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Fiction

Build the Open Shelves Classification

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1laena
Feb 23, 2009, 11:59am Top

Includes literature, drama (plays), anthologies, and genre works (such as mystery, romance, science fiction, westerns). Place literary criticism under LITERARY CRITICISM. Place poetry under POETRY.

2mattsya
Feb 24, 2009, 3:42pm Top

I'm not sure about drama as a subset of fiction. Conceptually, a work of fiction is a complete work of art in and of itself, while a play's script is just one building block in a piece of art that is to be performed. Practically, most fiction is read for leisure. Scripts are read by a more specific audience, mostly students, actors, and drama aficionados. Drama may be a better fit with performing arts.

3polutropon
Feb 24, 2009, 4:12pm Top

Maybe this has already been worked out, but since you mention drama, what about works that clearly fall into the categories of both poetry and drama. All the Greek tragedies were written in verse, but they clearly qualify as drama. Where should they be shelved?

On the one hand, it would make sense to shelve them in a dedicated "drama" section, but on the other, it seems sort of irksome to have them shelved so far apart from, say, Homer. This is why I prefer the LoC practice of breaking literature down by language of origin rather than by genre.

4comfypants
Feb 24, 2009, 4:38pm Top

I have to disagree with message #2. Plays are very frequently read as literature.

5vpfluke
Feb 25, 2009, 11:41pm Top

I would place verse dramas under drama. When I think of Shakespeare, I think of drama before I think of poetry. And on the subject of Shakespeare, I think that Shakespeare is read far more than he is performed, and that's probably true of most pre-20th century drama.

6droogmark
Feb 28, 2009, 12:32pm Top

But then of course Shakespeare wrote both narrative and non-narrative poetry as well as drama. I would think that the average customer wants to have one place where they can find all of Shakespeare's works.

7Alixtii
Mar 2, 2009, 4:23pm Top

I think verse drama has to fall under poetry. If we had a top-level Drama category obviously that'd be different, but it seems just wrong to put Shakespeare's Hamlet, T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral, or Gertude Stein's Four Saints in Three Acts under "fiction" when there's a top-level "Poetry" category.

8conners
Mar 20, 2009, 10:53am 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!

9miss_print
Apr 4, 2009, 12:26am Top

I'm a Pratt student currently earning my Master's degree in library science. I am working with a group of fellow students to help build the secondary classification levels for the OSC. Please check out the blog that we are keeping to document our process at http://classifyme.blogspot.com/.

One of my starting points for this list was the BISAC list of categories for Fiction. From there I was able to use my own experience as a reader and from seven years working in public libraries. Thus, some category decisions I made in this draft of are informed by my library background and what I have seen in that time as popular fiction categories that patrons browse often.

As you might have guessed from that paragraph above, this is still a draft of categories that need further expansion and discussion.

Just to address a couple of decisions I expect to garner comments:

-Right now I have Science Fiction and Fantasy combined as one secondary level because many libraries might not have enough of either sci-fi or fantasy to justify two different areas and because readers of one genre (or myself anyway) will often read the other. Every library where I have worked has employed this same rationale and it's one that makes sense to me at this point in time.

-I also included a category for Verse Novels. What I refer to are novels, classified as fiction by current libraries, which are written in poetry (usually free verse). This is not meant to refer to anything that would be in the Poetry category but rather to refer to a growing segment (especially in terms of young adult titles) of books written in a specific style.

Anyway, here are categories (a line ending with general usually indicates that I know more sub-categorization could be applied but I have not as yet had a chance to flesh out said sub-categorization):

FICTION / General

FICTION / Action & Adventure / General

FICTION / African / General

FICTION / African American / General
FICTION / African American / Christian
FICTION / African American / Contemporary Women
FICTION / African American / Erotica
FICTION / African American / Historical
FICTION / African American / Mystery & Detective
FICTION / African American / Romance
FICTION / African American / Urban Life

FICTION / American / General

FICTION / Ancient, Classical & Medieval / General

FICTION / Anthologies (multiple authors) / General

FICTION / Asian / General

FICTION / Australian & Oceanian / General

FICTION / Biographical / General

FICTION / Canadian / General

FICTION / Caribbean & Latin American / General

FICTION / Christian / General
FICTION / Christian / Classic & Allegory
FICTION / Christian / Fantasy
FICTION / Christian / Futuristic
FICTION / Christian / Historical
FICTION / Christian / Romance
FICTION / Christian / Short Stories
FICTION / Christian / Suspense
FICTION / Christian / Western

FICTION / Classics / General

FICTION / Continental European / General

FICTION / Coming of Age / General

FICTION / Contemporary Women / General

FICTION / Crime / General

FICTION / Cultural Heritage / General

FICTION / Drama / General
FICTION / Drama / African
FICTION / Drama / American
FICTION / Drama / Ancient, Classical & Medieval
FICTION / Drama / Anthologies (multiple authors)
FICTION / Drama / Asian
FICTION / Drama / Australian & Oceanian
FICTION / Drama / Canadian
FICTION / Drama / Caribbean & Latin American
FICTION / Drama / Continental European
FICTION / Drama / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
FICTION / Drama / Middle Eastern
FICTION / Drama / Religious & Liturgical
FICTION / Drama / Shakespeare

