Sorry, Dewey, the Decimals are Outdated; the Catalog of the Future will Aid Indies

So now we’re at an impasse. Online systems are raising all boats fast, making accessible titles that might otherwise have languished in obscurity. (Case in point: Amish space vampires.) They’re doing it without making readers use Dewey and they’re doing it in innovative social ways that encourage book discovery. But physical books aren’t going anywhere - indeed, they’re resurging in popularity - and the quaint cataloging system that patrons still stumble through is only really useful with the aid of an OPAC that, itself, is largely keyword based.
From Sorry, Dewey, the Decimals are Outdated; the Catalog of the Future will Aid Indies — Foresights — Foreword Reviews

Killing Dewy and adopt Common Sense Categories

However – and this is a huge “however” for Bertino – they can only read if they can find the books they need and want.

And that’s why Bertino “killed Dewey.”

Troy, Bertino said, is one of the first school districts in Illinois to classify books based on Common Sense Categories rather than on the “antiquated” Dewey Decimal System, which is how libraries have classified books for more than a century.

Bertino feels Dewey is impractical for 21st century kids accustomed to searching online by keywords. The beauty of Common Sense Categories is that students easily transition to traditional libraries when they enter high school, Bertino said, even without ever formally learning Dewey.

From Libraries at Troy School District 30-C adopt Common Sense Categories | The Herald-News

The Future of the Web Is 100 Years Old

Among these efforts, one stood out. In 1893, a young Belgian lawyer named Paul Otlet wrote an essay expressing his concern over the rapid proliferation of books, pamphlets, and periodicals. The problem, he argued, should be “alarming to those who are concerned about quality rather than quantity,” and he worried about how anyone would ever make sense of it all. An ardent bibliophile with an entrepreneurial streak, he began working on a solution with his partner, a fellow lawyer named Henri La Fontaine (who would later go on to join the Belgian Senate and win the Nobel Peace Prize): a “Universal Bibliography” (Repertoire bibliographique universel) that would catalog all the world’s published information and make it freely accessible.

From The Future of the Web Is 100 Years Old - Issue 21: Information - Nautilus


Library Workflow Exchange

<a href="">Library Workflow Exchange</a> is a new site designed to help librarians find sample workflows, tools, and procedures. It currently focuses on workflows for cataloging, description, and metadata creation. If you have workflows or documentation that you think a wider audience would benefit from, please share them!

Metadata that kills

Descriptive metadata is never neutral. It reflects our understanding of our society, and our interpretation of how we think the world should be. It is unavoidably evocative of not just a book, film, or song, but rather the whole society which gave it genesis. When developed, particularly Western, countries wind up determining codes and classifications, a very specific illustration of the world is drawn which is a slim sliver of human understanding of the world.

From Metadata that kills — Medium

OCLC prints last library catalog cards

DUBLIN, Ohio, October 1, 2015—OCLC printed its last library catalog cards today, officially closing the book on what was once a familiar resource for generations of information seekers who now use computer catalogs and online search engines to access library collections around the world.

From OCLC prints last library catalog cards


Moving The LGBT Collections Out Of "abnormal sexual relations"

A number of years ago, a young man came to the reference desk with a question for the Social Science, Philosophy & Religion department librarians.  He asked me why books about gay men were next to the shelves with incest and sexual bondage books.  He said that wasn't how he was at all.  His face showed deep hurt and from his expression, I read that as a gay man who came of age in the 21st century, he had never experienced the kind of marginalization, ostracization and ridicule I had seen my friends fight when I was his age.  It had likely never occurred to him that the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) itself would assign lesbians, gay men, bisexual people and transgender people (LGBT people) to a call number, 301.4157, as a kind of "abnormal sexual relations" (modified 14th edition of the DDC).  But, as a librarian and classificationist, I knew that earlier call numbers had been more demeaning.

From LGBT Collections moving to new call number area | Los Angeles Public Library


Library of Congress Transitions to Free, Online-Only Cataloging Publications

The Library of Congress has announced a transition to online-only publication of its cataloging documentation. As titles that are in production are released, the Library’s Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) will no longer print new editions of its subject headings, classification schedules and other cataloging publications. The Library will instead provide free downloadable PDF versions of these titles.

For users desiring enhanced functionality, the Library’s two web-based subscription services, Cataloger’s Desktop and Classification Web, will continue as products from CDS.

In 2012, the Library of Congress conducted an extensive study on the impact and opportunities of changes in the bibliographic framework and the technological environment on the future distribution of its cataloging data and products. The Library’s transition from print to online-only for cataloging documentation is a response to a steadily declining customer base for print and the availability of alternatives made possible by advances in technology. This shift will enable the Library to achieve a more sustainable financial model and better serve its mission in the years ahead.

Beginning July 1, print publications that are currently sold through CDS will become available as free, downloadable PDF titles through the Library’s Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate website at Because all of the content cannot be made available simultaneously, the retrospective titles will be phased in over time as PDF files.

The Card Catalog is Dead; Long Live the Card Catalog

The Boston Herald reports on a project undertaken by Greenfield, MA Community College Librarian Hope Schneider.

On a wall in the corner of Greenfield Community College's Nahman-Watson Library, 128 artifacts from the library's card catalog hang preserved in a glass case — signed by the authors who penned the very books to which the cards once led.

The project has been 14 years in the making for librarian Schneider, who wanted to memorialize the cards after the library's catalog went digital in 1999. In the years that followed, Schneider sent cards to local authors and artists, asking if they would sign their card and make some contribution to the display. A decade later, after GCC's library was expanded, she resumed her quest — sending letters across the country to novelists, poets and politicians.

Library Director Deborah Chown said Schneider's project captures a time when people would find new books through serendipity — simply because it was next to another book or classified through a similar subject matter. Chown and Schneider don't deny the advantages that new library technology offers — the opportunity to search rapidly through online databases and access books, journals and newspaper articles.

But there was also some surprise and sadness when a tour of prospective students came through the library, saw the display and didn't recognize the cards.


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