of books about military 'stuff', (tanks, guns, fighter planes, uniforms, etc.) rather than military history, which I would shelve as a subset of History, for sure. I suppose you could put a book about the Spitfire WW2 fighter under History, too, or maybe Technology. There are many military memoirs which would be happy with the rest of the Biography works.

92IaaS
Jan 25, 2009, 8:00am Top

Maybee your right on photography, but then technique and result of the technique must be placed with the same in painting, drawing, etc. And the arthistory is another branch.

Garden Architecture is about how to make three-dimensional space to work in a certain way, just as in all architecture.
Gardening is about how to get plants to grow, and where they could be and it leeks into cooking and architecture and farming.

In my tagging of arthistory and achitechturehistory I have given those which are art in architecture and arttag too, but sorted them after topics in my shelves. I do not think this helped much.

93BarkingMatt
Jan 25, 2009, 8:35am Top

>92 IaaS::

Tagging the books isn't the problem, since you can apply multiple tags to any book. But classification is another matter.

To use one example from my library: do I put Art and Architecture in Italy 1600-1750 under art or under architecture? It's an excellent study of Italian baroque dealing with both, to the same extent.

I would tag this as: "italian art", "italian architecture", "Italy", "17th century" and "18th century" - so a search on any of these subjects in my catalog would produce it. But when it would come to actual shelving according to this classification system - where would I put this book?

There are, by the way, also many books dealing with the decorative arts ("antiques and collectibles", I guess) and either "art" or "architecture", or even both. Same problem, where would you put them according to this classification?

94IaaS
Jan 25, 2009, 9:29am Top

In a sense this is Architect-history, and the interior is under interior-architecture (you maybe call it interior design, we don't), even if it has been art.

So in my library everything that comes from architecture and have become art, and everything that helpes us make architecture is under the architecture-category.

I guess Antiques used for furnitures comes under Architectures, the other things under art & craft, under art.

95GirlFromIpanema
Edited: Jan 25, 2009, 9:56am Top

So we are on the second thread and still fighting whether Pets or Architecture merit a top level category...

Maybe it's simply completely wrong to try and find the "50 most important categories" for top level? Because an arrts&letters person will think about a top-level category of Environment differently than I as an engineering person do, and for me 50% of the arts&letters categories are uninteresting.

I invite you to look at what I tried to do for the Science "bucket" category:
http://www.librarything.com/topic/55571#1022495
I tried to find header categories, that would help a non-scientist to locate where his desired book might be.
Suppose I want a book about domestic cats (pet!). In my header category list there is "Animals & Humans". Bingo. From there I can dig deeper into the classification levels to find my pet book.
If I need something about star constellations, there's the header category The Universe. At the moment this covers only the Sciences part and misses the Applied Sciences, but I could imagine a category like "Home and its environment" that would include everything around home and community (not in the social sense), like cooking, food preparation, small scale gardening, garden architecture, even urban planning and management, etc. pp.
This would catch a number of the stray "don't know where to put it" categories AND would allow for interdisciplinary categories to be more easily found, I think.

Maybe I am asking to find the Theory of Everything, but what I was aiming at was not to break down the Science bucket into the already-know categories, but to extract "areas" of our daily life and try to put the different scientific categories in it. Still ruminating on the cross-sectional topics like Environment tough.
I am not an arts&letters person, so I haven't really thought how to apply this to the Humanities, but I think it could work there too.

I am not a librarian, far from it, just thinking aloud, so someone tell me if I am making sense, please :-).

96jjwilson61
Jan 25, 2009, 10:24am Top

IaaS is right that to most people photography is about making a record of your life, not art. Books of photographs would probably be Arts (what about sports photographs?) Books of how to adjust the aperature and talking ulta-closeup shots and the like seem more like technology to me.

I'm still not sure what garden architecture is. Is it about gazebos and trellises?

97BarkingMatt
Jan 25, 2009, 10:41am Top

>96 jjwilson61:: Yes, most photography - speaking purely of quantity - is not "art" in the sense of "high art". But - especially in earlier centuries - other types of imagery were/are also used primarily for documentary reasons.

The confusion - or should I say difference of opinion - lies in the use and meaning of the word "art" itself. Do we mean "high art" only? Or do we use it in a more general sense as referring to any type of imagery? Both meanings are widely used.

98andyl
Jan 25, 2009, 10:44am Top

More landscape architecture I think. The stuff people like Capability Brown do - laying out big gardens, fountains that sort of thing.

99jjwilson61
Jan 25, 2009, 10:51am Top

In my mind that would definitely go under gardening. I wouldn't in a million years think of looking for that under architecture.

100BarkingMatt
Jan 25, 2009, 10:52am Top

>94 IaaS:: Like you, I have no problem shelving these books in my own library. I happen to use a system that is more about regions and periods.

But this is about trying to find a universal system for library classification. And as it stands - with architecture and art as competing top level categories - I see no clear way to classify the many books that deal with both subjects equally.

101GirlFromIpanema
Jan 25, 2009, 12:26pm Top

Garden Architecture is actually a category that spans Art and Science: It has the art part in architecture, composition of forms and colours, etc. and at the same time draws from the science part in that the GA needs to know whether the plants he uses will be suitable for the location (botanics and soil science). Not every plant will like living in the roof garden of a 30 story highrise with its heat and strong winds, even if it would look good.

#100: "But this is about trying to find a universal system for library classification. And as it stands - with architecture and art as competing top level categories - I see no clear way to classify the many books that deal with both subjects equally."

Even though we are trying to aim at perfect accessibility I don't think elevating different subjects to top level is the way to go... but since no-one has commented on my proposal of broader "life-oriented" categories, others seem to think differently. IMO, just because we want to be different from existing classifications doesn't mean we should skip what was good with them (i.e. broad top level categories).

102BarkingMatt
Jan 25, 2009, 12:42pm Top

>101 GirlFromIpanema:: Exactly. I was trying to demonstrate why I see this as over-separation.

From my perspective architecture, art -including photography-, and antiques should be pulled together under something like "tectonic arts" or "design" - need to come up with a better word to reflect this broad category. Having them all over the place, in four separate groups, will lead to a lot of hard-to-place works.

And this is not because I don't value these subjects, in fact as an art historian I deal with them every day.

103IaaS
Jan 25, 2009, 3:43pm Top

We had a long discussion today here; http://www.librarything.com/topic/55533

Landscape Architecture (wirh garden design as a part) is about how to build room and make experiences for us outdoors. Landscape architects are working with a lot of different aspects in our environments. I have tried to explain, but I have not the language skill to say what I want to in the right way here, sorry.

104E59F
Jan 25, 2009, 3:45pm Top

>102 BarkingMatt::
Yes, to me also, as an archaeologist, they all seem like pretty much the same thing. But I think this is a problem related to what GirlFromIpanema said in #88. The categories are meant to reflect how people think about their books, and how people think is culturally specific. In some cases the cultural difference is educational, and in others it's national. I think this system is designed mainly for Americans without much specialized education, so it won't work the way a European or an educated person might expect. To a considerable degree it will probably end up following BISAC, the system that large American bookstores use to classify their books, because that is what is familiar to Americans who buy books, and so that is what has shaped their category expectations.

105klarusu
Jan 25, 2009, 3:53pm Top

I think this system is designed mainly for Americans without much specialized education, so it won't work the way a European or an educated person might expect

I don't think this is entirely fair. I think that it is being designed with public libraries in mind, which have a far broader user base than more specialised academic libraries and the scale of each library is broad (ranging from small local libraries to large institutions). I am neither American nor am I unspecialised but I don't expect a public library to function in as much subject depth at top-level than I would my university library. It is about creating a system that gives libraries worldwide a choice of how specialised they need to be rather than knocking out division/specialisation. A small local library may well find that it is best for them to shelve according to top-level only. The aim is to bring in further levels as needed to enable a larger library with a wider collection/reader base to be able to further refine as far as they see as necessary. That's how I see it, not as a sub-standard system non-intuitive to those of us with education. That's just patronising.