FICTION / Erotica / General

FICTION / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh / General

FICTION / Espionage / General

FICTION / Fairy Tales, Folklore & Mythology / General

FICTION / Family Life / General

FICTION / Gay / General

FICTION / Ghost / General

FICTION / Historical / General

FICTION / Horror / General

FICTION / Humorous / General

FICTION / Jewish / General

FICTION / Legal / General

FICTION / Lesbian / General

FICTION / Literature see FICTION / Classics

FICTION / Media Tie-In / General

FICTION / Medical / General

FICTION / Men's Adventure / General

FICTION / Middle Eastern / General

FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Hard-Boiled
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Historical
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Hobbies
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Paranormal
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Short Stories
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Suspense
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Thriller
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Traditional British
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths

FICTION / Occult / General

FICTION / Plays see FICTION / Drama

FICTION / Political / General

FICTION / Psychological / General

FICTION / Religious / General

FICTION / Romance / General
FICTION / Romance / Adult
FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
FICTION / Romance / Fantasy
FICTION / Romance / Gothic
FICTION / Romance / Historical
FICTION / Romance / Paranormal
FICTION / Romance / Regency
FICTION / Romance / Short Stories
FICTION / Romance / Suspense
FICTION / Romance / Thriller
FICTION / Romance / Time Travel
FICTION / Romance / Western

FICTION / Sagas / General

FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / General
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Adventure
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Alternative History
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Contemporary
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Dystopian
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Epic
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / High Tech
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Historical
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Military
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Paranormal
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Short Stories
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Space Opera
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Urban Life
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Utopian

FICTION / Sea Stories / General

FICTION / Short Stories (multiple authors) see Anthologies (multiple authors)
FICTION / Short Stories (single author) / General

FICTION / Sports / General

FICTION / Suspense / General

FICTION / Technological / General

FICTION / Thrillers / General

FICTION / Urban Life / General

FICTION / Verse Novels / General

FICTION / Visionary & Metaphysical / General

FICTION / War & Military / General

FICTION / Westerns / General

10vpfluke
Apr 4, 2009, 1:03am Top

This is an impressive list.

I am wondering how to work geography into the equation. I think there had been some talk of facets. I read an African science fiction novel, that I might classify first as SF but then I lose its African author and setting. With LT as a universal library effort, perhaps the genre trumps the country (the exception is when people are part of another language subset of LT).

11vpfluke
Edited: Apr 4, 2009, 1:10am Top

Some modern novels might be better classified under heading such as modernist, post-modernist, avant-garde, experimental, and such. I just went to an Oulipo book signing this week in New York. Jacques Roubaud's La Boucle, now just translated into English as "The Loop". some see this book as crossover between memoir and fiction, and the author definitely didn't want to get nailed down on this.

12PortiaLong
Edited: Apr 4, 2009, 1:20am Top

Just a bit of background - my original breakdown of "fiction" was -

(FICTION)
General Fiction (includes Humor and Literary Collections)
- Literary Criticism
Science Fiction and Fantasy (includes Horror)
Crime and Mystery (includes Thrillers)
Romance and Westerns
Plays and Poetry
Graphic Fiction (comics, manga, etc.)


(Which, of course reflects my own personal biases - for instance "romance" and "western" likely share no common thread other that that I dislike them both for the same reason.)

I am ONLY responding to the SFF breakdown - I, personally, would utlilize a breakdown such as-

Fiction
- Sci-fi, Fantasy, Horror
** Sci-fi
___Alternative History
___Cyberpunk
___Dystopian
___Military
___Near Future
___Space Opera
_*ANTHOLOGY (facet/format) General or Theme (choose one of above)

** Fantasy
- I don't read much fantasy but I imagine they have subgenres the way SF does - maybe dragons? vampires? spells/wizardry? (Fantasy readers please ignore my ignorance - LOTR and Asprin's M.Y.T.H. books are about my limit here)

** Horror
-- again, admitting my ignorance - but I imagine there are subgenres here as well...

I clump these all together because they admit some sort of deviance from general life experience (i.e. life + some aspect we don't acknowledge as "generally accepted" as part of our universal experience - extrapolation, supernatural contact, "magic").

I imagine most libraries wouldn't want to breakdown further than SFF - but some speciality libraries/stores might.

As a fan of S(cience) F(iction) but not F(antasy) - I appreciate any breakdown that gets me closer to what I am looking to find. (generally "hard" SF) - But I also understand a system that wants to clump all books by one author under one umbrella. (For instance Orson Scott Card - I would put Ender's Game (http://www.librarything.com/series/Ender's%20Game:%20Extended) books under SF, Alvin Maker (http://www.librarything.com/series/Alvin%20Maker)books as Fantasy, and the Women of
Genesis series as Religious/Historical Fiction (http://www.librarything.com/series/Women+of+Genesis).

13andyl
Apr 4, 2009, 5:14am Top

I've posted before about the African-American thing.

