Tag Archives: Dewey

Shelving issues shouldn’t be blamed on Dewey

I’ve had a nasty cold that has prevented me from doing much of anything lately. However, prior to getting sick, I was contemplating the whole “getting rid of Dewey” debate. Most of the arguments for getting rid of Dewey involve patron dissatisfaction that stems from not being able to physically locate the books and confusing signage (ie. The ends of shelves only having Dewey numbers and nothing more).

These are the questions that have arisen for me out of this:

Will getting rid of Dewey really solve the shelving issues at libraries, or is it just that, a shelving issue?

Is Dewey being blamed for a physical library’s shortcomings in shelving and arranging materials to fill our patrons’ needs?

Will “dummying” down libraries and getting rid of Dewey really solve access problems?

Although traditionally libraries shelve by classification number, they don’t have to.  I’d love to see libraries embracing Dewey yet exploring new ways to shelve.  Perhaps shelving by Dewey number within genre categories? Cataloguers provide subject headings and classifications. Front-line staff should take a leadership role in enhancing the “foundation” we are providing and find new and inventive ways to feature the collection so that it is easily accessible. Why do we need to get rid of one to have the other?

Dewey arguments/comments from other blogs:

No Dewey in the Dessert

Should Dewey Retire?

Librarians weigh in on Arizona’s Dewey–Less Library

Getting rid of classification systems

Getting rid of Dewey part 2



Filed under Access Issues, Dewey

BISAC to replace Dewey in the future?

The buzz surrounding the replacement of Dewey seems to be growing louder. Many librarians are saying that BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications system of classification) may take Dewey’s place.

I cringe to think of a world without the Dewey Decimal System. From my understanding, while some libraries are considering the change over to BISAC, they are hesitating because of the time and cost. To change over to a new system of cataloguing will require cataloguers, and then staff and patrons, to learn an entirely new set of categories and subdivisions. Tutorials will need to be created to assist both staff and patrons learn the new categories and cataloguers will have to take the time to learn new cataloguing rules and subject headings. New in-house rules will also have to be developed. And, as we are all well-aware, no classification system will provide descriptions for everything. As a result, there will be exceptions to the new categories and new subject headings or uses will have to be determined.

If you’re interested in learning about BISAC, here’s an interview with Dr. Lois Chan from the University of Kentucky. This first appeared on the August 6th edition of LibVibe.


Filed under Access Issues, Authority Work, future of cataloguing, Subject Headings