Getting away from Dewey

Anonymous Patron writes " Helping library browsers# Claire Bott reports on More Readers Reading More THE TRADITIONAL ARRANGEMENT of libraries is off-putting to readers, Wiltshire's Lending/Communications Librarian Philip Tomes told an audience of librarians and publishers last week. Speaking at the launch of the Reading Agency's "More Readers Reading More", a title in celebration of the Reading Partners project which pairs up libraries with publishers for their mutual benefit, Tomes said:We're getting away from having ranks and ranks of Dewey Decimal System ordered books, and putting them into zones or categories that make it far easier for the reader. If you were after a relationship or self-help book, it would be very difficult to find in a traditional library.
The re-organising of the Wiltshire libraries is part of a joint initiative between the local Library Authority and HarperCollins, undertaken as part of Reading Partners. HarperCollins, which has been having success in bookshops with the You Zone, an area devoted to Mind Body Spirit, suggested that this was an idea which could be used by libraries, and this sparked the concept of re-arranging the books by category. Within each section, however, they are still organised according to the Dewey Decimal System.
        A roll-out of You Zones across libraries throughout the South East is now being considered. Ruth Wells, Reading Development Co-ordinator at MLA (Museums, Libraries, and Archives) South East, said:The You Zone will provide libraries with a healthy space; within their service which puts the health and well-being of the reader at the centre of library services. MLA South East may apply for Big Lottery funding in order to put the scheme into operation.Another point to emerge at the event, which included much discussion on Reading Partners, is the value of libraries in building the elusive word-of-mouth factor. Clare Harington, Random House Group Communications Director, said: Publishers in marketing campaigns are always talking about creating a word-of-mouth buzz, and then looking round at each other and wondering how we do it. However, libraries were frequently embedded in their local community to an extent that made such a buzz considerably easier to generate.They have links to their reading groups, reading groups newsletters, links to local radio, and all of that can be exploited to the full, said Rebecca Ash, Random House Group Marketing Manager.
The final speaker, Debbie Hicks, who looks after Policy and Strategy at the Reading Agency, made the point that libraries also get involved in direct sales of books more often than most people believed, with 81% of authorities selling in-print books at some point, often in connection with reading groups or author events. One of the suggestions put forward at the event, by Helen Johnstone, HarperFiction Publicity Manager, who worked with Tomes on the Wiltshire project, was that publishers could offer reading group discount hotlines for libraries.# Copies of More Readers Reading More have been distributed to participating libraries and the publishing partners."


LibraryThing Coming Along Nicely

LibraryThing (a commercial service that allows you to catalog and tag your books) is worth a look if you haven't checked it out recently. Several gizmos have been added since the original beta launch last year, and the number of members and cataloged books seems to have really taken off. The site's operator has even put out a job posting for web developers.


Library of Congress: Future of Library Catalogs

Jay writes "Managing Information recently pointed out that the Library of Congress has published a report titled 'The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools' that 'challenges assumptions about the traditional library catalog and proposes new directions for the research library catalog in the digital era.'. Excerpt: 'Commissioned by the Library and prepared by Associate University Librarian Karen Calhoun of Cornell University, the report assesses the impact of Internet on the traditional online public access catalog and concludes that library patrons want easy-to-use catalogs that are accessible on the Web.'

Read the full report at
The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools."

The Future of Cataloging

Dr Web's Domain pointed the way to a neat set of articles from Library of Congress Professional Guild.

"The Future of Cataloging," by Dr. Deanna B. Marcum, Associate Librarian of Congress.

"Will Google's Keyword Searching Eliminate the Need for LC Cataloging and Classification?" by Dr. Thomas Mann, Reference Librarian in the Library of Congress Main Reading Room.


"Survey of Library User Studies" also by Dr. Thomas Mann, Reference Librarian in the Library of Congress Main Reading Room.

New essay! The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools. Final Report. March 17, 2006. Prepared for the Library of Congress by Karen Calhoun. A Critical Review by Thomas Mann.