106E59F
Jan 25, 2009, 4:04pm Top

>105 klarusu::
I'm not sure what the difference is. I was saying that it's a system designed for libraries with unspecialized, American readers. Isn't that what you're saying as well (except the American part)?

107klarusu
Jan 25, 2009, 4:11pm Top

I think there's a difference between an unspecialised library (as opposed to a highly specialised university library) and calling the readers themselves unspecialised. Public libraries cater for all levels of specialisation, that's the point, it's what makes it hard to get a classification system that hits the mark. It has to be something that is intuitive on many levels. What you're looking at is a system that will cater to a large range of specialisation rather than something that narrows it down to one end or another of the spectrum.

108E59F
Jan 25, 2009, 4:27pm Top

>107 klarusu::
See #42 in this thread.

109klarusu
Jan 25, 2009, 4:30pm Top

#108, saw it at the time but I still don't agree that what Tim was saying was that "it won't work the way a European or an educated person might expect", which seems to be what you are implying he did.

110vpfluke
Jan 25, 2009, 6:37pm Top

# 87

Regarding careers, I think this is useful collection area for smaller public libraries. I don't think most personal libraries would use this category. Putting most "careers" books with the subject of the career seems logical, with others at education.

111timspalding
Jan 26, 2009, 2:38am Top

I think we need to define the cultural expectations. I think the focus should be North American or English-speaking world. There is no question but that cultural expectations affect mental categories. (It's certainly true with Dewey, which is why everyone all over the world who uses his system is a sort of slave to 1870s central Massachusetts.) I think it would be good, to avoid highly culture-specific terms, but there is no universal classification that can work equally well for every culture now existing or that might exist. There has to be a choice.

112GirlFromIpanema
Jan 26, 2009, 3:39am Top

Well, we do have a broad basis here at LT, including non-Americans from all over the world (even non-English pleople like IaaS, BarkingMatt, me and others). With input from those, the cultural specificality (is that a word?) won't take overhand, I'd think. Like a few days ago, when someone pointed out that a high-level cat. "African-American" would be too specific. Europeans would point out that there are British-Caribbean writers and Afro-German writers as well, so with that input, we could form a category/structure that would allow to include these groups as well and still be accessible.

113hailelib
Jan 26, 2009, 10:05am Top

I think we need to be broad enough that people whose second or third language is English and who grew up in another culture can understand the top level and translate it into reasonable terms in their first language.

114BarkingMatt
Jan 26, 2009, 10:14am Top

> 111: That's a fundamental choice. Outside an American context the example of "African-American" as a category (# 112) doesn't make sense, however important it may be within that context.

115Suncat
Jan 26, 2009, 10:20am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

116barney67
Jan 26, 2009, 11:30am Top

When I tagged my books, I simply thought of what seemed most logical. What would the consensus be on where to place that book if it were in a physical library? This kept me from using too many tags.

It's a question of how most people think about books. Most people don't think, "I want something 20th Century Afro-German."

Are you trying to change how most people think or are you trying to reflect how their minds work most naturally?

117jjwilson61
Jan 26, 2009, 11:43am Top

Steven Pinker suggests that out minds have two mechanisms for dividing up the world. One is uses definitions and the other matches patterns. I think different people rely on each method to different extents. So I think your question is misleading. I don't think anyone wants OSC to change the way people think, but not all people think in the same way.

118lorax
Jan 26, 2009, 12:11pm Top

107>

What you're looking at is a system that will cater to a large range of specialisation rather than something that narrows it down to one end or another of the spectrum.

No, we aren't.

What we're looking at is a system that in SOME areas has the potential to cater to a large range of specialization (i.e. the top-level categories are very large and "lumped"), while in OTHER areas the top-level categories are much more granular. Now, it may be that this reflects the interests of the average public library patron -- that they don't care about the difference between physics and biology since they'd never darken the shelves of a science section anyway, while the difference between Pets and other animals or between Gardening and Agriculture are vitally important to them -- but it's not fair to treat the system as though there aren't decisions being made in which categories are split out even at the very top level based on the target audience.

119GirlFromIpanema
Jan 26, 2009, 1:17pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

120markbarnes
Jan 26, 2009, 1:45pm Top

Can we get back to the helpful posts above? The logic is that a patron ought to be easily able to work out where a book would be, without going through 30 levels to get there.

Tim: Why not set up a system where members could be given a random sample of (say) thirty books from LT, and asked to come up with a top-level category for those books, freestyle? We could then aggregate and compare results, and come up with a new proposal to be tested against the data.

121IaaS
Jan 26, 2009, 1:49pm Top

I like this idea.

122tcarter
Jan 26, 2009, 2:17pm Top

I like the idea as well, but random books might be a problem if you don't know anything about the books. Should also be available for your own library, or possibly even any book?

123timspalding
Jan 26, 2009, 3:35pm Top

I need to look and reply starting from message 112, but I wanted to ask about the Pinker reference, jwilson61. The cognitive basis of classification interests me a lot. Where does Pinker take on that topic?

124jjwilson61
Jan 26, 2009, 4:00pm Top

Words and Rules. Page 272 beginning with "...by showing that many human concepts picked out family resemblance categories rather than classical categories." is at least one place that he talks about this.

125timspalding
Jan 26, 2009, 5:50pm Top

Yeah, I'm familiar with the Eleanor Roche work on prototypes and so forth. I'd be interested if he says the human brain also innately categorizes in a more Aristotelian way.

126timspalding
Jan 26, 2009, 6:32pm Top

>120 markbarnes:

Yeah, I think that's impossible. You need to have some context to set a top-level heading--for example whether you should choose a term that would fit into a system with only ten types.

I'm not sure where we are on the cultural issue. It seems to me that we should confront real situations, not spin our wheels. But I do think we need to choose a focus. If we say that this is about English-speaking peoples then we can feel safe declaring pets, gardening or history a top-level--categories that would seem out of place in cultures that aren't pet friendly, don't garden or have no concept of history. I think that, if the American public library patron would expect to see a topic subdivided by "African American," we should respect that. We could, however--taking up an idea I tried to promote earlier--declare that African American was, in non-US contexts, a twig hanging off some lower branch of the tree.

127andyl
Jan 27, 2009, 3:36am Top

#126

I wouldn't think that anyone would mind African American as a terminal twig which could be lopped off in shelving. However I think that mistakes are made all the time by people from the US in using the term. Many have used the term about the works of Nalo Hopkinson a writer who was brought up in the Caribbean and now lives in Canada. She rejects the label as not appropriate to her. She points out "I've noticed that in the U.S., a lot of people use "African American" to mean "black." But there are many kinds of blackness and most of them are not American." Also there is this attempted interview of Kriss Akubusi (a black British runner) -
    "So, Kriss, what does this mean to you as an African-American?"
    "I'm not American, I'm British"
    "Yes, but as a British African-American ..."
    "I'm not African. I'm not American. I'm British."

128klarusu
Jan 27, 2009, 5:28am Top

I think that, if the American public library patron would expect to see a topic subdivided by "African American," we should respect that. We could, however--taking up an idea I tried to promote earlier--declare that African American was, in non-US contexts, a twig hanging off some lower branch of the tree

Which, I think, was kind of what was suggested over here - not so much to remove it, but to place it at a much lower level.

I'm not sure quite how the whole twig-pruning system would work, I admit to being a little bit confused by Tim's original post on it above. I'd have to 'see' more about how it could work before I'm convinced that it's not going to make a very confusing, non-unified system (probably more down to my understanding of it than the actual system proposition).

#127, loved the Akubusi quote!

129GirlFromIpanema
Jan 27, 2009, 7:46am Top

#127: Are you for real with that Akubusi interview? *giggles*
That's why my afro-german stuff gets tagged "minorities", "blacks", and sometimes "Afro-German" (the latter not applicable in all cases, because the community is very diverse: Africans, Afro-Germans, and African-American-Germans (sic!)).

