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Feb 23, 2009, 11:50am Top

Includes works of natural science including astronomy, biology, chemistry, Earth science, and physics.

Feb 23, 2009, 1:54pm Top

Given that you paid absolutely no attention to any of the suggestions that were made initially about the short shrift given to science, why should we expect you to pay any attention now?

Feb 23, 2009, 2:00pm Top

On a positive note, I like it that psychology, anthropology, sociology, and economics are not categorized as science.

Feb 23, 2009, 2:56pm Top

If a public library may reasonably want to aggregate at a certain level (e.g. fiction or science), then it exists as a top level.

For more on the top level building process, see the OSC blog posts on Thingology.

Feb 23, 2009, 3:17pm Top


I read the posts. I'm not saying this because I'm ill-informed. I just can't believe that Pets gets a top-level -- meaning that no library using this scheme could ever put their pet books next to the rest of their animal books (which will be buried deep under Science) while astronomy, geology, and ecology all get shoehorned into one. How few science books do you think the average public library has?

So if someone has a pet parrot, they go to pets, but to read about the same species in the wild they have to go to Science > Biology > Zoology > etc? That's just ludicrous.

Feb 23, 2009, 7:13pm Top

I guess my main point with #2 wasn't to rehash the disagreements about the top-level categories, but to say that since I saw very few results from any comments that were made about those categories, I have zero confidence that any suggestions I or anyone else might make here would make a difference, so I'm not inclined to waste my time.

Edited: Feb 24, 2009, 6:17pm Top

"So if someone has a pet parrot, they go to pets, but to read about the same species in the wild they have to go to Science > Biology > Zoology > etc? That's just ludicrous."

No, it's not.

Someone seeking information on pet care is looking for different information than someone looking for scientific information on an animal. It is not "ludicrous" to have these different subjects in different locations.

Books may have similar subjects (your pet parrot vs. birds of the Psittaciformes order,) but they can also have entirely different intents. And entirely different audiences. And satisfy entirely different information needs. And therefore, it will be okay to shelve these books in different places.

Edited by author to sound less snarky.

Feb 27, 2009, 7:17pm Top


Maybe, but that wasn't my main point.

My main point is that I don't believe laena when she says "If a public library may reasonably want to aggregate at a certain level (e.g. fiction or science), then it exists as a top level.". That implies that she doesn't think any library, anywhere, ever, might want to aggregate all animal books together (thus, the separation of Pets) -- despite the fact that this is an extremely common practice in bookstores.

It's not that Science gets lumped -- it's that categories she likes better, but which are in principle no less heterogenous, get split up.

Feb 28, 2009, 1:16pm Top

I get where you're coming from, but it seems to me that your real issue should be not with Science as a category but with Pets. Science is far too broad, obviously, but only in the same way that Fiction is, and it is clearly a very useful category for customers, especially those who may not know the name of the particular branch of science they are interested in. Also, if you are going to break up science into a variety of top level categories, where do you stop? There are too many branches of science which will quickly overrun the top level.

With that in mind, I definitely see that Pets is perhaps too narrow to be a top level category, but that's a discussion for a different post.

Feb 28, 2009, 8:16pm Top


I agree with lorax, but I'd state the problem a bit differently.

Skipping for the moment the idea that SCIENCE may be too broad at the top level, if we had a structure like (this is just a quickie illustration for my argument!):

. Botany
. Geology
. Zoology
.. Mammals
... Cats
... Dogs
.. Birds
... Parrots
... Sparrows

then there is still no reason why any library or bookstore can't pull out a collection of books about certain animals as pets and shelve it in a separate section. Within that separate Pets section, I'd expect things to be ordered as above. At the same time, over in the Science section you'd have other books about the same animals but from other perspectives than the popular role as "pets" (like maybe scientific, or academic, or environmental, etc). Again, the books would be ordered on the shelf as above. If the library or bookstore feels they have an audience where this splitting between shelf sections would be useful, they can do it.


if you pull out PETS as a top-level category in your basic classification scheme, then for those libraries and bookstores where they don't wish to separate out books on pets, where the books-on-pet-parrots and the books-on-wild-parrots are to be shelved side-by-side, you can't do it. If you did, you'd be interleaving books from different parts of the classification scheme right together on the same shelf. I'm not a librarian, but I thought that would defeat one of the major points of even having a classification scheme by which to shelve books.