According to the Calhoun report, library operations that are not digital, that do not result in
resources that are remotely accessible, that involve professional human judgement or expertise,
or that require conceptual categorization and standardization rather than relevance ranking of
keywords, do not fit into its proposed "leadership" strategy. This strategy itself, however, is
based on an inappropriate business model – and a misrepresentation of that business model to
begin with. The Calhoun report draws unjustified conclusions about the digital age, inflates
wishful thinking, fails to make critical distinctions, and disregards (as well as mischaracterizes)
an alternative "niche" strategy for research libraries, to promote scholarship (rather than increase
"market position"). Its recommendations to eliminate Library of Congress Subject Headings, and
to use "fast turnaround" time as the "gold standard" in cataloging, are particularly unjustified,
and would have serious negative consequences for the capacity of research libraries to promote
scholarly research.


WorldCatr: OCLC WorldCat Goes Library 2.0

OCLC sent out an email to their customers today informing them of new features added to WorldCat. Namely, users can now add reviews, notes and tables of contents to WorldCat records. No word yet on when users will be able to post pictures of themselves reading the books or Google maps of book locations.

User-contributed content helps extend the OCLC cooperative to include record-enhancing information from non-cataloging library professionals as well as library users. For example, family members may add notes to records for genealogical materials about their families, or community members may comment on historical photographs or documents from digital collections about their communities that reside in the WorldCat database.

Idea Contest Seeks Taggers

LibrErica writes: "Last fall, people from all 50 states contributed more than 22,000 smart, creative ideas for strengthening the economy and improving life for working men and women and their families during the SEIU's idea contest for the best idea since sliced bread. Three winners were selected, but the contest administrators don't want all those other ideas to go to waste. is seeking volunteer taggers so that the ideas can be easily accessed by subject, allowing policy makers, government officials and citizens to find ideas about education or the environment, for instance. Classifying information into subject headings is something that librarians are uniquely qualified to do. Librarians to the rescue! If you have a spare moment, won't you visit and tag an idea or two ?"

We owe a great debt to the brilliant, if flawed, Melvil Dewey

Greg Hill, director of Fairbanks North Star Borough libraries, has A Column in yesterday's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on Melvil Dewey. He says even with all his shortcomings, Dewey's legacy, an elegant scheme for organizing knowledge logically, remains and overshadows his frailties.


The Straight Dope on Librarians

Jaclyn Mussehl writes "Another library-related article from
The Straight Dope
, this time about the Dewey Decimal System."


Cataloger Discovers Lord Byron Poem

stevenj writes "A poem by Lord Byron has been discovered in a 19th-century book within the archives of University College London. It is the only known manuscript of the untitled poem that appeared in print four years later, in 1816. It was assumed that the original had been lost, but a librarian stumbled across it during a routine cataloguing. Dated April 19, 1812, the poet signed his name in Greek characters. The story appears at:"


LoC says NO to cataloging Italian Books

kathleen writes "Library of Congress says NO to cataloging Italian books.

Saw this on H-Net, but can't find anything at the LOC page to confirm Dr.Connell's notice. Comments welcome.

Dear friends of Italy:

Libraries throughout the United States that have programs to acquire Italian
books now face a major funding crisis because of an arbitrary decision by the
Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress, which is in many respects the world's most important
library, has decided to stop cataloging Italian books.

Meanwhile, books that come in from other countries around the world continue
to be routinely cataloged in Washington at taxpayers' expense.

Cataloging information is made available at no extra charge to smaller
libraries throughout the United States under existing programs, but this will
no longer be the case for Italian language books. It is anticipated that
each library will have to pay an exorbitant fee of almost $15.00 to access
the cataloging information for each new Italian book that it acquires.

All members of the educated public who want American libraries to continue to
acquire Italian books should contact Dr. James H. Billington, who is the
Librarian of Congress ([email protected]), and especially their Congressmen--to
whom the Librarian reports.


William J. Connell
Professor of History and La Motta Chair in Italian Studies
Director, Alberto Italian Studies Institute
Seton Hall University
South Orange, NJ 07079

H-Italy is a member of H-Net Humanities & Social Sciences OnLine. H-Italy offers scholars a central source for information in the field of Italian history."



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