130BarkingMatt
Jan 27, 2009, 7:57am Top

Actually "minorities" is quite good. It can be used everywhere, and any in community it could easily be established which groups actually are minorities there.

131abbottthomas
Jan 27, 2009, 8:01am Top

>130 BarkingMatt: Not really relevant in this context, but recently Leicester has become the first city in the UK where ALL ethnic groups are minorities.

132BarkingMatt
Jan 27, 2009, 8:04am Top

:-) Well, in that case it could be a very large section.

133andyl
Jan 27, 2009, 8:30am Top

#129

It is widely quoted on the internet. It certainly does sound as though it was the kind of thing he would say.

I think the term used in Britain is Black and Ethnic Minorities or Black and Minority Ethnic (I am sure the latter is only because someone pointed out BEM is also an abbreviation for bug-eyed monster).

134Makis
Jan 27, 2009, 8:31am Top

I read some of the discussions here. Apologies for jumping in at this late stage, but I do have some

More top level categories is better? OK, I haven't followed the discussion but I have to object. The problem is that the more top level categories you have, the more likely it is that a book can go under several categories. There will always be some books that will fit into more than one category no matter what classification system is used, but it hardly will help to increase this. Think of the Dewey system. Think of it's problems. Then think will this new system help or this this just a new way of sorting the books without any benefits? Just looking at the suggestion on the Wiki page makes me think of dozens of books that could fit into two or more categories. How on Earth could I find what I'm looking for?

When designing a new system, the first thing is to define the business case ("why do we need this system") in clear and precise terms. Maybe I have missed this part, but could someone tell me it? This is what was written on the kick-off:

"The Dewey Decimal System® was great for its time, but it's outlived that. Libraries today should not be constrained by the mental models of the 1870s, doomed to tinker with an increasingly irrelevant system. Nor should they be forced into a proprietary system--copyrighted, trademarked and licensed by a single entity--expensive to adopt and encumbered by restrictions on publishing detailed schedules or coordinating necessary changes.

In recent years, a number of efforts have been made to discard Dewey in favor of other systems, such as BISAC, the "bookstore system." But none have proved good enough for widespread adoption, and license issues remain."

But this doesn't really answer any questions. What is so poor about DDC (the licensing is clear enough problem) and what do we want to accomplish with our own system? Is the main focus in helping library users to find what they are looking for more easily? Is it desirable that categories are roughly equal (otherwise small libraries might have top-level categories with just a few books and big libraries would have some massive ones which do not help them). Should the system be culturally independent? I would think so. Should it be targetted to common libraries (as opposed to specialized libraries, book stores, university libraries etc)? It would seem so, because the other alternative really asks for a system that can be modified easily to suit every need. Should it be objective (rather than subjective, something the list on Wiki looks like) when it comes to the level where each subject is located in?

If, for instance, the onus would be to make finding books for the library user as easy as possible, I would focus on "use cases", i.e. what and how do people look for their books. For instance, if the risk of dividing the books of a single author to several categories located far away from each other is high, this would make many people's treks to the library hard. Any time you look for a particular author, you would run all around the library (sorry, walk slowly and quietly).

Also, if the system forces the library to use a too granular system, it will make the work of the librarian harder, for the reason I mentioned earlier. It would just be hard to determine which category a book belongs to. And every time you have two or more choices that are about equal, half of the people will choose differently (i.e. they would look in the wrong place).

If this sounds like part of software development, bingo. But it can just as well be applied to building any system and especially with a complex question like this we should be able to focus our attentions.

I was going to use the example of Carl von Linné's taxonomy here, but then I realised it uses a two-dimensional model, something a library really can't use. However, if random (more or less) browsing is not the main use case, then a much more sophisticated system could be devised. So, what exactly is the aim of this project?

135timspalding
Edited: Jan 27, 2009, 1:50pm Top

The problem is that the more top level categories you have, the more likely it is that a book can go under several categories.

With respect, this isn't a very sophisticated way of approaching the trade-offs. In fact, either too few or too many can have that problem.

Think of two cases. With ten categories in Dewey you have the "Parenting" problem--there's no way a normal person would suspect that Parenting was classified under "Technology" (see above). At the other end, if you have a thousand categories you might have more categories that potentially overlapped. Neither more or fewer has any necessary connection to vagueness, however, as can be seen if you had two categories--(1) Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling (2) Everything else--or if you had a million categories, 999,999 would-be categories that could only contain one highly specific book.

There will always be some books that will fit into more than one category no matter what classification system is used, but it hardly will help to increase this.

This only holds true if you think that more categories means vagueness, which is self-evidently false. (If it were true, every classification system would have only one class, to avoid confusion!) In fact, if you added "Parenting" to Dewey, although you *MIGHT* imagine that Parenting fell into some other category as well--technology, for instance--the presence of a top-level "Parenting" category would convince you that you were mistaken.

Just looking at the suggestion on the Wiki page makes me think of dozens of books that could fit into two or more categories. How on Earth could I find what I'm looking for?

Try it with the Dewey ten. I think you'll find it creates more doubt than the OSC--or as the OSC can soon be. We can test this, of course.

When designing a new system, the first thing is to define the business case ("why do we need this system") in clear and precise terms.

Dewey is a system from the 1870s, culturally-bound to a civilization that is dead. It was designed for academic libraries. Libraries routinely skip it entirely for the 50%+ of their books that are fiction. Phrenology and Psychology are on the same level. Womens' education is a special case. Portuguese is a dialect of Spanish. Buddism is four levels down from Christianity. Any number of special topics (eg., fashion) are crap--the notions of a 20-something neurotic in 1870s Amherst. It has no idea of facets. Computers and other technologies have been bolted on. It costs money to use. It's schedules can't be posted past the top-most levels. Modifications can't be disseminated legally.

Should the system be culturally independent? I would think so.

Why? Surely there are trade-offs. At one end, if we optimize for exactly one person—me—it would make me very happy and everyone else annoyed. If we optimize for nobody, the labels would be little pictograms so that Martians could understand them equally, and nobody would be happy.

We have decided this should be optimized for public libraries. The question is whether to optimize for American ones, North American ones, English-speaking ones or more broadly. Each expansion away from "me" has two effects—(1) more people can use it, (2) the average level of cultural connect diminishes. We have to assess the degree of loss we can accept for the gain.

Should it be objective...

Do you think there are objective categories? Shall we classify by the book's weight?

136jjwilson61
Jan 27, 2009, 3:31pm Top

I still think that 48 categories is too much to grok without some sort of organization.

137dewasus1
Jan 27, 2009, 3:36pm Top

Glad to see that Fiction and Poetry are split. Glad to see Geography added, although I'm not positive it belongs with Travel. Disappointed to still see True Crime as a top level category -- do you really have that much on that topic? Disappointed to see Economics as a subtopic under Social Science. The economists where I work would be very insulted at this categorization, and I do not believe it to be correct (IMHO). Film & television vs. Performing arts vs. Music -- what are the differentiations -- I see the potential for a lot of overlap. You have combined Literary collections with Literary criticism and in some cases this is true -- in other cases, Literary collections are just types of Fiction and/or Poetry.

You are still mixing up subjects with formats.

138nperrin
Jan 27, 2009, 3:57pm Top

In fact, if you added "Parenting" to Dewey, although you *MIGHT* imagine that Parenting fell into some other category as well--technology, for instance--the presence of a top-level "Parenting" category would convince you that you were mistaken.

This gets into something I mentioned somewhere above, and which has been bothering me more and more.

We are trying, from what I gather, to make something that will make intuitive sense to some kind of average public library patron. This sounds like we're looking for some kind of "lowest common denominator." But I think that's wrong—there is no common denominator. If there were, more advanced users would look at the system and think, "simplified." But when I look at what we have, I don't think that at all, I think, "This is completely illogical and therefore I don't know where anything at all is."