Firstly, it is incredibly culturally specific. See http://www.librarything.com/topic/55508 (msg 176) and http://www.librarything.com/topic/55684 (msg 126 onwards)

Do the majority of people really think "FICTION / African American / Mystery & Detective" and not "FICTION / Mystery & Detective / African American"? Also many American people use African American to mean black - when they are not synonymous. Non-Americans usually reject the term.

If people really see a need for African American maybe it should be at the terminal level.

14tcarter
Apr 4, 2009, 5:37am Top

It seems to me that this is due to a mix of categorisation criteria. We mostly have categorisation by genre: sci-fi etc. But we also have some categorisation by author/reader sub-culture eg Christian, African American, Gay, Continental Europe.

Whilst I understand the findability rationale for categorisation by sub-culture I think that reduces the flexibility of the system, and institutionalises divisions that are historically and contextually contingent. For instance I am glad to see that there isn't a separate category for female authors, it's not so long ago that there would have been.

15Suncat
Apr 4, 2009, 10:46am Top

13,14> I completely agree with both of you.

I highly enjoy the Benjamin January novels from Barbara Hambly. The first in the series is A Free Man of Color, which states exactly what January is, a free black man living in Louisiana of the late 1830s. He is drawn into various mysteries which he has to end up solving. So, we have books which are historical fiction, mystery and arguably African American (by content rather than author).

Given the predominance of genre fiction in many of our minds, I'd use Mystery first, and then Historical. I'd tack on African American at the end, because I could still see it being a point of interest, at least in the U.S., and so it should be searchable that way.

All of that said, if a place isn't using genre breakouts, I better just look for the Hs.

16miss_print
Apr 4, 2009, 6:25pm Top

Thanks for all of the feedback everyone! The posts reminded me of some general comments I forgot to make when I posted the levels:

Most libraries don't have highly specialized fiction collections, as a result this list might need narrowing in some places more than expansion. Also, I used several BISAC categories as a starting point to put this one together which might account for the change in categorization decisions some of you mentioned.

17miss_print
Apr 4, 2009, 6:37pm Top

>10 vpfluke:: In terms of geography as it relates to fiction, would it be better served as a lower (not secondary) level of classification? Would a facet be even more helpful?

>11 vpfluke:: I completely forgot about more modern classifications! Would a separate secondary level for each (Modernist, Post-Modernist, Avant-Garde, Experimental, and others that might be suggested) make sense in the classification scheme?

>12 PortiaLong:: I always see sci-fi and fantasy grouped together (the definition I have between the two is that the technology in science fiction novels could conceivably work if someone ever built it which is usually not true of fantasies). I have, rarely, seen Horror as a separate category which is why it was separated here. It might however make sense to group them all together and let libraries decide to further separate as they see fit.

>13 andyl:: Should there be any indication of "African American" (or "Black") at the category level. The list here is secondary levels--does this make more sense as a classification to be tagged on later down the line? (I'm getting the feeling the answer is yes, but just to be really clear.)

>14 tcarter:: In terms of the "outlier" categorizations (Christian, Gay, Lesbian and all of the regional ones), should they be in the Fiction secondary levels? It just occurred to me that LGBTQ might be better than separating Gay and Lesbian categories. What about the regional ones though? I saw them in BISAC and through them in but does anyone ever browse for fiction from Continental Europe, etc?

>15 Suncat:: You mentioned African American being a point of interest for the Benjamin January novels. In terms of OSC--should every point of interest be present in the classifications (call numbers)?

18Suncat
Apr 4, 2009, 7:38pm Top

>17 miss_print:, responding to >15 Suncat:

Not at all. I only included African American because it was a second level category in >9 miss_print:. I was more saying that if such a point of interest was included in the call number, it should be at the very end. I question whether such fine-grained classifications should remain in the call number at all, or move over into the more flexible subject headings.

19PortiaLong
Edited: Apr 4, 2009, 11:48pm Top

>17 miss_print:, responding to >14 tcarter:

I think LGBT should be a secondary level - and separate them out at the tertiary level. I can see that many libraries wouldn't have a large enough collection to pull them out at all and that larger general libraries (like my public library) and some bookstores may have enough for a small section of the "combined" subset - but that only REALLY big libraries or specialty queer-friendly bookstores/libraries will want to pull out by sub-sub-sets.

>18 Suncat:/17/14

I agree that African American should be further down the sort - perhaps a facet if it is requested by libraries.

>17 miss_print: responding to my 12 - I would also add what you have as "Occult" to my sff+horror category of Life + something not part of general life experience - but I don't have an intuitive heading for this kind of group - so maybe it would be enough to put them NEXT to each other in the classification scheme - in which case I would separate SF and Fantasy

SF
Fantasy
Horror/Occult

I agree with 14 that the secondaries are a number of intertwined categorization schemes - genre, format, etc. Genre + drama seems the most obvious secondary categorization to me, where specialty interestest such as "Christian" or "LGBT" seem much more useful as facets (as there will be examples of each in many of the genre classifications). Format such as "anthology" would seem to me to be a facet type distinction as well. (Bias - In my personal library I shelve all the fiction together by author but pull out the anthologies and put them at the end grouped by genre.)

