Dewey or Don't We (from the hot discussion over at Pub-Lib about trying to put our 21st C. libraries into a 19th C. system)

Total votes: 0


A library school with adequate resources could do this, maybe: You'd need to do surveys or unobtrusive observation at *two* libraries--one using BISAC, one using DDC but with subject signage as well (even if only subjects below the numbers on stack end labels).

The question being: Do most people find what they're looking for more readily in one case or the other?

My guess: If you're vaguely browsing, BISAC is great. If you have a specific topic or an actual book in mind, DDC-with-labels is better. But that's only a guess.

My other guess: This research will not get done. And if it is, it will be discredited.

This discussion has *nothing* to do with Dewey and everything to do with arranging your library in a way that serves your patrons/customers. Individuals looking for materials don't need to learn Dewey anymore than individuals booking flights need to learn airport code symbols. Dewey is a "key" ... LC is a "key" and if we use something else that wil be a "key". In your friendly subject word system there will still be interpretation of topics that could be placed elsewhere and also differences in use of language...

Think about those wonderful universal symbols -- do you understand each of them intuitively? You do? Then which symbol means my electronic device is on --- the O or the || ...

Much depends on your building and collection size,, your staff size and talents and the habits of your borrowers. Do they come for something or do they come for whatever?

It seems like it would be pretty straighforward to use BISAC for signage and to create areas where topics are gathered together regardless of the Dewey call number. Within each BISAC category chosen, the Dewey numbers can still be filed. It would just take some time, effort, and relabeling.