I think this specifically because the categories are uneven. We have a category "social science," but a bunch of social sciences that don't fall under that category. If a daughter concept doesn't actually appear as a daughter in the tree, my thought isn't, "This is simple and intuitive and uncomplicated," but, "This is random and I shouldn't attempt to mentally model it, which means I can't actually use it."

Like I said above, if I see "social science" exists I am going to expect to find linguistics stuff there, because linguistics is a social science. You can't make a category and then exclude from it a bunch of stuff that is very much in the category. And this isn't about "well not everyone thinks linguistics is a social science." It's pretty much an unavoidable artifact of not trying to make a hierarchical system that works in a logical and semi-artificial way. I get why that's not what you're trying to do, and I'm not saying it's wrong. But some people are not going to ever feel comfortable with a classification like this.

I feel like I'm articulating this badly. But if I saw top level categories on signage that included "Pets" "Science" "Study Aids" and "True Crime" as equivalent, I would head straight to the computer and start looking up call numbers.

139lorax
Jan 27, 2009, 4:21pm Top

I feel like I'm articulating this badly. But if I saw top level categories on signage that included "Pets" "Science" "Study Aids" and "True Crime" as equivalent, I would head straight to the computer and start looking up call numbers.

You're kinder than I am. I'd head straight out the door and look for a library with a less-stunted science section. (I know that the proponents of the system swear up and down that this is not about classifying knowledge, or attempting to come up with an "even" set of top-level categories, or describing the worth of a field. But if they get their perceptions, I get mine too.)

140beatlemoon
Jan 27, 2009, 6:10pm Top

>134 Makis:, 138, 139

I had already mentioned this over in the "Intended Readership" thread, but I think part of the problem with this first draft of top-level headings is that in using BISAC as a starting point, the OSC has carried over some of BISAC's quirks.

BISAC isn't just used by bookstores; it is also used by publishers, distributors, wholesalers, sales tracking programs, etc. And there are a specific set of guidelines that are used in determining the necessity of creating a new section/heading. So, for example, some of the top-level headings (as well as lower-level catgeories/headings) in BISAC exist purely for marketing and sales reporting purposes. Comics & Graphic Novels are one of these areas.

Therefore, I agree that some ground rules should be made as to who the OSC is being created for and why. That will, I think, help iron out some of the content vs. format issues, as well as the questions as to whether some smaller areas, such as Study Aids, really need their own top-level heading.

141IaaS
Edited: Jan 28, 2009, 3:57am Top

Maybe the faculty-structure at the university could give a hint to how the science thing can be organized. Just a thought.

An example from the University of Oslo:

Faculty of Theology

Faculty of Law
Department of;
> Criminology and the Sociology of Law
> Private Law
> Public and International Law

Faculty of Medicine
Institute of;
> Basic Medical Sciences
> General Practice and Community Medicine
> Psychiatry
> Health Management and Health Economics
> Nursing and Health Sciences

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Department of;
> Biology
> Molecular Biosciences
> Pharmacy
> Theoretical Astrophysics
> Physics
> Informatics
> Geosciences
> Biochemistry
> Chemistry
> Mathematics

Faculty of Humanities
Department of;
> Archeology, Conservation and History
> Culture Studies and Oriental Languages
> Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas
> Literature, Area Studies and European Languages
> Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies
> Media and Communication
> Musicology
Faculty of Dentistry

Faculty of Social Sciences
> Department of;
> Sociology and Human Geography
> Political Science
> Psychology
> Social Anthropology
> Economics

Faculty of Education

• Library of Medicine and Health Sciences
• Library of Humanities and Social Sciences
• Faculty of Law Library
• Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Library

142jmgold
Jan 27, 2009, 6:23pm Top

137: Disappointed to still see True Crime as a top level category -- do you really have that much on that topic?

Sadly yes. It's one of our few non-fiction areas that patrons will actually browse. Due to the popularity there are few areas we acquire more for (cooking, career guidance, biographies, local interest, and current events may be it).

143IaaS
Jan 27, 2009, 6:31pm Top

Law> Criminology> True Crime, I think

144jjwilson61
Jan 27, 2009, 7:06pm Top

History & Current Events>Crime

145vpfluke
Jan 27, 2009, 8:35pm Top

There are 52 subject headings in BISAC -- so 48 categories in OSC doesn't seem unreasonable.

146timspalding
Jan 27, 2009, 10:33pm Top

But when I look at what we have, I don't think that at all, I think, "This is completely illogical and therefore I don't know where anything at all is."

Is this your feeling about bookstore categories? They follow BISAC, and in large part resemble what we're doing here.

If a daughter concept doesn't actually appear as a daughter in the tree, my thought isn't...

I agree with this. I don't think something that is unambiguously a daughter to A should appear as B instead. So, for example, I (now) favor a Social Sciences category to hold History et al. But I don't feel the same way about Parenting which has no obvious parent, unless there's a "Family Relationships" category, which I think is very weak tea.

I feel like I'm articulating this badly. But if I saw top level categories on signage that included "Pets" "Science" "Study Aids" and "True Crime" as equivalent, I would head straight to the computer and start looking up call numbers.

Is that what you do at Borders or Barnes and Noble? Because that's exactly how they're organized.

... BISAC exist purely for marketing and sales reporting purposes. Comics & Graphic Novels are one of these areas.

"Purely" seems like gross exageration. There is a great debate among the proponents of these genres whether they should be shelved separately or together. Most libraries AND bookstores today shelve them separately. The claim that they do so "marketing and sales reporting purposes" is not believable.

Law > Criminology > True Crime, I think

People don't read True Crime because they are interested in "Law." They're interested in "Law" the way people who look at Hustler are interested in "Reproduction"! You are putting the world into academic boxes not classifying books by how their readers see them.

History & Current Events > Crime

Notice how both suggestions seek to deny the name that every True-Crime reader uses--True Crime. This is like "Mystery Stories" or "Cookery"--the imposition of a bullshit clinical name when there is a well used, well known name ready to hand--but one which has a whiff of non-literary reading.

147jjwilson61
Jan 27, 2009, 11:12pm Top

Are there any bookstores out there that use signage for all 58 BISAC categories. And even then, as I've said before, bookstores implicitely lump categories by their location in the store so even if they don't have a Social Sciences category, putting Anthropolgy, Sociology, etc. in the same area accomplishes the same thing (that thing being the organization of the categories into a higher structure even if that higher structure is not named).

148timspalding
Jan 27, 2009, 11:13pm Top

>147 jjwilson61:

That's true to some extent, although we can do that here too. Alphabetization was just an arbitrary order.

149staffordcastle
Jan 28, 2009, 12:43am Top

Last week, after reading a good deal of this thread, I paid attention when I was in my local Borders to what the (literally) top-level categories were - the ones that were either large signs hanging from the ceiling, or signs above the shelves on the wall. I also looked at what was listed under them, on the ends of the rows of shelves.

Parenting was located in the same area as Children's Books (that is, under the big sign saying Kids). This made a certain amount of sense, as the parents could look at them while their kids looked at books they were more interested in, and, after all, parenting is about kids.

On Sunday, I visited a different branch of Borders, and was startled to find Parenting in the Psychology section, half way across the store from the Kids area. Go figure.

150GirlFromIpanema
Jan 28, 2009, 2:41am Top

Tim, #146: "Is that what you do at Borders or Barnes and Noble? Because that's exactly how they're organized."

Yes, but are we trying to create a system for a commercial enterprise that is trying to sell their stuff to people? Or are we trying to create a system for public libraries that want to make it as easy as possible for patrons to find *any* stuff they want (and not only the stuff that sells best)?

Actually, what I do in bookstores, is whip out my print-out from LibraryThing, with ISBN and everything and ask them to order this and that for me ;-D. In most other cases, I either browse the fiction section or ask for specific themes and let the bookseller guide me there. I rarely bother to find out the system they have set up (as opposed to my visits to the library).

