Chowdhury – Chapter 5

My first job that I ever had and held for about three years was as a library page, so it was really interesting to read this chapter about the origins and functions of the different kinds of library classification systems. My library was organized using the Dewey Decimal System, and a big problem they had to tackle while I was working there was to shelve non-fiction DVDs with the books of the same subject or to give them a shelf to themselves with the DVDs. We had started out doing the former (which didn’t work out great, having a random DVD stuck between shelves of books) and they switched to the latter later on (which then involved hunting the library for these scattered materials and bringing them together in the DVD section, not a fun weekend for me!)

What I found interesting about this chapter was the outlining of the ‘social classification systems’ for information resources on the web. This could be a double-edged sword, because while it would be great to have a lot of people working on classifying the vast and ever-growing amount of information on the web, there’s also a high chance of things being classified incorrectly and incompletely. I feel like on the internet we have a tendency to read part of an article/resource and not a whole when we’re just casually browsing, trying to pick out what we think might be important but then missing out on something else. (This happens to me a lot at work now, visitors will read an early review of an exhibition and come in to see it only to be told that it’s not opening for another week or so.)

But in the end I do think it could be a great tool for everyone, and since as we’ve discussed humans seem to be inclined towards classifying the things around them anyway, it could be a great way to help bring some order to the web.


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