A Librarian’s Dilemma: Three Articles in Consideration of DDC and its Utility in Public Libraries

by Bruce A. Sullivan

Part I: Summary

The current debate over the continued utility of the Dewey Decimal System in public libraries seems to hinge on one assertion, as articulated by Michael Casey: “Dewey, no matter how good for librarians needing to locate a book fast, is simply not suited to a popular collection intended more for browsing than research” (Casey 19). Resultantly, a number of small public libraries, notably Maricopa County Library District in Arizona, Rangeview Library District in Colorado, and Frankfort Public Library in Illinois, have adapted standards designed by booksellers (indeed, for booksellers) to their collections. These BISAC standards allegedly facilitate browsing, giving the library patron a more user-centered, as opposed to professional-centered, experience.


Christmas trees and The National Union Catalog

This LISNEWS post showing a picture of a Christmas tree made of books sparked another library to do the same thing. They used their National Union Catalog books to build a tree. You can see the results here. Another photo showing the building in progress.

With their pictures of the tree building the William H. Hannon librarians also linked to this piece: What are all those green books on Level 3? The piece talks about the National Union Catalog. (The 754 volume, 528,000 page, 13 million+ record National Union Catalog, also known as "Mansell" (after its publisher), took 14 years and $34 million to come to fruition.)

For new librarians that have known nothing but electronic catalogs this piece sheds light on important history in librarianship. The article also has this interesting line:

Although our online catalog and resources like WorldCat have mostly rendered Mansell and others like it obsolete, it can still be a useful tool for researchers needing exhaustive searches for pre-1956 works and for catalogers of rare books. In fact, a 2005 study indicated that 27% of the records in Mansell still cannot be found in WorldCat.

Content and context in concept-oriented catalogs

Did you know 2010 has been designated the year of cataloging research by the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services? No? That makes 2 of us. Luckily John Mark Ockerbloom knows!

2010 has been designated the year of cataloging research by the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services. So it’s a good time for me to continue my series on concept-oriented catalogs. Before I talk about specific ways to implement them, I’d like to give some attention to what they look like, and the ways they interact with users.

Content and context in concept-oriented catalogs

Managing "favorites" in iBistro library catalogs

If your library has "tell me when..." options for users to receive email alerts when new items are added to the catalog, you may be interested in this instructional material- it's easy to add favorites in iBistro, but figuring out how to remove them is far less obvious.... See the instructional videos at the Delaware Library Catalog blog <a href="">here</a>

A Couple More On The Community uproar over LibLime’s Enterprise Koha

Explain the Silence to Me:
"So why are these librarians taking it? Why are they being quiet? I don’t have an answer for you – and so I’m hoping someone out there can answer this for me. If you signed a contract for one product and then are told you have to use another – do you just say okay? or do you move on or demand the product you originally wanted."
I even really like citrus fruits! And yet...
"I've been having unkind words about LibLime percolating in my head for a week which I've been not posting here, because I try not to be an unkind-words sort of person. But I no longer feel restraint about that."

Libraries Imagined: stacking imaginary libraries according to whimsical classifications

This weekend, co-vocabularists have challenged the legacy of Melvil Dewey by stocking and stacking imaginary libraries according to whimsical classifications.

After Losing Users in Catalogs, Libraries Find Better Search Software

The problem is that traditional online library catalogs don't tend to order search results by ranked relevance, and they can befuddle users with clunky interfaces. Bauer, a graduate student specializing in early American history, once had such a hard time finding materials that she titled a bibliography "Meager Fruits of an Ongoing Fight With Virgo."

It Takes a Village: Koha and open source leadership

KGS, It Takes a Village: Koha and open source leadership: It truly takes a village — in many senses of that phrase. The health of an open source project, particularly for software developed for people who are not developers, depends on true diversity in participation — developers, librarians, sage administrators, brash young folks willing to experiment — and an honest acknowledgment that healthy project leadership will be inclusive of all these roles.

In Appreciation of Library Catalogers and Cataloging Standards

from all appearances cataloguers and cataloging continue to be highly relevant to our increasingly interactive and interconnected society with its growing information needs. But they need our recognition and appreciation for their many contributions.


Catalog 2.0: Your Library Catalog in a Global Environment

The State Library of Kansas cataloged about 1,000 Wikipedia articles analytically at the State Library providing links via the Kansas Library Catalog, WorldCat/OCLC and the State Library’s consortium OPAC, ATLAS. Most all of the Wikipedia articles they've cataloged are concerned with Kansas, Kansans or current topics with few resources initially available via standard library resources. They had one of the first records in WorldCat/OCLC linking to information on then-Supreme-Court-nominee, John G. Roberts, as well as an early record on Hurricane Katrina. They followed these entries with other cataloging records accessing more substantive resources, but yes, the initial records were for Wikipedia articles.


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