Staffordcastle, #149: "Parenting was located in the same area as Children's Books (that is, under the big sign saying Kids). This made a certain amount of sense,"

I think that is a way we should discuss: Finding groupings that make sense when you see them on a sign, without creating optical clutter such as the mix of levels complained about in #138 and #139.
We should *not* try to recreate the levels of scientific libraries. But if a bookshop groups Parenting and Children's Books under "Kids", there is obviously *some* sense in it. Although most libraries I know have a separate room for the children and teenager library.

151Makis
Jan 28, 2009, 2:56am Top


bWith respect, this isn't a very sophisticated way of approaching the trade-offs. In fact, either too few or too many can have that problem./b
But what, then, if not ease of use is the target of this new system?

bTry it with the Dewey ten. I think you'll find it creates more doubt than the OSC--or as the OSC can soon be. We can test this, of course./b
I'm really not advocating or supporting Dewey.

bDewey is a system from the 1870s, culturally-bound to a civilization that is dead. It was designed for academic libraries. Libraries routinely skip it entirely for the 50%+ of their books that are fiction. Phrenology and Psychology are on the same level. Womens' education is a special case. Portuguese is a dialect of Spanish. Buddism is four levels down from Christianity. Any number of special topics (eg., fashion) are crap--the notions of a 20-something neurotic in 1870s Amherst. It has no idea of facets. Computers and other technologies have been bolted on. It costs money to use. It's schedules can't be posted past the top-most levels. Modifications can't be disseminated legally./b
OK, so this is why Dewey is poor. But what are the aims of this new system, just to fix those problems?

bWhy? Surely there are trade-offs. At one end, if we optimize for exactly one person—me—it would make me very happy and everyone else annoyed. If we optimize for nobody, the labels would be little pictograms so that Martians could understand them equally, and nobody would be happy.

We have decided this should be optimized for public libraries. The question is whether to optimize for American ones, North American ones, English-speaking ones or more broadly. Each expansion away from "me" has two effects—(1) more people can use it, (2) the average level of cultural connect diminishes. We have to assess the degree of loss we can accept for the gain./b
I don't have a good reasno to the "why" part, I just assumed so. But in any case, it seems clear that the business case has not been thought out yet. I think this should be the first thing to do and only after that should we start to worry about the categories themselves. Of course it's much more interesting to think about the categories, problem is that without the busines case it is very hard to argue the goods and bads of any suggestions.

bDo you think there are objective categories? Shall we classify by the book's weight?/b
Well, I think so. For instance, "True Crime" or "Architecture"? Do these really warrant a top level category or are they there just because a few people think they belong there? With such a small number of people contributing (non-small would be a sample of thousands of people uniformly distributed among the set of potential users) if the approach is what it currently is the result will almost certainly be skewed.

152Makis
Jan 28, 2009, 3:00am Top

Augh. Sorry about the poor formatting of the previous message. I'll find the user guide for this board, I assumed the markup system was the same as in the most popular forums. "Edit" button does not seem to work either...

153Makis
Jan 28, 2009, 3:38am Top

First some problems I can see with the proposal (as listed in Wiki).

"Crafts and Hobbies" is a category, but then there are many other categories that fall into the "hobbies" category. For instance: Antiques & Collectibles, Cooking & Food, Games, Gardening, House & Home, Sports & Recreation and Travel & Geography. Unless those other groups are defined as non-exclusive to hobbyists. But how is this a clear distinction?

I also have a problem with Computers as a top-level category since there is also a Technology & Engineering group. Considering how embedded computers are to most modern day technologies and engineering tasks I can imagine how hard it would be for a university library to select which top level category some books belong to. And where would Devouring Fungus or Programmers at Work go?

Self help is a very difficult top level category since it will have loads of categories under it basically replicating the top level (Pets, hobbies etc). Self help sounds more like a category for book shops rather than libraries (if I wanted information about a subject I would go the shelf about the subject, with this category I would need to go to two places). And just to make things even more complicated, there are also groups like education and study aids.

What exactly does social science include? Apparently not stuff like family & relationships, psychology or sexuality, looking at the categories.

And what about military? What would go here that does not belong to other groups like history or technology & engineering? Where would I look for a book like The Art of War Waterloo to Mons?

True Crime has already been criticized by others.

The whole list simply is so long that it's hard to grasp it. We need to look at this from the perspective of someone who does not think about categorising books for hours on an end - that's what the majority of library users are like.

The main problem as I see it is that the categories are in no way comparable, not in size, scope or "concept". And I can't imagine how these categories would be useful for the majority of libraries, either, nevermind your average library user.

Secondly, how about looking at the concept of modifications / options from a different angle? There are a number of problems related to the fact libraries are different in nature. The main problem as I see it is that it's actually the _top_ level that needs to thought out. For instance, a general use library could require a top level category for children (so that children's books are separated from adult's books) whereas a the library of a information sciences faculty library would want to have top level categories (at a guess) like "Theoretical computing" (the mathematical side of things), "Practical computing" and "Everything else" (not related to computing that happen to be in this library). If we do not think it this way, libraries will still suffer from the same problem as with Dewey: some categories are chock full (Computing is a case in point) and libraries will need to break the system in any case (to separate the children's books, for instance).

154Makis
Jan 28, 2009, 4:11am Top

Ah, I read some more of the long threads in this group and I'm understanding how things have evolved. The one I just read (already forgot the heading, but started July 8th about top level categories) started out interestingly with some good suggestions but once someone listed the BISAC categories (around the 100th message) that was that. After that it was about tinkering with BISAC, which incidentally still looks a lot like the categories listed in the Wiki page.

I thought BISAC is pretty good for bookstores, not so for libraries. In my experience, taking something out of context and tinkering it to fit something it wasn't intended is always a compromise and almost never produces a satisfactory result.

155IaaS
Jan 28, 2009, 4:14am Top

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Department of;
> Biology
> Molecular Biosciences
> Pharmacy
> Theoretical Astrophysics
> Physics
> Informatics
> Geosciences
> Biochemistry
> Chemistry
> Mathematics

Faculty of Humanities
Department of;
> Archeology, Conservation and History
> Culture Studies and Oriental Languages
> Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas
> Literature, Area Studies and European Languages
> Linguistics (and Scandinavian Studies)
> Media and Communication
> Musicology

Faculty of Social Sciences
> Department of;
> Sociology and Human Geography
> Political Science
> Psychology
> Social Anthropology
> Economics

"Informatics" is all about software, programming, theory etc. Computer's as building them is engineering. Maybee "Informatics & Computers" is a name which cover computerstuff ?

Look at the university-list, I think this make sense to where categories belong. Even if it is academic a lot of people have an idea where the subject they are interrested in belong, or ?

156Donogh
Jan 28, 2009, 4:31am Top

A couple of observations from me
1. 50 is in the right direction for top-level categories, but I have a feeling it's a bit too much to quickly scan. Maybe something closer to 30?
2. It can be a bit difficult to agree on top-levels without everyone knowing what those top-levels actually mean. Could we get (intended) scope notes which may help clarify
3. Obviously the intention is that this will do for bookstores and libraries no matter what, so perhaps inbuilt modulability (is that even a word?!) is something to be looked at. e.g. Children's/Local History could be brought out to the front, but would be levels-deep in a place where that wasn't a primary audience
4. Please lump Military and History!

157andyl
Jan 28, 2009, 5:20am Top

"Informatics" is all about software, programming, theory etc.

In the English speaking world that is usually called Computer Science.

Please lump Military and History!

Well that is OK for those books discussing say WW1 battles and stuff. But what about books such as Jane's U.S. Military Aircraft Recognition Guide or Encyclopedia of Modern British Army Regiments? They are unambiguously military but do not fit in history. I would also say that all contemporary accounts of battles and wars are not necessarily history (although could be primary source material for historians).

