library of congress classification

Length: 1750 words
Genre: pre-relationship fluff
Universe: (head)canonverse
Prompt: River

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Tadashi didn’t know much about GoGo.

He knew that Wasabi could talk for hours on the importance of the Library of Congress Classification system used in academic libraries (and of course how it compares to the Dewey Decimal system).

He found out pretty early on that Honey Lemon loved to bake (and periodically used the lab equipment to do so, which often resulted in questionably edible baked goods).

He and Fred had been friends ever since Tadashi and his little brother had moved to San Fransokyo to live with their aunt (as a result there wasn’t a lot that he didn’t know about Fred).

But he didn’t know much about GoGo.

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oakttree  asked:

please tell me about dewey and his decimal system! why is it racist? (i know i could google this but if you have time i'd rather hear about it from someone i know, who's in the field)

OK, so. First off, Melville Dewey was a sexist, racist, anti-semitic creeper. He was an advocate for women getting into libraries, and helped found one of the first library schools at Columbia. This was mostly because he felt women were suited for the “repetitive nature” of library work at the time. He also thought they were more easily controlled and “didn’t cause trouble”. So, ew. 

It is not possible to represent the full spectrum of human knowledge, we know that now, but you can tell a lot about what people find important by what they choose to privilege within the types of classification schemes they create. For example, Ranganathan was remarkably abstract, using things like personality, matter, energy, space, and time as sorting facets for his Colon Classification schema.

The Dewey Decimal System (DDC) is much more concrete, but in ways that give short shrift to an awful lot of the world. Everything about the DDC is appallingly Anglocentric. If you take a look at the 200s, where religion is classified, you will note how many subclasses are devoted to Christianity. Every single other religion in the world gets relegated to the 290s. And language and linguistics! Everything non-Western gets relegated to the 490s. The 800s are devoted to literature. One guess what happens there. 

Given that DDC is used mostly in public, school, and smaller libraries that don’t have enough books to warrant a classification system as complex as Library of Congress, one wonders what sorts of values are being imparted by the emphasis on Anglo/Eurocentric everything. Obviously these things can be overcome, and nobody would ever accuse the DDC of causing the devaluation of non-western ideas or thought, but it’s just one more subtle structural fuck you.

[eta 3/19/2015] Which is not to imply that LC doesn’t also have biases. Please see the middle of this talk by Chris Bourg, director of libraries at MIT, for examples. These are manifestations of biased systems in general, not just classification schemes. [/eta]

To be honest, it’s mostly institutional entrenchment that hasn’t lead to any sort of reform. (Insert rant on how you can put ten catalogers in a room and come out with twelve opinions.) Librarians are well aware of its flaws, but it would be a tremendous effort to overhaul the DDC. And asking people to implement those changes, in an age of declining appreciation for libraries and thus staffing levels, would probably not be the best use of those limited resources.

There are alternative classification schemes formed in opposition to DDC for various reasons, including the lack of inclusivity, the most notable being BISAC, which is based upon subject headings used by booksellers. The problem is these systems have not been evaluated particularly thoroughly, even by the institutions that use them. And they are not suitable at all for libraries with large collections (but most of those use LC, which is its own can of worms). 

That was probably more than you wanted to know. :D

Auxiliary sciences of history
  • Archeology: the study of ancient and historic sites and artifacts
  • Architectural history: the study of buildings in their historical and stylistic contexts
  • Art history: the study of objects of art in their historical and stylistic contexts
  • Chronology: the study of the sequence of past events
  • Cliometrics: the systematic application of economic theory, econometric techniques: and other formal or mathematical methods to the study of history
  • Codicology: the study of books as physical objects
  • Diplomatics: the study and textual analysis of historical documents
  • Epigraphy: the study of ancient inscriptions
  • Faleristics: the study of military orders, decorations and medals
  • Genealogy: the study of family relationships
  • Heraldry: the study of armorial devices
  • Numismatics: the study of coins
  • Onomastics: the study of proper names
  • Paleography: the study of old handwriting
  • Philately: the study of postage stamps
  • Prosopography: the investigation of a historical group of individuals through a collective study of their lives
  • Sigillography: the study of seals
  • Statistics: the study of the collection, organization, and interpretation of (historical) data
  • Toponymy: the study of place-names

Does anybody know if there is a customary Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress call number for the sport of Quidditch? OCLC Classify and LibraryThing keep wanting to put my copy of Quidditch Through the Ages under “literature” rather than “sport”, which is, of course, unacceptable.

I am currently using  GV1017.Q for the LC number and  796.329¾  for the Dewey in my home catalog but I am not a trained cataloger and if there’s an accepted practice I would like to use it!

youtube

Another episode of Staxpeditions! 

This time @MitchFraas from Twitter sent us to Z.  All of Z?!?  So much to pick from!  Hope you like what we found in the section with books about books! 

Do you have a favorite Library of Congress call number range you would like us to explore?  Or a favorite manuscript collection?

megkips replied to your postMelvil, my love

*starts a librarian fight* I think I still prefer LoC

Dewey is hierarchical in nature, and therefore more satisfying to the browser. Plus the tables for number construction are just so easy and downright kewl!

SO BRING IT, B*&%$!

Jk, jk, I love you Meg! But I might love you a little less for this. Jk no I really still love you.

beebeecannon replied to your post:

What’s my favorite book, you ask? PZ 3 .H875 M57…

Oh interesting. I thought it was standard across the board… Gotta learn more about cataloging

Just because a library uses the Library of Congress system to organize their books doesn’t mean they have to follow ALL of the rules and label things the EXACT same way.

For instance, specialized libraries can choose to expand call numbers if there are too many of the same call number but the books are all different. Adding extra letters or adding numbers after the decimal point increases specificity in these weird situations. Libraries may also choose to shorten call numbers for the exact opposite reason. 

Sometimes the same book has a different call number in another library because that library cataloged it based on what that particular library finds to be the most important aspect of the book.

In the case of Les Miserables, there are two commonly known call number designations one starts out with PQ and one with PZ.
Both start with P, which makes sense because P is the designation for Fiction.

  • In the case of PQ, the library has identified that the book is Fiction-French Literature. Depending on the number after the PQ would then tell you the type of fiction (ie. Historical, Poetry, Drama, etc.)
  • In the case of PZ, the library has identified that the book is Fiction-Juvenile Belles Lettre. Belles Lettres approximately means “fine writing” in French so that particular library felt the need to emphasize the “classical” aspect of the book, rather than the origin of the book. The numbers after PZ would tell you more about the type of book (ie. the year it was published, the way it is written, the subject matter etc.)

So yeah! Long story short, just because two libraries use the same system, doesn’t mean that a book will be shelved in the same place because libraries have different priorities depending on the patrons they serve!