Feb 28, 2009, 8:51pm Top

You are suggesting then that Pets should be an optional facet and not a top level category.

Feb 28, 2009, 9:04pm Top

I'd like to suggest that - pets are animals of varying kinds, and as such that infers it is not a top level just with that.

Also - if science, and that is so broad and so all-encompassing IMHO, is a top level; how, in all logic can pets be at that same level?

Feb 28, 2009, 9:36pm Top

> 11

My understanding of the facets is that they were to be an extra organization tool for the OSC, so that sub-collections based on something other than book content could be pulled out. Like having facets for audience, or format. I didn't think that facets were to be applied to content.

Or was I mistaken? Are perhaps facets, being optional, to be used for whatever alternate categorization of books that a particular collection needs?

If that's the case, then yes, make a Pets facet if you need that classification of such books in addition to their "base" classification as books on particular types of animals, within the study of animals (Zoology).

Mar 6, 2009, 10:59pm Top

I think the reason why pets are a top-level category is because they are frequently separated that way in bookstores. To some degree OSC is trying to take a middle ground between older public library classification schemes, and ones used in retail.

Mar 6, 2009, 11:32pm Top

I'm quite aware of the bookstore reason for making Pets a top-level category. And I strongly disagree with it for the OSC.

I think that making a top-level Pets category in the basic OSC will muck up a number of related categories, as I suggested in #10. Rather, leave it as an option to break Pets out, rather than a requirement of the OSC, and I think it's fine, and can be used by those who want it.

Mar 7, 2009, 12:22pm Top


Are you uncomfortable with the middle ground because it is so messy?

I would think even with pets as a top category, any library would be free to put every mammal pet book under Zoology /Mammals.

Edited: Mar 7, 2009, 4:20pm Top

First, let's continue the Pets discussion in the Pets thread and continue discussing subcategories of Science here.

>13 Suncat: Yes, facets are an extra organization tool.

>14 vpfluke: -16 Suncat you give very strong and excellent arguments for not having Pets as a top-level, but I would like to see some concrete examples (using books in librarything) of why Pets and Science > Zoology cannot coexist. And vpfluke, you are correct in that OSC is attempting to be a modern system for public libraries, and therefore relates to BISAC. Pet care is extremely popular in public libraries, and with Dewey and other systems it often gets lost in Science. Again, not all pets are animals.

Also, not all top levels have the same "weight", and this is true of any classification system. The goal is to be able to aggregate. Public libraries reflect their local communities and have great variation in the types of collections they contain.

Mar 8, 2009, 10:18pm Top


Again, not all pets are animals.

Last time I assumed you'd just had a brain-o, and meant it the other way around.

I could be snarky and pretend to think you're talking about pet rocks, but instead I will ask:

If you really think animals are the same thing as mammals, such that birds, reptiles, and fish are not animals, what on EARTH are you doing developing a classification system that, at some level, is going to include this sort of distinction, without accepting input from people who actually know the subject matter?

Mar 9, 2009, 4:36pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Mar 9, 2009, 4:44pm Top

>18 lorax:, 19, I think the benefit of the doubt is warranted here. laena may have been referring to animatronic pets like these: http://www.slate.com/id/2206604/

I don't speak for her, but PETS would be a reasonable place to shelve books about these kinds of products, if any exist.

Mar 9, 2009, 4:45pm Top

I would appreciate us moving on from this discussion and the personal abuse. This thread is for discussing the SCIENCE top level.

Please see the PETS thread and scope note if you do not understand what that top level was created for. PETS is meant to cover pet care, training, etc. not the study and literature of animals. Animals fall under the SCIENCE top level, which this thread is meant to discuss.

Mar 9, 2009, 5:14pm Top

Laena, if you want to move on from "personal abuse", perhaps you can do us the same courtesy, and not assume that disagreements necessarily result from "not understanding what the top level was created for"?