Military memoirs are tricky - do you put them in history, memoir or military?

158GirlFromIpanema
Jan 28, 2009, 5:29am Top

"Encyclopedia of Modern British Army Regiments? "

Reference > Military ?

"Jane's U.S. Military Aircraft Recognition Guide"

Somewhere with the birdwatchers books? *ducks and runs*

159Donogh
Jan 28, 2009, 7:39am Top

>157 andyl: Your first example in technology (or maybe have a sub-heading for military organisation/hardware
Your second example, from the product description at least, in history for sure = a history of an organisation is still a history right?

As for military memoirs, I would place them in memoirs: unless you feel the memoirs of football players should go in the Sports section - which is fair enough, but would lead to a very small memoirs section!

160andyl
Jan 28, 2009, 8:17am Top

#159

Well I'm not sure the Encyclopedia of Modern British Army Regiments is a history of the regiments (I haven't read the book) unlike "Territorials - A Century of Service" for example. But even so there are lots more books with are military but don't really fit in history - The British Army: A Pocket Guide 2008 - 2009 for example.

As for putting Jane's guides in technology - it doesn't seem a very likely place for someone to look for books on military planes (or indeed ships or even weapons).

Also a history of an organisation is still a history right?

I'm not so sure about that at least as far as putting books into categories is concerned. I would put The Official Liverpool FC Illustrated History (or any sports club) in Sports and Flick to Kick: An Illustrated History of Subbuteo in Games. The person who is interested in Subbuteo is more likely to look in games than history for that book IMO.

161IaaS
Jan 28, 2009, 9:09am Top

Message 157: andyl
Computer Science & Computers
Should cover all. Informatics (Information tecnology) is not my translation though, it's from the University.

162Makis
Jan 28, 2009, 9:18am Top

I realised one thing that has been nagging me since I saw the current proposal for the top level. The thing is it looks like it is based on a system developed for book stores and lot of the input comes from people thinking about what their home libraries include.

The problem here is that what people buy and what people loan are not the same. That's why you see such a bias towards hobbies, recreation, self development and so forth in a bookstore listing - people are much more likely to buy rather than loan that sort of books. So I would argue that a much higher percentage of books in home libraries are about those subjects than what public libraries have.

163Donogh
Jan 28, 2009, 9:52am Top

> 159 Fair points Andyl
I guess there's alway going to be debate; especially in fringe cases. Scope notes (or suggested sub-categories/examples etc) would help though

Re. Jane's Airplanes etc. -> does this mean that a book on civilian aircraft recognition would be in a different section from one on military aircraft?

164andyl
Jan 28, 2009, 10:04am Top

#163

On Jane's guides -
Yes it does mean civilian aircraft books are in a different place to military. No, I'm not 100% happy about that either.

165timspalding
Jan 28, 2009, 11:34am Top

Yes, but are we trying to create a system for a commercial enterprise that is trying to sell their stuff to people?

I gather you think that bookstores are trying to obscure the books you want in order to trick you into buying books you don't. At some point if that's how you see commerce, there's no arguing with you, but bookstores and other retail stores go to extraordinary lengths to make things findable. Staples has an entire mock-up store just to test that--set it up, run people through, etc. They know that making things obvious is good business.

But what, then, if not ease of use is the target of this new system?

You seem to have misundertood me completely. Your point was that adding classes to a classification inevitably adds confusion. This is self-evidently false and I also gave examples of how it is false.

As for your business-case reasoning, we've given it a dozen times and in a dozen places. But on a deeper level I don't agree with that as a method of software design either.

166Suncat
Jan 28, 2009, 11:58am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

167jjwilson61
Jan 28, 2009, 12:10pm Top

Notice how both suggestions seek to deny the name that every True-Crime reader uses--True Crime.

True crime is called that to distinguish it from fictional crime, right? But the only reason that that is a problem is because it is at the top level. If it were located under some non-fiction category the "true" part is no longer necessary. But if you insist I suppose "true" could stay. It would be redundant but do no real harm.

168nperrin
Jan 28, 2009, 12:38pm Top

Is this your feeling about bookstore categories? They follow BISAC, and in large part resemble what we're doing here.

First, jjwilson's point in 147 is important: bookstores lump categories physically in the store and put up big signs like "fiction" and "art" and "history." But no, I don't attempt to find any nonfiction in a bookstore without looking it up and/or asking. I spent years shopping at my (formerly) local Border's without realizing they had any economics books, because they were hanging out by the business section, which isn't someplace I would ever look or go. And P.G. Wodehouse in humor and not in fiction? Yeah, it's not worth trying to guess at that kind of thing.

169Makis
Jan 28, 2009, 1:21pm Top

I gather you think that bookstores are trying to obscure the books you want in order to trick you into buying books you don't. At some point if that's how you see commerce, there's no arguing with you, but bookstores and other retail stores go to extraordinary lengths to make things findable. Staples has an entire mock-up store just to test that--set it up, run people through, etc. They know that making things obvious is good business.
Bookstores really *are* in the market to maximise sales. This does also help their average customer to find what they are looking for, but as I said, first of all people visiting the stores are not exactly the same group as people borrowing books from libraries and secondly even people who use both facilities don't buy the same things. How many people regularly borrow books on computing/computers rather than buy them for instance? Or gardening, or architecture, or a number of other subjects.

And in any case, bookstores are much more willing to completely revamp their system if something else sells better - something libraries would be much more reluctant to do. And bookstores don't need to worry about logic or consistency. I would also hazard a guess that the contents of a bookstore are quite different from your average library.

You seem to have misundertood me completely. Your point was that adding classes to a classification inevitably adds confusion. This is self-evidently false and I also gave examples of how it is false.
Of course it's not automatic, but AFAIK the human mind can usually handle 7-10 items at a time. Any more and most people can't. I can't see a good reason for making the first level massive, as even if you set the limit to 10, with just three levels you can have 1000 categories. Which to me sounds a lot. Of course that's the maximum, there will be level 2 categories that don't need that many etc, but adding a fourth layer would increase the potential number by another factor.

As for your business-case reasoning, we've given it a dozen times and in a dozen places. But on a deeper level I don't agree with that as a method of software design either.
Sorry, I did not mean to offend with that comment (or any comment), I just can't figure out what the true goal of this thing is. Reading the threads it looks like others struggle with this as well.

As for defining the business case... well, the only reason not to define it would be if it's impossible to define it before the project starts. Otherwise you are just wasting a lot of time doing the wrong things. How else do you know that all your requirements are valid?

But all in all, what I would like to know more than anything is: is the main target public, general-use libraries? Is this country-related, e.g. will this system be awkward to, say, my home country? Is it more important that the system makes it easier to search for books rather than categorize them?

170timspalding
Jan 28, 2009, 1:52pm Top

Sorry to be sharp. Bad day :)

171vpfluke
Jan 28, 2009, 1:58pm Top

I see the OSC effort has trying to strike a happy three-way medium point between late 19th century subject clasification systems that most libraries use vs. arrangements bookstores use for sorting and browsing vs. what LTers use in their sorting and tagging. I think Tim is using an inductive system of classifying by gathering data and see what it tells you, rather than making going about it in a systematic way.

About the number of categories, it is true that we can comprehend only 7-10 things at the same time. But if we are looking for 15-20 different things at the same time, many of us write down a list. Certainlly the big stores we shop in have more than 7-10 categories. I see my own home library as divided up into more than 10 categories, but I would have to write them all down to make sure I covered them all, but I can handle it.

172GirlFromIpanema
Jan 28, 2009, 4:30pm Top

Tim, #165: "I gather you think that bookstores are trying to obscure the books you want in order to trick you into buying books you don't."