If we are thinking about how libraries/bookstores are likely to want to use the classifications - I think that most are going to pull out a few of the classifications that are of most interest to their clientele and leave the rest lumped together.

20andyl
Apr 5, 2009, 3:49pm Top

#19

Would "weird fiction" do instead of occult? It seems to fit the supernatural, mythic pulpy tales of that existed when the magazine Weird Tales was at its height. Or do you see occult as wider than that I think if one wants to chunk SF, fantasy, horror, and weird (maybe even gothic fiction) together then speculative fiction is the best term.

21PortiaLong
Apr 5, 2009, 4:05pm Top

>20 andyl:

Oh yes! I like "weird fiction" that is good - but do people who read "weird fiction" identify the genre as such? Do they think that it is a good match with "occult"? Or put the other way - do people who like to read stories about communicating with the dead, possession/exorcism etc. think of their fiction as "weird"?

I see that we have a proposed secondary of "ghost" as separate from "horror" (not all ghosts are scary - got it) but I think that could be folded into something else. Oh, and what about non-occulty paranormal stories - mind-reading, telekenesis, ESP, auras - etc ?

The problem with "speculative fiction" is that the SF readers will look there for their books but I'm not sure that horror readers would see a category "speculative fiction" and automatically think to themselves "Oh, yes, the stuff I am looking for will be over there!"

22andyl
Apr 5, 2009, 4:17pm Top

Well I guess there are subtle distinctions between supernatural horror and supernatural and weird fiction even though all can contain the supernatural. Many would include ghost stories in weird fiction.

As for popularity - it gets over 100,000 hits on google and about 126 people tag "weird fiction" on LT. There may well be more that tag books just weird but that tag is also used to mean strange rather than identify a particular style of book.

23polutropon
Apr 6, 2009, 12:44pm Top

Some of the categories listed above in >9 miss_print: seem a little farfetched to me. For example, categories are listed there for: Media Tie-in, Men's Adventure, Sea Stories, Urban Life, and Visionary & Metaphysical. I have absolutely no doubt that these are perfectly reasonable ways to classify certain works. At the same time, I can't help but wonder what the utility is of subdividing fiction in this way. Honestly, how likely is a person to walk in to the library and ask, "Where are your sea stories?" or, "Where do you shelve your media tie-ins?", or, "Where is your fiction re: urban life?"

(I've seen "Urban" used as a euphemism for African American literature in some bookstores, but presumably that's not what's intended here, since the list includes African American fiction as an explicit subgrouping).

In some of these cases, it seems like we are engaging in categorization for categorization's sake, rather than asking ourselves how much the patron is likely to gain from shelving books about X separately.

24miss_print
Apr 6, 2009, 2:34pm Top

These are just some quick general responses, I'll post something more specific after I've had a chance to fool around with the levels more.

>20 andyl:: I'm hesitant about a "weird fiction" category (although in many ways it is apt) because it might scare off readers who are not entirely familiar with what the section would entail. What I have done is combined SF, F, and Horror. I might also add Occult as a subgenre of that grouping. OR we could have separate levels (SF/F and then Horror/Occult)--anyone have a preference there?

>21 PortiaLong:: Another option is to have a Paranormal level although I don't know how that would fold in with the SFF category/ies.

*In terms of the SFF/Horror issue I will try to create some alternative level options to post later this week.

25miss_print
Apr 6, 2009, 2:40pm Top

>23 polutropon:: As I have been saying in my earlier posts, this is still a preliminary list--one that I put together from a variety of different sources, thus the multiple categorization perspectives. I am working on creating a more unified list through user-comments here.

Urban fiction is actually a very legitimate and highly popular genre in the library at every level. Writers like Zane and Eric Jerome Dickey often fall into that genre. Urban life or street lit also has more defining factors than just being about African Americans including but not limited to characterization, plot devices, and diction.

I have known several people to look specifically for nautical fiction, which might be a better name than "sea stories" I will grant.

As to media-tie ins, Libraries often get new editions of books once a movie is released. Movie/TV events also are one way that readers discover books and, since so many books are being made into movies in recent years it seems like it could be an interesting option for a library with the space for such a section.

26miss_print
Apr 6, 2009, 2:43pm Top

As to the African American (and other regional sub-levels), I don't like them. I have seen libraries create special collections to accommodate the neighborhood ("Books about China" in a Chinatown branch for instance) so I think some option for a such a collection is good, but not perhaps for each region/culture at the secondary level.

I was thinking something like a secondary level called "Cultural Experience/Heritage" might be more appropriate to group different books about cultures (African American, Asian, Latino, etc.) together and sub-divide them on a tertiary level. What do you guys think of that idea and of the possible naming of such a category?

27mattsya
Apr 6, 2009, 3:06pm Top

I am afraid that dividing so heavily by something so subjective as genre puts us on a slippery slope towards uselessness. This sort of thing works for bookstores, were things are sold and are never re-shelved, but books in a library have a much longer shelf-life. Generally, I think people would expect works by the same author be shelved together. And with what we have here some (most) authors work will eventually be divided by needless and arbitrary genre distinctions. (I hereby dub this the Neil Gaiman Problem..)

