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Questions regarding cataloguing and classifications

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May 8, 2012, 7:45pm Top

I am really enjoying this site and so far have logged over 700 books. I am putting labels on each one and feeling like I making great progress. These are my questions/concerns at this point:
1. How do I organize/catalogue books that do not have LC numbers? ie. older books, self-published, etc.?
2. What suggestions might folk have about labeling and putting on my shelves booklets, etc. that I have purchased or gotten traveling...informational items that I want to keep?
3. Is there a tool to "translate" Dewey Decimal Numbers to LC?
4. If there is an ISBN, shouldn't there be a LC number or some other form of classification?

Edited: May 9, 2012, 3:26am Top

4) Books will only be classified if someone - actually someone in a library - has done it. The LoC classifies most US books and some from other countries if they want them in their catalogue. Many English-speaking libraries use Dewey.

If books are published in a non-English-speaking country they are less likely to have these classifications, because libraries in other countries use other systems. ISBN is an international system (International Standard Book Number). Classifacation systems tend to be either national or even just for a specific library.

May 9, 2012, 4:13pm Top

1. You could add your own - LC or Dewey. Look on Worldcat (in the Quicklinks, top right of the book page) or similar to find the book or something (that you'd put) in the same category, apply that number. It may be less "accurate" than what someone with more training in cataloging would apply, but that's essentially the way it's done (figure out what it's similar to/what category it's in and give it that number).
2. Two possibilities - either do 1. above and give it a number that seems appropriate, or have all the pamphlets/booklets in one place (shelf, bookcase, whatever - depends on how many you have, and what sizes they are). Sort within that place as seems fit to you - art in one area, travel info in another, for instance.
3. http://www.questionpoint.org/crs/html/help/it/ask/ask_map_ddctolcc.html , http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/classwebtutorial/9dewey.html#using , and others - search for "Dewey to LC" and a couple dozen useful sites come up.
4. What Martha said, and also - the ISBN is assigned by the publisher; Dewey or LC are assigned by libraries, after the book is published. There's really no correlation.

May 9, 2012, 4:20pm Top

Yup, ISBN is pretty much random - except for the fact that it encodes publisher and the language zone the publisher is in. But it doesn't provide any category codes of any sort.

I always thought LC numbers were pretty much the same - just year of publication and a sequential number to identify the specific book. But not being American I'm keeping out of that one.

May 9, 2012, 4:35pm Top

There are two different LC numbers. There is one that used to be in books that was pretty much as you said. But the other one is a classification scheme.

May 9, 2012, 4:40pm Top

>4 BarkingMatt:

Current ISBNs encodes publisher to a degree. But it's not reliable, as publishers combine, split and so forth. Ditto language-zone. It's the language-zone of the publisher. If they publish across languages, things get screwy.

When ISBNs are redone as 13-digit ones starting in 979—soon—ISBNs will cease to have any meaning at all.

May 9, 2012, 4:40pm Top

Lettering for embroidery

LoC Catalog Card Number: 77-147086
LC Classification: TT773.R88

May 9, 2012, 4:48pm Top

> 5: Thanks for explaining. It had me confused.

> 6: Absolutely right. I've published a couple. Being based in the Netherlands all of my ISBN's started 90 (ISBN 10 that is) - but it's utterly unrelated to the language of the actual book. (I wonder how this works for bilingual countries like Belgium - but never mind: that's just me being curious).

May 9, 2012, 4:53pm Top

Yeah - the translators are for LC Classification. LCCN is less useful - it literally identifies the book as/how cataloged in the Library of Congress, and nothing else. But for those books that have it, and print it in the book, it does make it easy to find a record for that book (LT can search LoC on LCCN).

Edited: May 9, 2012, 4:58pm Top

British Library can also be searched on it. I use BL as my first source, and have found many pre-ISBN books there that way.

May 9, 2012, 5:16pm Top

Books about the Titanic are found in three different areas of my library - 363.1, 387.2, and 910.9. That is confusing for my 2nd -5th graders. If you were going to group them in one area, which would you choose and Why?


Edited: May 9, 2012, 6:07pm Top

I suspect that it depends on the focus of the book. 363.1 is health and safety - so books about why the Titanic didn't have enough lifeboats, or why the bulkheads that were supposed to make it unsinkable made it sink, would be there. 387.2 is ships and sailing - so books about the Titanic primarily as a ship would be there. And 910.9 is about the history of travel - so Titanic as history, and Titanic as a historical cruise ship, goes there. It depends on what part of the Titanic story you want - the problems that made it a disaster, the ship itself, or the ship's/disaster's place in history.

If I absolutely had to have them all in one place, I'd probably put them under history, because that's how I think of the Titanic. Someone whose focus is more on the sea and ships would probably put them all under ships; and someone who thinks of the Titanic purely as a disaster (the fact of it being a ship, and the historical setting, irrelevant) would probably put it under safety. I'd much rather have them in three places, and use that as a trigger for a discussion of how the subject and the theme of a book can differ (all the books are about - have the subject - the Titanic, but the theme and focus of each differs and therefore they belong in different categories). Though the discussion might get boring for the teacher or librarians by the second or third year... it's an amazing thought for the students (at least, it was for me).

By the way - I used LT's MDS to determine what the subjects covered by those numbers were. If you click on a number, another row expanding on that number appears. http://www.librarything.com/mds/0

May 9, 2012, 10:50pm Top

In my school library, I always put the Titanic books in 910.9.