I think the reason many of us have been reluctant to actually provide a second-level classification for science is because you haven't ever said "Yes, we will listen to what you have to say". Obviously we aren't expecting that you accept every suggestion, or even the consensus -- but there was no indication that you even considered 90% of the suggestions made for the top-level classification, or any responses to some very reasonable objections other than "See the scope notes, you obviously just don't understand the categories", and I think a lot of us just don't want to waste both your time and ours if you're just going to go with whatever scheme you already have in mind anyway.

Mar 9, 2009, 7:01pm Top

I've mostly just been watching this discussion with interest, but I think message 21 perfectly illustrates the problems with this whole process.

The goal is to arrive at a consensus, not to "move on" while many people remain dissatisfied with earlier decisions. The issue is not lack of understanding and shouldn't just be dismissed.

Maybe this isn't the ideal thread for the Pets discussion, but then you should address the concerns in the Pets thread, rather than just telling other people to go there. Other people have already stated their opinion, and you know what it is. What seems to be lacking is a real response.

People want to see engagement and discussion, not already-made decisions that come from above with no possibility of change.

I'm not saying that Pets shouldn't exist as a top-level category; I'd be perfectly willing to accept it. But I'd like to see some real discussion first.

Mar 10, 2009, 4:38am Top

I also think it is somewhat disingenuous to say that Pets isn't going to cover the "study and literature of animals". You (laena) even mentioned "Dogs > Breeds" in the suggested breakdown of pets, and I like many library users would head for a Pets section to find about such things as breeds - but to me that is firmly in the "study and literature of animals". As well as books on training and stuff surely one would also expect to see books about the health-care of their pet this will be another big sticking-point when we get to Veterinary books.

Mar 20, 2009, 10:46am Top

Please check out this thread (http://www.librarything.com/topic/60594) for a link to the new OSC blog and a call for specific volunteer involvement. Thanks!

Mar 20, 2009, 11:43am Top

Wow. I can't believe you guys made a list of "top levels being debated"...
...and didn't include science. Not having time to read all the threads is one thing, but I have to think you probably noticed something about that, maybe once or twice. I'm not one of the pro-breaking-up-science people myself, but... that is just shocking. It's like you're deliberately trying to drive certain people away.

Mar 20, 2009, 11:57am Top

Pets is up there though, wasn't that the main problem?

Mar 20, 2009, 12:11pm Top


Not really.

Mar 20, 2009, 12:39pm Top

>27 jlelliott:
Reviewing old posts just now, I guess the issue wasn't as obvious as I remembered. It might have been missed by someone skimming, so message 26 was a bit strong.

My understanding is that "Pets" wasn't initially brought up because Science people (or was it one vocal Science person?) cared where Pets were shelved. It was an example of how the argument to "aggregate at a certain level" (message 4) was applied grossly unevenly.

Edited: Apr 8, 2009, 11:06am Top

We are a group of library science graduate students who have been analyzing the forums as well as various classification schemes. Our aim here is to assist in the construction of second levels for the Science category. Please click on our profile for more information. An addendum with some issues for discussion is provided after the levels below.

Science Second-Level Categories:

- Includes general reference, history of science, philosophy of science, and Natural History.

- Includes Astrophysics and Cosmology, works on the solar system, the stars, and stellar systems.
- Space travel might be better classified in Transportation.
- Telescopy and Astronomical Instruments might be better classified in: Technology->Scientific Instruments

(Archaeology--See Sociology and Anthropology)

- Includes: Bacteriology, Biology, Botany, Cytology, Ecology, Evolution, Genetics, Genomics, Microorganisms, Zoology, etc.
- This could include General Physiology. Human Anatomy and Human Physiology might be better classified under Medicine, as per LC, Dewey, and UDC.
- Using the current OSC model, sub-categories of Domestic Animals would be found elsewhere, under Top-Level Categories Pets or Agriculture.
- See addendum below regarding title and grouping.

- Includes General, Analytic, Clinical, Industrial, Inorganic, Organic, Physical, Technological, Theoretical, etc.
- Could include Mineralogy and Crystallography, as per UDC & Dewey.