There are a few well-established genres with their own history and conventions and with authors that tend to stick (mostly) to them. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Western, Romance. Any further subdividing is subject to argument by fans of those genres. And even the divisions between these seemingly well-defined genres can be argued endlessly.

If fiction is to be subdivided it should be done in the traditional ways with objective details—original language, country of origin, time-period written, and so on.

A bookstore can divide its fiction anyway it wants to and can change its mind as often as it wants to. Anything that helps sales goes. Libraries need to be a little more deliberate and make decisions that will make sense for decades.

And if a library does feel the need to showcase paranormal men’s adventure sea-stories, that seems like a decision best made at the library itself, not something hard-cataloged in the classification scheme.

And another note: The term “weird fiction.” If I saw that, I would think that it meant “fiction written weirdly.” I would expect to find meta-fiction there, John Barth, Italo Calvino, guys like that. It’s a bad term.

28polutropon
Apr 6, 2009, 3:07pm Top

>25 miss_print:, I have no doubt that people come into the library looking for nautical fiction. I just wonder whether catering to those few is sufficient to justify pulling Moby Dick out from American Literature, where everyone else would expect to find it.

As to "Urban Life," let me just plead ignorance. I assumed that since "African American" was an explicit category, that "Urban Life" meant something different.

Related to this, and to your post in >26 miss_print:, what exactly is an "African American" category intended to include? Novels whose authors are African Americans, or novels featuring African American characters, or novels of primary interest to an African American audience? I recognize that there is a huge overlap between those categories (and this is a hugely awkward question to have to pose), but what are the guidelines for whether a particular novel qualifies?

I think a potentially simpler solution than collecting all these works in a secondary "Cultural Experience/Heritage" and then separating them at the tertiary level, would be to include them as tertiary levels under some other secondary level. For instance, African American Fiction could be a subcategory beneath American Fiction, etc. This would save us the headache of having to decide whether Song of Solomon belongs in American Fiction or in Cultural Experience/Heritage.

29polutropon
Edited: Apr 6, 2009, 3:34pm Top

>27 mattsya:, If fiction is to be subdivided it should be done in the traditional ways with objective details—original language, country of origin, time-period written, and so on.

Seconded, but I think that if libraries wanted to do it that way, they'd use Dewey or LCC. The fact that they don't is evidence that OSC could improve on those older schemes. I just think that this level of detail is overkill.

ETA: Interestingly, even breaking things down by "objective" criteria doesn't solve the Neil Gaiman problem. The Library of Congress uses the objective criteria of author nationality to shelve its literature. But Neil Gaiman became a naturalized U.S. citizen during his publishing career, so that in LCC, his early works are shelved PR (British Literature), while his later works are shelved PS (American Literature). That guy ruins everything!

ETA again: Fact checking the assertion that NG became naturalized turned up nothing but this (http://immigration.about.com/od/successfulimmigrants/p/NeilGaiman.htm) in which he asserts he will probably never become naturalized, although he is a British expatriate in the U.S. Also, here (http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/11/catching-up-little-at-time.html) he writes that as of 11/13/2008, he is not a U.S. citizen. So that's my bad; I should have checked those facts first. But I am correct about the call numbers: Stardust is PS3557.A3519 S73 1998b, while American Gods is PR6057.A319 A84 2004.

30andyl
Apr 6, 2009, 3:33pm Top

FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / General
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Adventure
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Alternative History
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Contemporary
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Dystopian
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Epic
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / High Tech
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Historical
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Military
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Paranormal
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Short Stories
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Space Opera
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Urban Life
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Utopian


Whoah. Too specific and yet not specific enough.

For example is FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Military - Miltary SF or Miltary Fantasy or both
same for Epic

No mention of Cyberpunk? Hard SF? Time-travel? All are pretty well-recognised sub-genres of SF. Also the correct term is Alternate History not Alternative History (yes we know it is poor English but we can't fix it now).

I would want some split between SF and Fantasy at tertiary level - yes I know it is difficult but the tertiary levels above are as well.

I would prefer to see something like the following
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / General
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Superhero
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Short Stories
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / General
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Short Stories
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Alternate History
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Cyberpunk
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Hard SF
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Space Opera
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Military
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Near Future
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Utopia & Dystopia
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Media Tie-Ins
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / General
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Short Stories
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Urban Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Epic Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / High Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Sword & Sorcery
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Historic Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Romantic Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Heroic Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Contemporary Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Mythic Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fantasy / General
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fantasy / Sword & Planet

Note - I have added Science Fantasy at the tertiary level. I would also expect that most libraries wouldn't take it down to sub-genre (the quaternary level) however I have added and removed stuff so that it looks more sensible to people who are familiar with SF&F (if you check out my library you will see I have quite a large collection of SF).

I still think that It is going to be hard to put Horror as a separate secondary category. Vampires, for example, appear in SF, Fantasy and horror books.

31andyl
Apr 6, 2009, 4:02pm Top

#29

Well also even if Gaiman ever did become a naturalised US citizen, he would still be a British citizen as well unless he actively renounces his nationality.

