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May 30, 2007


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David Rothman

Phil, would you care to elaborate on the harm that you see in organizing a collection this way? In what way does the "buy" vs. "borrow" make a difference?

I don't necessarily disagree, but neither do I immediately see the problem that you appear to see.

Phil Bradley

The harm is many fold. It affects the way the library users are perceived by staff; dumbing down isn't a good idea IMO. Using a 50 fold category approach isn't helpful, it negates the role of a catalogue, it ignores the fact that users don't actually need to remember huge strings of numbers and will lead to inconsistent shelving; without a proper classification scheme and the thought behind it - where do you shelve books?

With regards the borrow/buy system. A library is a different creature - its role is surely to be involved with a community, to extend its reach beyond the doors, and to educate and entertain. Yes, comfy chairs is a great idea, so is coffee and I'm not denying that. But a bookshop is there to sell books. That's all they want to do, and all their resources are focused on doing just that. If books etc don't make them money they won't stock them - an entirely different model to the library. Nothing wrong with either approach, but if a library is going to try to become a bookshop, why not just close the library and open up a new Borders in its place? It's the top of a slippery slope and I think it's an entirely incorrect way to deal with an important and difficult problem - how best to serve the user.


Cringing? Yes! This was not a good idea. I see their attempt to make it friendlier, but I question if they are really doing a favor for their users. Not a good idea. Linda


Wow I agree that it's a bad idea. What I have seen and liked though is using the DDS PLUS using subject signs on the ends of aisles or wherever saying "cooking" or "cookbooks" "business" and things like that to guide users to their interests instead of just 640's on the ends or something like that. I think a combination can be useful.


Edinburgh Libraries don't use Dewey either, I'm not entirely sure what they use (it's not UDC) but it's supposed to make things easier. Unfortunately it doesn't if you are a former public librarian used to Dewey who can find their way around other libraries using it. I think it's only happened in the last few years and I wonder how users reacted to such a change.


I wonder if the library is trying to avoid paying for the DDC license from OCLC which holds the copyright. Either way, this "neighborhood" concept sounds too complicated. But I'm interested to see how this new classification turns out.

Simon Chamberlain


"but what if they only have one copy of the book?"

I think that "US" is a subset of "history", so "history" is one of the 50 neighbourhoods, and then you'd have US, European, world etc history as sections within that neighbourhood.

I do agree that this isn't terribly sensible - I always have a harder time finding things in bookstores than in libraries - is a biography of the New Zealand cricket captain shelved under sport, or biographies, or New Zealand? Whereas in a library, it's easier. But maybe that's just me.

Jerry Yarnetsky

The proof will be in the pudding. If you're looking for a particular title how do you find it?

How will the title location be listed in their online catalog? How will they integrate the Perry branch into the rest of the library system's online catalog?

While I think Dewey could use a 21c makeover, I think the answer is better signage.

As noted above, why couldn't they "label" the 700s the arts & recreation neighborhood?

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