Heheh. The evil bookstore plot ;-). Well, to some extent, that *is* true. Thinking of the large chain store in my town: Rough outline: ground floor "Remittenden" (i.e. books marked down by the publisher), the bestseller list books, and gift books. DVDs and magazines. Stuff that sells like warm bread (I should know, I bought more of it than I care to admit!). One floor up: Fiction, with bestsellers prominently displayed. Self-help, esoterics, religions. The rest of non-fiction on the second floor (How often do people buy the complete GEO Themenlexikon (35 volumes)?

But then, LT has spoiled me for all times ;-) --I'll never be a casual bookstore shopper again! I put books on my wish list, then check with the public library and the interlibrary loan network, and only then I'll go shopping (as I said, often with an LT print-out). Which probably underlines the point being made by Makis in #162: "What people buy and what they borrow are not the same."

173sqdancer
Jan 28, 2009, 5:13pm Top

>162 Makis:, 169

Perhaps it is the community I live in or maybe it's a cultural difference, but it not unusual to see people at the library borrowing books about gardening, DIY, cooking, or computers.

174staffordcastle
Jan 28, 2009, 5:19pm Top

After all, when your bookstore doesn't have a gardening/cooking/DIY book that came out in 1999, but the library does, who you gonna call?

175sqdancer
Jan 28, 2009, 5:26pm Top

Apparently your library doesn't weed as frequently as ours does. :)

176staffordcastle
Jan 28, 2009, 5:35pm Top

Well, "my library," the one I use most often, is a major university library. So, no, not a lot of weeding :-) but also, not a lot of DIY. Good for cooking and gardening, though!

177sqdancer
Jan 28, 2009, 5:39pm Top

The one I frequent most is a public library - also good for gardening and cooking, and the local Home Depot donated a bunch of books so it's also good for DIY. (Sigh, but I do miss all the audio books on cassette that they culled last year.)

(apologies for threadjack)

178jmgold
Jan 28, 2009, 6:17pm Top

162: "The problem here is that what people buy and what people loan are not the same. That's why you see such a bias towards hobbies, recreation, self development and so forth in a bookstore listing - people are much more likely to buy rather than loan that sort of books."

I have to disagree with that assumption. Popular books are popular books whether you're in a bookstore or a public library. Our self-improvement and how-to books have some of our higher circulation figures.

179beatlemoon
Edited: Jan 30, 2009, 9:24pm Top

>146 timspalding:

Perhaps I should have said "largely" instead of "purely"? ;-)

My point was simply that you need to be clear on what the needs are of the audience using the OSC. Believe it or not, marketing and sales tracking are, in fact, common justifications for the creation of certain BISAC headings. Not all headings, just some. (Perhaps I should have used the Bibles section as an example of this instead).

And I do understand that many libraries separate out comic/graphic novel collections as well - this was a large discussion topic when I was in my MLIS program - but libraries' rationale for the separation is somewhat different than that of the publishing industry.

I'm just saying that it helps to have a clear focus of your users and their needs, so when certain choices come up, the final decisions might be easier to make.

180PhaedraB
Jan 29, 2009, 1:45pm Top

To jump back to an issue from 48 hours ago (I know that's forever ago on this thread), in the religion biz, African-American, Afro-Caribbean, African-German etc. is often lumped into the perfectly useful Afro-Diaspora.

181timspalding
Jan 29, 2009, 8:22pm Top

Yeah, but how many regular people know what "Afro-Diaspora" means?

182PhaedraB
Jan 29, 2009, 8:55pm Top

Ah. I hadn't considered I might be irregular. More fiber, methinks.

183timspalding
Jan 29, 2009, 9:51pm Top

Heh.

184yue
Jan 29, 2009, 10:54pm Top

I would like to point out that Landscape (Garden) Architecture is NOT gardening. Landscape architects designs landscapes as if the landscape were a building. This may encompass formal garden layouts, but may (as in the case of Golf Course Architects) include reshaping the grade of the land. A landscape architect uses plants as building materials.

Also, there is a distinction (though not always easy determine) between Interior Architecture and Interior Design. Interior design is furnishings, paint color, etc. Interior architects are less worried about the specifics as they are about the physical layout and dynamics of a space. The areas do overlap, interior architects choosing paint color and furniture and interior designers working on layouts and traffic patterns, but interior architecture is more structural (you would want one for a massive home remodel) whereas interior design is more adornment (you would want one for a redecoration project). Again, they overlap in many ways, but are distinct fields and have vastly different requirements (Interior architects are licensed architects {5+ years of school, and then an internship}, interior designers are not {usually}).

Continuing on, Comics/manga/Graphic novels should in my opinion be a separate catergory/ies. Since they contain visual material which is integral to the work, I believe they should at least get their own sub-categories under fiction and non-fiction. "Graphic novels" is a particularly sketchy heading, since there are non-fiction works which fit this "genre", in that much of their content is visual (in some cases all of their content is visual). Also, users/patrons looking for that sort of material (such as Ted Dekker's graphic novel version of Black {which shouldn't have been combined with the main work, but I digress}) are often interested in more of the same material. I read a lot of manga, and it would be more intuitive to place all of the manga/comics/graphic novels in one place.

185winniek1
Jan 30, 2009, 2:25am Top

A few thoughts:

We need scope notes. They'll make this a hundred times easier and stop people being so finicky about the names.

I think that Social Sciences should be canned - it's obviously too broad when there are so many of it's daughter subjects on the top level list.

I'm much happier with "Metaphysics & Occult" than I was with Paranormal, but I still don't feel comfortable classifying my tarot & astrology books as such. I think "New Age" would be a much better top level heading because it could encompass Divination, Occult, Paranormal, Astrology etc. etc.

Maybe it's just my ingrained sense of Dewey, but I think that we need a scope note for Religion asap. I know that when I see it I automatically think of the "Big three" - I could put my books on paganism here, but then I wonder what the division between what was considered new age, and what was considered religion would be (would prefer that those were together)

Graphic novels/comics should be seperate for access, but physically located with fiction.

There's more work to be done than this I think, but I need to ponder a bit more.

186winniek1
Jan 30, 2009, 3:04am Top

One more thought - study aids should go - as far as I'm concerned a study aid should be shelved with the subject. Books on how to write essays should go with languages (assuming there's a second level heading for writing guides or something similar) and things related to testing (not subject-specific) should go with education (also really needs a scope note)

187IaaS
Jan 30, 2009, 3:52am Top

Message 184: yue
I agree with you about Landscape Architecture and Interior Architecture
And I think they together with the other aspects of architecture belong under the topname; Architecture

-which is about planning room and space
Interior design I see as a level under Interior Architecture.

We had a discussion here about architecture and art;
http://www.librarything.com/topic/55533#top

188IaaS
Jan 30, 2009, 3:56am Top

Something I worry about is where to put all my books about MYTHOLOGY ? In my tags I have in fact mythology as a toptag and put every belivesystems (religions) under this topic. (I know some will strongly disagree with that.)

189winniek1
Jan 30, 2009, 4:36am Top

Message 188:
I don't see that way as inherently wrong, but I think that to put all belief systems under it could certainly tread on a lot of toes - users and librarians.

I actually think the optimal situation would be to place it under religion as a second level - although I could see it under history as well.

Religion really is a loaded word though, but I can't really think of anything to replace it with which doesn't then turn into a bucket of vague a la social sciences...

190abbottthomas
Jan 30, 2009, 7:33am Top

>181 timspalding:
Yeah, but how many regular people know what "Afro-Diaspora" means?

