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Build the Open Shelves Classification

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Jan 24, 2009, 1:53pm Top

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Jan 29, 2009, 7:55am Top

I have some ad hoc observations from doing several 100 books which might be entertaining while we wait for the statistics.

With some minor exceptions for graphic novels, literary collections and humorous stories, we all generally agree on what goes in fiction and poetry. So with a little bit of definition, fiction/poetry should work okay. Humor is a bigger problem. I personally only classed a book of jokes there. But I saw funny comics, humorous novels (like Terry Pratchett), and humorous essays and short stories all end up there. The science fiction folks are going to be very unhappy if they have to trek over to humor to get the latest Pratchett.

There also seems to be general agreement on crafts and cookery (though I didn't run across any books about making home decorations which might have ended up split between House/home and Crafts). I also threw a couple of ringers in there to find out what happens to them, but you can't go back and see what other people have done later to something you worked on.

Most surprising to me as a librarian was the use of History for any book that was about the past no matter the viewpoint and no matter whether the book was about the past when it was written. So Bernstein and Woodward's All the President's Men mostly landed in History, even though it was a contemporary account of a current event (I stuck it in True crime). Also, American Manhood, which is a sociological study of American attitudes towards masculinity had many History hits. I would have put it in the new family relationships/sexuality/whatever category. If the general public is really looking for things like that in the history section of their public libraries, I'm surprised they find anything at all. It also bodes badly for the category True crime, since it looks like people would seemingly only look there for contemporary true crimes and would want anything older than a certain date (probably based on the user's age) to be in history. While it's easy for a bookstore to reclass by putting the next shipment of a book in a new category, libraries hate/Hate/HATE to have to reclass and avoid it whenever possible.

Another big problem was the overlap between genre classes (what the book is) vs. subject classes (what the book is about). So is Teach Yourself Swahili a Language book or a Study aid (or a Self-help book for that matter).

Aside from that, there tended to be a lot of agreement when the book was fairly squarely about one category, but wide disparity when it was inter-disciplinary. That's not surprising as there are hundreds of pages of directions in both LC and Dewey for what to do with interdisciplinary works, and this system will need that too before it's finished.

Oh, and, of course, there was no where to put Generalities (General encyclopedias, almanacs, trivia books, etc.) but I've tried to discuss this before and got nowhere, so I'm giving up.

Jan 30, 2009, 5:18pm Top

I think I must then put encyclopedias in pets, or can anyone give them a place to be put ?

Jan 30, 2009, 5:40pm Top

Generalities have been discussed on one of these threads and the consensus seemed to be that a section should be added but that Reference was a better term.

Feb 2, 2009, 1:42pm 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:

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.

Feb 2, 2009, 1:49pm Top

Most surprising to me as a librarian was the use of History for any book that was about the past ...

I'm a non librarian and I found that a bit surprising too. I remarked on it on one of the discussion threads.


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