I also don't think the LCC way of doing stuff PS (for the US) and PR (for any other work in English) and Juvenile works which are PZ (for both US and elsewhere) is a particularly smart way of working. They also get a number of books / authors wrong. Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon is a PS although his later Broken Angels is a PR. One of Harlan Ellison's collections of adult SF is a PZ, as is Aldiss's Barefoot In The Head (which is about the bombing of Europe with psychedelic drugs). And there are more (all off the first 3 pages of my catalogue).

32polutropon
Apr 6, 2009, 4:23pm Top

>31 andyl:, Good point. One (possibly) more objective solution could be to divide by the original language of the work rather than by author's nationality. Of course, that would put us in the position of not differentiating American Literature from British Literature. I'm not opposed to such a scheme in principle, but it would be quite radical.

Aside: sometimes LCC gives the same work both a PZ call number and a P_ call number. I always try to find the non-PZ call number, if there is one, and shelve accordingly.

33jjwilson61
Apr 6, 2009, 6:30pm Top

As a reader, I don't really care what nationality the author is or what language it was originally written in. I don't go to the library and think, "I think I'll try an Australian author this time." And if I'm looking for author X, I don't want to have to know if he is British or American. So I vote for genre's and not nationalities.

34polutropon
Apr 6, 2009, 6:44pm Top

>33 jjwilson61:, I don't think it necessarily has to be an either-or proposition, although it would simplify matters. I agree with >27 mattsya: that genre classifications are subjective, but they are helpful to browsers. The problem is that not all FICTION can be placed into an identifiable genre. Take Ulysses for example. It doesn't have a genre, and nobody wants to make one up just to house it. If FICTION is to be subdivided helpfully at all so as to house Ulysses, the only subcategory that really makes sense is "English Fiction." Same for Candide --> French Fiction.

The alternative is to not subdivide any fiction that doesn't fall into an indentifiable genre. Just shelve it all alpha-by-author. I'll lay my cards on the table and say that I am in favor of that. It's a radical departure from Dewey and LCC, which I think is a good thing in this instance.

35miss_print
Apr 6, 2009, 11:44pm Top

Changes:

* I got rid of all of the "regional" categories (Australian, Middle Eastern, etc.) as well as the African American category. I left regional references in the drama section because (maybe this is me) it seems like a breakdown that is used more often from plays than prose.

* I combined Horror and Occult into one level. I am realizing this is going to be problematic. Options include creating a PARANORMAL/SUPERNATURAL secondary level and putting the Ghost and Horror & Occult levels under there are tertiary options.

* The ghost secondary level is still there because until the SFF/Horror & Occult stuff is dealt with I'm just not sure where Ghosts would fit.

* I used andyl's proposed SFF breakdown (thanks for the suggestions andyl!).

* I added an Immigrant Experience category because while not the same as a "cultural/heritage" level the latter reminded me that the former might have a place. I also personally know of a lot of books that could fit this genre.

General stuff regarding these levels:

* I know that a lot of libraries have fiction just alphabetically, but if I did that here then I would have no more work to do so, for now at least, I'm sticking with genre divisions.

* I am also trying to focus on the genre divisions because I think it's useful in two ways. First, for browsers who don't know anything about what they want to read except that it needs to be a sea story or a Sci Fi space opera. Second, this breakdown could potentially be really useful for a librarian trying to offer book recommendations to someone who wants a similar book but not by the same author. "Oh, you're a fan of LGBTQ books? Why not check that shelf right there?"

* I appreciate that these levels might be too broad right now. That's why the extraneous African American level is no longer present. However, at this point in time I think it might be wiser to be too broad (too many classifications) than too narrow (too few). A library can always disregard levels they won't use. They cannot add sub-categories after the fact.

As always, you can see my transcription of the my forum posts and very general summaries of the discussions on the forums at my group's blog at http://classifyme.blogspot.com/

Anyway, with all of that in mind, here is an updated version of the fiction levels for your viewing pleasure:

FICTION / General

FICTION / Action & Adventure / General

FICTION / Ancient, Classical & Medieval / General

FICTION / Anthologies (multiple authors) / General

FICTION / Avant-Garde / General

FICTION / Biographical / General

FICTION / Christian / General
FICTION / Christian / Classic & Allegory
FICTION / Christian / Fantasy
FICTION / Christian / Futuristic
FICTION / Christian / Historical
FICTION / Christian / Romance
FICTION / Christian / Short Stories
FICTION / Christian / Suspense
FICTION / Christian / Western

FICTION / Classics / General

FICTION / Coming of Age / General

FICTION / Contemporary Women / General

FICTION / Crime / General

FICTION / Cultural Heritage / General

FICTION / Drama / General
FICTION / Drama / African
FICTION / Drama / American
FICTION / Drama / Ancient, Classical & Medieval
FICTION / Drama / Anthologies (multiple authors)
FICTION / Drama / Asian
FICTION / Drama / Australian & Oceanian
FICTION / Drama / Canadian
FICTION / Drama / Caribbean & Latin American
FICTION / Drama / Continental European
FICTION / Drama / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
FICTION / Drama / Middle Eastern
FICTION / Drama / Religious & Liturgical
FICTION / Drama / Shakespeare

