Response 6 – Scarlett Taylor

I have become entirely enamored with Ranganathan’s PMEST. In light of Steckel’s article, I looked up how colon classification actually looks in practice, and wow no. That’s hard. L,45;421:6;253:f.44’N5 (example from the Wikipedia article on colon classification) is too much. In any case, I do really like the idea of facets like that in cataloging, and perhaps am swayed by the way they are named. They sound so broad and world-encompassing, emphasizing those things about information and knowledge.

I do still enjoy the Five Laws of Library Science, but have talked about them a lot over a few classes. That said, Steckel did a good job extending them into the realm of websites. I feel like it’s almost more obvious and easy for the internet, however, as making information accessible is a lot of why the internet exists. “Books are for reading” is a reminder better addressed to physical collections, in which we might be tempted to limit access for preservation or other reasons. The “library is a living organism” is also not as obvious in physical collections as it is on the internet, as libraries must integrate different technologies, where inherent in the internet is that it is moldable and ever-expanding. It was good to see the connection between the laws and digital information made explicit, however.

I had a hard time not maintaining a strong bias against Melvil Dewey in the article “What’s so great about the Dewey Decimal System?” as my first real reading on him was several years ago in the Bitch Magazine article “From the Library: Outing the Father of Librarianship” which concerns his more problematic behavior, as noted in the final paragraph of the biographical section of the assigned article.

And again, bias for the rest of this article! Neither DDC nor LC are particularly good for cataloging in a law library (though they generally use LC), because of the intersection of issues a book might cover and the discretion involved in putting it in one section. NYU had previously developed their own cataloging system for the law library that they are now converting to LC. I’ll admit – I so rarely used physical books in law school that I hardly noticed. However “The Library of Congress places much emphasis on cross-referencing. Battles comments that “those nesting, cross-referenced rubrics make up an epistemological labyrinth unto themselves” really does make it a more ideal classification system for law, in which subjects, international criminal law, for instance, potentially many subjects.

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One thought on “Response 6 – Scarlett Taylor

  1. Wow, thanks for the link to that Dewey article, Scarlett. “A major reason Dewey wanted women to enter the field was because he felt women were ideal for the repetitiveness of library work and “didn’t cause trouble.”” That’s also the reason women were allowed to be film editors when they were shut out of so many other aspects of film production — they were thought suited for repetitive work.

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