- Hybrid field which includes works on conservation/environmental preservation. Please see our addendum regarding this category. We encourage any thoughts and further discussion.

- Includes: Climatology, Ecology, Geography, Geology, Geophysics, Geodesy, Hydrology, Meteorology, Oceanography, Seismology.
- See addendum below regarding title and grouping.

- Includes fossil types, as well as sub-categories of Paleobotany, Paleozoology, etc.

- Includes Acoustics, Electricity, Electromagnetism, Fluid Mechanics, Gravity, Heat, Light, Magnetism, Mathematical Physics, Mechanics, Molecular Physics, Nuclear Physics, Optics, Quantum Theory, Radiation - as opposed to radiology (Technology & Engineering), Relativity, Solid State Physics, Time, Wave Mechanics, Weights and Measures.

Under this scheme, every second-level Science category would have its own General sub-category, which could be further divided into history, philosophy, general reference, and experiments.

We believe that placing "earth" and "life" sciences as second levels will simplify shelf flow for libraries which might not have large science collections, while simultaneously allowing for deep levels similar to the Dewey system, Library of Congress, etc, for those libraries which require such. In practice, this would group the Dewey classes of 570 (Life sciences; biology), 580 (Botany) and 590 (Zoology). Titling these two overarching categories "Geology and Earth Sciences" and "Biology and Life Sciences" might provide a helpful direction/clarification for those needing more specific terms than "life" and "earth."

Currently, we believe that Medicine as a overall category fits better in Technology as an applied science, as per Dewey and other classification schemes. (This opens up debate as to whether the Technology first level should officially include "applied sciences." If not Technology, where?) The same goes for scientific instruments, biotechnology and technological disciplines related to science (radiology, spectroscopy, microscopy, etc). Established classification systems are not all in agreement on this issue. Dewey puts "Techniques, equipment & materials" in several Science categories (see 522 and 542) but disciplines such as Radiology in Technology. Library of Congress has Microscopy in Natural History/Biology (QH). We are interested to hear other opinions on this issue.

Environmental Science is included in the General Science category of the Universal Decimal Classification system. However, works on conservation such as Rachel Carson's Silent Spring are classified in Dewey as 363, "Other social problems & services." Given the growing popularity of this hybrid field and the multitude of books within it which are tagged as 'environment' before 'social science' across various platforms, could this provide ample reason for including Environmental Science as a second level here as opposed to Social Science? (The absence of a 'Social Science' first level category further complicates this issue.)

edited to remove "Horticulture" from "Biology and Life Sciences"
edited to include notes on Archaeology; Domestic Animals

Apr 7, 2009, 5:19pm Top

If Archaeology goes with Sociology and Anthropolgy, perhaps there should be a note here indicating where to find it

Edited: Apr 7, 2009, 5:25pm Top

(The absence of a 'Social Science' first level category further complicates this issue.)

Hey, don't look at us, that was laena's call, as this is yours.

You should note that "Zoology" does not include domestic animals, which would be found under Pets or Agriculture, depending. And, given the presence of both "Gardening" and "Agriculture" top-levels, what's left for the "Horticulture" you mention here?

Edited: Apr 7, 2009, 6:07pm Top

>32 lorax: - You're right about Horticulture. Books on gardening (and horticulture) in Dewey often fall under the 630's (Technology->Agriculture & related technologies, etc). Both Gardening and Horticulture fall under Agriculture (S) in LC.

So remove Horticulture from Biology and place under- Agriculture or Gardening?

Re: Archaeology, the old thread here http://www.librarything.com/topic/55963 has some good points (and some very strange ones).

Apr 7, 2009, 6:18pm Top

>32 lorax:- Good point. So Horticulture is redundant as a 3rd level and should be removed from "Biology and Life Sciences" 2nd Level.

Apr 7, 2009, 10:44pm Top

#33 Thanks for pointing me back to the Archaeology thread (and I had actually read it).

What I was thinking is that our sets of categories might include references to where that subcategory resides. I saw this in another thread and might help us remember where we had settled some questions. Thus,

Archaeology -- see Sociology and Anthropology.


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