FICTION / Erotica / General

FICTION / Espionage / General

FICTION / Experimental / General

FICTION / Fairy Tales, Folklore & Mythology / General

FICTION / Family Life / General

FICTION / Ghost / General

FICTION / Historical / General

FICTION / Immigrant Experience / General

FICTION / Humorous / General

FICTION / Jewish / General

FICTION / Legal / General

FICTION / LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) / General

FICTION / Literature see FICTION / Classics

FICTION / Media Tie-In / General

FICTION / Medical / General

FICTION / Men's Adventure / General

FICTION / Modern / General

FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Hard-Boiled
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Historical
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Hobbies
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Paranormal
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Short Stories
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Suspense
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Thriller
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Traditional British
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths

FICTION / Horror & Occult / General

FICTION / Plays see FICTION / Drama

FICTION / Political / General

FICTION / Post-Modern / General

FICTION / Psychological / General

FICTION / Religious / General

FICTION / Romance / General
FICTION / Romance / Adult
FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
FICTION / Romance / Fantasy
FICTION / Romance / Gothic
FICTION / Romance / Historical
FICTION / Romance / Paranormal
FICTION / Romance / Regency
FICTION / Romance / Short Stories
FICTION / Romance / Suspense
FICTION / Romance / Thriller
FICTION / Romance / Time Travel
FICTION / Romance / Western

FICTION / Sagas / General

FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / General
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Superhero
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Short Stories
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / General
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Short Stories
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Alternate History
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Cyberpunk
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Hard SF
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Space Opera
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Military
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Near Future
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Utopia & Dystopia
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fiction / Media Tie-Ins
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / General
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Short Stories
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Dark Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Urban Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Epic Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / High Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Sword & Sorcery
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Historic Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Romantic Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Heroic Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Contemporary Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Mythic Fantasy
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fantasy / General
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Science Fantasy / Sword & Planet

FICTION / Sea Stories / General

FICTION / Short Stories (multiple authors) see Anthologies (multiple authors)
FICTION / Short Stories (single author) / General

FICTION / Sports / General

FICTION / Suspense / General

FICTION / Technological / General

FICTION / Thrillers / General

FICTION / Urban Life / General

FICTION / Verse Novels / General

FICTION / Visionary & Metaphysical / General

FICTION / War & Military / General

FICTION / Westerns / General

36jjwilson61
Apr 7, 2009, 12:31am Top

Just a point of nomenclature. Wouldn't having broad categories mean that there would be fewer of them (as each one would cover more territory, so to speak) and thus narrow categories would necessitate more of them.

37andyl
Apr 7, 2009, 5:10am Top

FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Traditional British

What is this supposed to include? Is it just a nice way of saying Cosy? Also with a name of Traditional British some people may use it just for British authors.

FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths

I find this a bit of a problem too. Women Sleuths appear in a lot of the other tertiary sub-genres too (for example Sister Fidelma in Historical Mysteries and Miss Marple in the above Traditional British). I would expect that most people would look in Historical Mysteries for the Sister Fidelma series as they know they are set in ancient Ireland.

38PortiaLong
Apr 7, 2009, 9:26am Top

At the top level they elected to go with more categories but not necessarily categories that were equal in breadth. This was a decision I am/was not necessarily thrilled with as we end up with - "Science" (a really BIG category in my mind) and "Pets" and "Poetry." The argument being that they categories didn't have to be equal, they had to be useful.

Still, my preference is for a smaller number of broad categories rather than a larger number of narrow categories - as I personally find this more browsable - getting headed in at least the right general direction. Ultimately in the final "ordering" of categories having related genres next to each other (rather than alphabetical by genre type) would provide another intuitive association.

Thus:

FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy /
FICTION / Horror & Occult / General
FICTION / Horror & Occult/ Ghost / General

I think the Action/Adventure stuff could be gathered together a bit more:

FICTION / Action & Adventure / General
FICTION / Action & Adventure Men's Adventure / General
FICTION / Action & Adventure/ Thrillers / General

I think that the "Christian" genre works should be found in their genre and not under Christian and the Christion and Jewish non-genre works would be under Religion.

Thus:
FICTION / Religious / General
FICTION / Religious / Christian / General
FICTION / Religious / Jewish / General

but
FICTION / Christian / Fantasy
would be
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Fantasy / Christian

My argument is that most people looking for Christian writing are looking for Christian writing and if they happen to be looking for Christian Sci-Fi and don't find it under "Christian" they will know to look under Sci-Fi but the general Sci-Fi readers aren't going to think of looking in "Christian" to see if there were any Sci-Fi that they missed by just going to the "Sci-Fi" section - they are going to think it is all there.

39comfypants
Apr 7, 2009, 12:09pm Top

I would think having fewer 2nd-level categories would be more helpful here. If a particular library wanted to divide things further, they could use 3rd levels. If I was browsing, I'd browse for a general type of fiction, rather than fiction about a specific subject, as a few of these categories seem to be (such as "sea stories").

