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Science and Technology top-levels

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Jan 23, 2009, 4:25pm Top

The discussion of 48 top-levels in one Topic is very hard to digest. A lot of good comments gets lost in the enormous amount of text and other topics are being discussed at the same time. Therefore I suggest discussion top-levels about the same category in small topics and then merging the results into the current scheme when a agreement is made in the topic. This will save a lot of confusion and keep us from discussing the same things many times because it is impossible to get a overview of where we are in the discussion.

In this topic I suggest talking about how the current top-levels under the category "Science and Technology" are working out. Do the current top-levels cover the subject to a sufficient degree of accuracy? Are we missing any top-levels to cover the subject or do we have to many? Are there any books that can't be classified in the current scheme? Are there any books that can be classified under several top-levels? Is this a problem and can we fix it?

As I see it we have the following Top-levels in the subject of Science and Technology:

And some top-levels that can be contained in the subject to some degree:
* TRUE CRIME - Crime Forensics is a applied science.
* SEXUALITY - Can both be medicine and psychology.
* SPORTS & RECREATION - Sports is under the faculty of natural science at all danish universities.
* METAPHYSICS & OCCULT - Trying to find a way to explain the strange using science.
* PETS - Pets are animals and could fall under biology.
* AGRICULTURE - Also a form of biology, but a applied science.

I see some things that could mean trouble if they are not defined more in there title.
Making computers a top-level is confusing to me. When i think about the topic I expect to find "How to use the Internet (Senior edition)" books under that category and would look for "Applied linear algebra in algorithm design" books under computer science. It is like taking some out from a subcategory. The term Computers does not describe the topic because some books are not about computers but fall under the term computer science which is not called Computers. Computers is a Technology and therefore I don't think it should be a top-level when we already have a top-level called Technology & Engineering. The same goes for math.
People are not idiots and they should be able to find computer books even if it they are placed in a subclass of something else.

In my world the current top-levels could be arranged like so (like I have suggested before):
Natural Science (Changed from Science)
- Mathematics
Applied Science and Engineering (Changed from Technology & Engineering)
- Computer Science (Changed from Computers) - The reason this is under applied science and not natural science is because I see it as applied mathematics.

This is a very traditional way of doing things but to me as a academic anything else would be strange. Can anyone see any new problems that arise from this change?

GirlFromIpanema made a post where she also tried to divide science into subcategories. Her (quick and dirty) list lookes like this:
>(I'll have to think about this)
Animals and Humans
>Wild Animals
>Domestic Animals
The Environment
>(I'll have to think about this)
>Meteorology, Climate
>other Planets
>Space Travel

I like the thought that went into this list but there are some parts that need to be changed (as she also says herself). An example is that plants are a part of the earth (the biosphere) and therefore should be under that top-level. Also the title Earth doesn't cover geology because the term geology also covers the study of other planets.
The distinction of science into Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences could work but would need some fine tuning to cover the subject.

What we should end up at the end of this topic is a list that covers Science and Technology (like my list) and is user friendly and intuitive (GirlFromIpanema's list). This can then be merged into the current top-level scheme to see if it fits.

Jan 25, 2009, 7:44am Top

I think 'Science' is fine as a top-level category and would be quite happy with further divisions being at a lower level than this - as I said in the main thread, I accept it's not about attaching value judgements to categories but about giving libraries the most flexible system. I can see Tim's point that small libraries may wish to shelve all science books together and it certainly wouldn't be confusing from my perspective, to go first to Science and then categorise further (bearing in mind that this is a system aimed at public rather than academic libraries...)

Jan 25, 2009, 8:27am Top

METAPHYSICS & OCCULT - Trying to find a way to explain the strange using science.

I wouldn't say that this was true for the majority of books associated with Metaphysics and the Occult.

Onto GirlFromIpanema's list which LinuxChristian lists above.

One thing that she misses out is dinosaurs and other extinct animals. I would put them in the Animals & Humans section.

An example is that plants are a part of the earth (the biosphere)

So are animals; the environment is to do with the biosphere as well. Do you want to put both of those under earth as well?

The whole point is that we aren't trying to come up with a hierarchical system of knowledge. It doesn't really matter if animals are on the same level as Earth. Also I believe that a perfect hierarchical system of knowledge is a fool's quest. It is an impossible goal. There are far too many inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary subjects.

Jan 25, 2009, 10:35am Top

Can't we just say Living Things? Is there anyone who wouldn't understand that plants and animals go there? Or is it that some people might not get that humans go there?

Jan 25, 2009, 1:44pm Top

Oops. I totally overlooked this thread, but am glad to have finally found it.

#4: Sounds good to me. Living Things would encompass all animals (pets or not ;-) ), plants, etc.

#3: "Also I believe that a perfect hierarchical system of knowledge is a fool's quest. It is an impossible goal. There are far too many inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary subjects."

Exactly. That was what I tried with my approach. Of course "Environment" isn't on the same level as "Earth", but we will need a number of interdisciplinary categories to cover all the subjects that have developed from "pure science". The top levels should be sufficiently broad to allow a first orientation, but not too narrow as to be specific or only interesting for a part of "customers" (like Architecture, Agriculture, True Crime in the current list).

Our customers are private persons and the public library, so we don't need to feel bound to the standards taught to us at Uni ;-). If they work for the Uni, fine, but if we can come up with a system that an 8-year-old can intuitively understand...

Jan 25, 2009, 3:41pm Top

....if we can come up with a system that an 8-year-old can intuitively understand...

Then only an eight year old will use it.

A perfect hierarchical system of knowledge may be a fool's quest but for a library to make any sense at all there has to be some order. Do not eschew an hierarchical system just because... Why are we abandoning it?

Jan 26, 2009, 3:23am Top

We are not. We're still trying to find over-arching top-level categories. We're just trying to change the focus a bit, so not all categories on a level will be of the same "weight". The 8-year-old was just a (failed, obviously) try for an example for "easy to understand". At my Uni library, they used to give lectures on how to use the system. If we can come up with a system a middle-school kid can look at and make an educated guess on where to find his book...

Jan 27, 2009, 9:54am Top

Bump! Before it gets lost in the discussion of all the art-related stuff ;-).

Edited: Jan 28, 2009, 6:18pm Top

As an academic I can not see it wrong to use some of the academic categories, most people do know of them, specially those who want to buy or borrow those books.

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

I think at this faculty as the first and department/insitute as a second, or simply make drop the first. A lot of this is there already.

Feb 2, 2009, 1:46pm 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.

To clear up some confusion, take a look at how facets/formats and categories/call numbers will be organized (this was determined months ago by this group):

The first letter is audience (A, adult, Y, young adult, C, children's) The second letter is format (B, book, A, audio, G, graphic-novel, etc.) Other facets could be for whatever else needs to be called out—language, special collection, etc.

And so you have

AB 123.321 - Lost Moon
AA 123.321 - Lost Moon in an audio format
AG 123.321 - Lost Moon the graphic-novel
CB 123.321 - Goodnight Moon (children's book)

A library that had no childrens' books would ignore the first facet. A library entirely of Braille books would ignore the second. A library that wants to put all graphic novels together in one area may do so if they wish, or interfile them. Same with CDs, Audio books, etc. Facets allow for this flexibility.


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