Thursday, May 31, 2007

Dewey or don't we?

An article about a library in Arizona "dropping" the Dewey Decimal system for their new library is....thought provoking.

From the Arizona Republic:
"The demise of the century-old Dewey Decimal system is overdue, county librarians say: It's just too confusing for people to hunt down books using those long strings of numbers and letters. Dewey essentially arranges books by topic and assigns call numbers for each book".

This strikes me as an idea not completely thought through. For one thing, why would a patron have to know the classification system in order to find a book? Can't they just a) jot down the location given in the catalog or b) ask someone to help find it? It's not like they have to memorize the system in order to find anything.

And I'm thinking that this library may have some problems locating and shelving books in the future. Plus, I pity the poor library user who has to sort through all the books lumped into the "cooking" section in order to find the particular one they want.


royce said...

I would have to agree it sounds like yet another instance of people getting caught up in trying to be trendy.

Ben Brophy said...

I guess it depends what people are doing. If they are looking for a particular book, call numbers would be the way to go. But if they are shopping for a cookbook which they will select on impulse a retail model makes sense. Of course you could just stick a 'cookbooks' sign over your 641s and have both. Dewey originally intended DDC to have only 3 digits, maybe scaling back to that level of simplicity would help.