I'm a little confused about "thrillers" and "suspense" being separate. Is there a difference? If I were looking for James Bond, I'd look in whichever one of those categories I saw first, and wouldn't expect there to be an "espionage" section.

Is there a difference between "avant-garde" and "experimental?"

40polutropon
Edited: Apr 7, 2009, 2:16pm Top

In addition to starting from a vast number of categories and then cutting the unnecessary ones out, how about we also try starting from no subcategories, and creating new categories that are absolutely essential? Maybe it's just me, but I'm finding the number of categories listed above totally overwhelming, and I have no clue what sort of books fall into most of them, and I don't have any idea how they relate to one another. Maybe by proceeding from both extremes, we can find a way of meeting in the middle.

Based on what I've seen above, the following secondary categories seem absolutely essential:

FICTION / General
FICTION / Anthologies (multiple authors) (See messages 41 & 42)
FICTION / Drama
FICTION / Mystery & Detective
FICTION / Horror & Occult
FICTION / Religious
FICTION / Romance
FICTION / Science Fiction & Fantasy
FICTION / Westerns

There are some others, like Crime, Medical, and Legal, that might be helpful, although I'm not necessarily sure that people expect to be able to browse based on those themes.

Like >39 comfypants:, I'm confused about the difference between Thrillers and Suspense.

Also, I'm somewhat ambivalent about the existence of a FICTION / Short stories category; I'd prefer, if possible, for the same author's novels and short stories to be shelved side-by-side.

41Suncat
Apr 7, 2009, 12:46pm Top

>40 polutropon: I like this approach.

I'd suggest also that we don't even need an Anthologies secondary category to start with. My experience says that such books usually will have a theme that places them in one of the other existing topical categories, or else "general" (top level FICTION?).

42polutropon
Edited: Apr 7, 2009, 1:02pm Top

>41 Suncat:, What about very general anthologies like the Norton Anthology of English Literature? (My reading of the scope notes indicates that it would be shelved here). The consensus here seems to be (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that we can do without geographical second-level categories (like English Literature). I suppose we could shelve it alpha-by-author using its main editor's name, but to me that feels like an awkward solution.

You're certainly right, though, that an anthology of Horror stories should be shelved in FICTION / Horror / Anthologies, and not in FICTION / Anthologies.

ETA: If what you mean is, get rid of FICTION / Anthologies in my proposal, and replace it with FICTION / General / Anthologies, then I think that's a fine solution actually. I may have misunderstood your proposal at first.

43Suncat
Apr 7, 2009, 1:22pm Top

>42 polutropon: ETA: If what you mean is, get rid of FICTION / Anthologies in my proposal, and replace it with FICTION / General / Anthologies, then I think that's a fine solution actually. I may have misunderstood your proposal at first.

Yes, I think this is what I mean.

44droogmark
Apr 7, 2009, 1:35pm Top

>40 polutropon:
Thank you!
The crazy specialization of categories is exactly what is so unuseful about both DDC and LCC, and the reason that virtually every public library has done away with them for fiction. If we want something that libraries can actually use, and that users can actually browse, we need a small number of categories.

Also, my two cents is that dividing by country of origin at any level is just confusing to the vast majority of readers. It's not just the Neil Gaimans (and Henry Jameses, for that matter), it's that most readers have no idea where a particular author was born, and may not even know what language the original was written in.

45Suncat
Edited: Apr 7, 2009, 2:03pm Top

And while the country of origin information is of interest to some people, isn't that exactly the kind of thing which much better fits in the subject headings? I don't think anyone has suggested that OSC would be used without a parallel set of subject headings. And so, there's little if any reason to shelve by that qualification.

Come to think of it, that's a matter that I see mentioned very little in this whole OSC work--what type of classification is truly useful for shelving, and what can serve better in the subjects?

46polutropon
Edited: Apr 7, 2009, 2:10pm Top

>45 Suncat:, I could be persuaded to shelve whatever is left over in "FICTION / General" by language or author's nationality. The only reason I say this is because there are likely to be a lot of books left uncategorized by genre, and it might be helpful to have some sort of secondary organization for such works. Subdividing by language/nationality would be both a traditional and an objective way of organizing the non-genre fiction.

What I don't like about it though, is what >33 jjwilson61: pointed out: in order to find a particular work, I would need to know not only the author's name, but also his nationality.

47Suncat
Apr 7, 2009, 2:13pm Top

>46 polutropon: Your point is well taken. And as we've discussed at length, no library would be required to use the those language/nationality subdivisions.

Could you go back to your post >40 polutropon: and add "FICTION / General"? It's important that we don't leave it out.

48polutropon
Apr 7, 2009, 2:15pm Top

Done.

49vpfluke
Apr 7, 2009, 4:51pm Top

#39

I think there is relatively little difference between thriller (tagged 118,175 times in LT) and suspense (tagged 62,390 times in LT). The top thriller novelists are:
Dan Brown
Thomas Harris
Robert Ludlum
Tom Clancy
Michael Crichton

The top suspense novelists are:
Dan Brown
Robert Ludlum
Daphne Du Maurier
Dean Koontz
John Grisham

Not a real big difference here!

Regarding exprimental and avant-garde, these two are quite similar.

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