May 10, 2012, 9:40am Top

Dewey is NOT a subject classification system. It is not designed to put books on the same subject together. It classifies by discipline. So books that are of interest to social scientists are in the 300s and books that are of interest to engineers/technologists are in the 600s, etc. So books on the Titanic could be all over the map:

A book on why God let the Titanic sink - 200s
A book on the social work aspects of the disaster and its relief - 360s
A book on the legal ramifications of the sinking - 340s
A book on how climate change caused the iceberg to be in the way - 550s

It was designed to complement a controlled vocabulary subject system, not be one itself.

To add even more confusion to the mix, many "catalogers" who assign Dewey numbers are not properly trained and simply look up a subject (for instance "disasters") in the index and slap the number they find there (363.1 for disasters) on the book. Even if you know what you're doing, the current interface to the Dewey schedule (WebDewey, an OCLC product) makes it very difficult to access the information you need. So if you don't have the printed schedules or are working in an area of the schedules that has been changed since the last printing (200, 290, 305, 306), you're pretty much out of luck and are stuck with the number in the index.

In addition, I think Dewey is on it's 22nd edition, but libraries, especially large libraries like Library of Congress, don't reclass when a schedule changes, so the number on the book could have nothing to do with the class it now stands in. (You can see this in reverse in LTs Melvil Classification System which used an older edition of Dewey but populates the titles from data garnered from later editions.

Bottom line: if you want books on the same subject together you have to use something other than Dewey, or do what MerryMary does and move them where you want them (hopefully having some way to record your local standard so someone coming along after you can see what you did.)

May 17, 2012, 4:38pm Top

my answers to your first two questions
1 older books I've found Overcat v good with ref to 700 libraries. Or I use the manual entry . My own location system is by geographic area (eg all books on China kept together) and by discipline (eg all architecture or all archaeology together) sometimes creates a split in my thinking as a book on say Persian archaeology could be wi Persia books or with archaeology

2 re booklets I am trying to group according to country and when visited , I place in plastic bags and then put into a box file. But not yet started even trying to catalogue on LT as just so many booklets Also thought of grouping several together according to subject matter and using Manual entry to create an overall catalogue entry for say 4/6 pamphlets.

found all the discussion re classification most interesting and informative.

Nov 4, 2013, 9:09pm Top

Just started with this great website. I am a novice that is helping a private school catalog/organize their library. Want to do this right. When I add a reference book, can I be positive that the DDC number assigned to it is correct??

Nov 4, 2013, 10:03pm Top

Short answer - no. If you get your book from a good library or library system, you'll probably get a good DDC - so Overcat is probably your best source (it's the combination of all successful library Add Book searches on LT - so basically everything but the Amazons and manual entry ends up in that database). But that's still only probably. You may also see a green DDC entry; that's one where the record you added didn't have DDC, so LT put in what others have in that field for that book. Again, likely to be correct but far from certain. By the way - green data is displayed in your library but it's not really there - to add it, double-click in the field and save without editing, it will go black and be added to your own record.

As discussed above, the DDC codes have changed over the years, access to the full DDC information is limited or very expensive, and to top it off, the "real" subject of a book doesn't necessarily dictate where it goes. So (noting that I'm not a librarian), what I'd suggest is for you and the school and any other volunteers to agree on some accessible source of DDC numbers (does the school have a published schedule, for instance?), and then use what LT puts in, Worldcat (as discussed in my Msg 3) and the agreed-upon source to decide where each book goes. A bit of a pain, but if you want to do it right...

I'd also suggest that you check the group Librarians Who Librarything. There may be a discussion on DDC already, or you could ask your question there - those are (mostly) professionals, so they may have a better answer than I can give.

Nov 5, 2013, 6:24am Top

Thanks vey much for your input. The library does have a set of DDC code books but there's no telling how many decades old they are. Will check the copyright date.

I read all the above posts and have made a reminder note that the classification is by discipline not subject.

Nov 5, 2013, 7:11am Top

18: If you have the DDC code books, they explain the fundamentals of the system in the Manual which is at the beginning of volume 1. You could just decide to use the edition you have. The newest changes are mostly for inclusiveness, to add new technology and to try and fix some of the problems with the religion schedules. Most of that isn't likely to affect a school library that much. On another thread, someone said the new paper edition (22nd) has just been published. It's pricey but would update you for a while.

Nov 5, 2013, 7:57am Top

Thank you. The books in the library have been assigned DDC #s, but I have noticed that the dozen books I have been practicing with most of them do not match what is listed with LT.

Today I plan on comparing #'s with the code books.

Nov 5, 2013, 8:51am Top

> 11 If you were going to group {books about the Titanic} in one area, which would you choose and Why?

Assuming that the 2nd-5th graders you mention are the core users of the library, and the collection is geared to youngsters . . . I'd use 910.9 on the grounds that: 1) It matches their intuitive perception that you look for the past in the 900s; 2) Most juvenile and general-audience non-fiction on the Titanic and its sinking is historical in approach.

{geeky aside} One of the less-discussed idiosyncrasies in the Dewey classification is that (IMHO) it reflects, and thus tends to impose, a narrowly 19C-ish view of history as "the chronicles of nations" and file historical works about cattle ranching under "agriculture" or historical works about railway technology under "transportation." {/geeky aside}

Nov 5, 2013, 10:21am Top

{geeky aside}Doesn't LC do that too? Otherwise you'd have a massive history section which you'd pretty much have to sub-divide by topic anyway. Or am I missing something.{/geeky aside}

Nov 5, 2013, 7:11pm Top

Electronic Luddite here. I use tags. It's mostly to get me to the correct stack in the library or into the correct subject in my filing drawers. It's in letters too! No numbers. Only problem is that I have run out of shelf space until my daughter moves so they are going in boxes with my personal accession number until I can re-shelve them. That's all my wee little brain can handle. Maybe it's time to start more aggressive culling. . . ah yes; the one stack of shelves is marked 'eclectic'. That's a good place to start!

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