Considering that we're ALL supposed to come from those old girls in the Rift Valley, it could be too all-embracing.
;-)

191jjwilson61
Jan 30, 2009, 10:58pm Top

Since Tim seemed to respond when I suggested that the categories could be grouped without actually naming the super-categories in which they are grouped, I took the categories in Msg 1 and grouped them thus:

* ART
* ARCHITECTURE
* DESIGN
* DRAMA
* FILM & TELEVISION
* MUSIC
* PERFORMING ARTS

* BIOGRAPHY, AUTOBIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

* BUSINESS
* CAREERS

* FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS
* SELF-HELP
* SEXUALITY

* FICTION
* POETRY
* LITERARY COLLECTIONS & CRITICISM

* HEALTH & FITNESS

* HISTORY
* TRUE CRIME

* HOUSE & HOME
* COOKING & FOOD
* GARDENING
* PETS

* PHILOSOPHY
* RELIGION

* LAW
* POLITICS

* SCIENCE
* AGRICULTURE
* COMPUTERS
* LIBRARIES & ARCHIVES
* MATHEMATICS
* MILITARY
* PSYCHOLOGY
* TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING (TRANSPORTATION now a subcategory)

* SOCIAL SCIENCE (ECONOMICS now a subcategory)
* LANGUAGES & LINGUISTICS
* EDUCATION
* STUDY AIDS

* SPORTS & RECREATION
* ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES
* CRAFTS & HOBBIES
* GAMES
* PHOTOGRAPHY

* TRAVEL & GEOGRAPHY

* REFERENCE

* HUMOR

* METAPHYSICS & OCCULT (was paranormal)

* COMICS, GRAPHIC NOVELS & MANGA

There are still some anomolies like like both ARTS and MUSIC appearing as separate categories, but that could be fixed by making it OTHER ARTS (although PERFORMING ARTS is still a problem). And I still don't agree than COMICS etc. should be a category.

This also has the benefit that we don't have to decide if Architecture is under Arts or Arts is under Architecture since they are just both in the same group. Do these groupings make sense to anyone else and does it help make sense of it all?

192yue
Edited: Jan 31, 2009, 12:10am Top

I like the groupings by related subjects, but I am not strictly sure I like Photography grouped with Hobbies, etc. Also, I think Comics/Graphic Novels/Manga should be a subcategory of Fiction if it is a fiction work, but non-fiction graphic works (and there are some) should be grouped together but sorted according to the category which best fits the subject of the work.

Edited for clarity.

193jjwilson61
Jan 31, 2009, 12:33am Top

Yeah, Photography could be grouped with the Arts, Hobbies, or Technology depending on the focus of the book. But we need to put it in one of those, split it up, or make it it's own group. And I'm reluctant to put it in a group by itself since that defeats the purpose of the grouping exercise.

There are still several categories that I don't feel make sense but I was trying to do this with the "official" categories to start with.

194tcarter
Jan 31, 2009, 4:23am Top

I think I would probably put metaphysics/occult in the supergroup with religion and philosophy. The all seem to me to address the same facets of life, and there is likely to be a fair amount of overlap.

I would also split Art/architecture/design + photography from Drama/music/f&t/PA. The first lot seem to me to be about structures, physicality and things, whereas the second lot are more about events and performances.

195BarkingMatt
Jan 31, 2009, 4:32am Top

Photography is still really counterintuitive (for me). It's just another art form. Sure, many people have it as a hobby - but would we also put painting or sculpture there if many people took that up?

As for drama - probably because I would mainly put the texts there, and all the rest under performing arts, I think it would be more logical to put it with fiction etc.

196winniek1
Jan 31, 2009, 5:21am Top

Message 194
- I agree about the metaphysics/occult placement.

I would group all those things in one supergroup. I'm not sure how defining what supergroup they'd go into is going to help us more than to make it less of a mess while sorting out the top levels.

I would say that drama would be better named as plays (I see it as a form division of fiction).

Ugh, heat is muddling my brain.

197IaaS
Jan 31, 2009, 9:07am Top

Let's just have two headgroups Fiction and Nonfiction, (ironic) that way it would be fairly easy.
Okey then, I personally like to split it up in a lot of groups, not clutter them together.
I'm still not sure where to put MYTHOLOGY, not under religion - no. Maybe just under mytholoygy

198yue
Jan 31, 2009, 11:36am Top

>195 BarkingMatt: The problem with Photography, especially now that there are two distinct types, is that the doing is under perhaps art/self-help, the technological side (developing film/editing on the computer) is technology, and also, the final product may be art or business and may not even be a physical object (which could take it back to technology). I don't really like it next to hobbies, but it is too interdisciplinary to really go anywhere else.

>194 tcarter: I don't think we should split the so-called "physical arts" from the "temporal arts." Art has changed (for better or for worse) from just a painting on the wall. Live "art installments" with living "art pieces" are not that uncommon, and they are highly temporal. If we really want to keep some of the performance focused arts away from the non-performance focused arts, the following could perhaps be a solution. Echoing what I said above, I am going to leave Photography in Hobbies because it isn't /just/ an art form.

* ARCHITECTURE - I put this on this extreme because architecture is the most "solid" of the arts
* DESIGN - Design is more about art than architecture, but often encompasses functional items, e.g. furniture
* ART - this is the least "functional" of the arts, and often the most temporal
* MUSIC
* PERFORMING ARTS
* DRAMA
* FILM & TELEVISION

I am not sure how I like the ordering of the last four, but I think it works because people often associate art and music as at least being "the arts". Not a fantastic justification, but whatever.

Also, I am glad to see that Poetry has its own heading. Poetry really is an art form, and needs to remain distinct. It really shouldn't even go next to fiction, as many poems are accounts of real people and events (which someone else pointed out). Oh, well.

199BarkingMatt
Edited: Jan 31, 2009, 12:16pm Top

All art forms have technology, aesthetics, practical & commercial uses, etc. As for there possibly not being any physical object - why is that technology??? - that's especially also true for film/television and music.

It really makes no sense to me, putting all forms of image making together under arts, except photography - which would be more like "games" and "sports".

200yue
Jan 31, 2009, 12:31pm Top

That's true . . . and now that I think about it, there is digital art which may never have had a physical component in the first place. Hmm . . . well, if we do put it under the arts, where should it go? As a subset of Art?

201jjwilson61
Jan 31, 2009, 3:47pm Top

I put Photography next to Hobbies because I think more people do it as a hobby than as serious artists (and Tim's directive is to find placements where people expect to find it and not to satisfy some abstract rules). However, I wonder if more people paint as a hobby then as serious artists as well. Probably so. OK, photography can go in the Arts clump.

198> What do you mean by ART in that list, because I see them all as arts.

202BarkingMatt
Jan 31, 2009, 4:25pm Top

>201 jjwilson61:: Through an unfortunate accident, in many western languages "art" - or its equivalents - can either refer to all the arts, or to the visual arts alone. Think "artwork" for example - as far as I'm aware that never refers to poetry or music.

203abbottthomas
Feb 1, 2009, 2:41pm Top

Just glanced into the bookshop in the Tate Modern and saw at the top of a shelf bay "Photography & Lens-based Media". What?? Didn't have time to investigate.

204laena
Feb 2, 2009, 1:23pm Top

Greetings! David and I have been busy compiling and analyzing all your comments, and a post with new top levels is forthcoming!

In the interim, take a look on Thingology (http://www.librarything.com/thingology) at the summary of the OSC meeting we had in Denver last weekend.

205lazyhedwig
Edited: Feb 6, 2009, 10:11am Top

On the Comics/Graphic novels thing: Why is this the only format we're separating out? My public library (UK, quite a small one) has separate sections for dvds, audio books, & graphic novels. The dvds & audios are separated out by rough genre (there's not enough GNs to do that with!). Could that be a solution? Shelve by format, and then you could apply subjects to them just the same, they'd just be on a different shelf. In which case, they wouldn't be a category in themselves.

Edit: I forgot Manga, sorry!

207lazyhedwig
Feb 6, 2009, 10:37am Top

>206 sqdancer:

thanks - I'd missed that thread.

208vpfluke
Feb 7, 2009, 1:04pm Top

I'm only now getting used to the idea of 'facets.'

209jjwilson61
Feb 7, 2009, 1:14pm Top

It's not so hard. Doesn't your local library put FIC or something like it on the spines of the fiction books and YA for those in the Young Adult section, etc.

210cmbohn
Feb 8, 2009, 1:07am Top

I like this grouping. It works for me.

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