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Saturday, June 02, 2007

A Potpourri of Questions

Please answer any that strike your fancy.

1. Mr. Burgas found this article about a library dropping the Dewey Decimal System in favor of shelving "by topic, similar to the way bookstores arrange books". This hurts my head, not because I'm married to Dewey - my library actually uses Library of Congress - but because shelving by DDC or LoC IS arranging by topic. But maybe I'm missing something here.
a. How are the books, etc., in the libraries you use arranged?
b. How would you prefer they be arranged?

2. Several folks have linked to the story about e-mail bankruptcy, i.e., to say, "My e-mail's overwhelmed me. I give up. Let's start over."
a. On average, how many e-mails do you get a day at work? At home? How many sit in that limbo-land at any given time, waiting for some sort of action? For me it's about 150 at work, 30 at home. Occasionally, I'll get rid of work e-mail at home. At any given time, I have between 60-150 work e-mails and 10 home e-mails waiting for me to do SOMETHING. Sometimes, it's posting on a blog. The solutions in the article, phone calls and Instant Messaging would not work for me AT ALL; they'd be too distracting. How about for you? And how's your spam content? The so-called king of spam was arrested this week. About 2% of my work e-mail and 10% of my personal e-mail is spam in a given week.

3. The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez ticked off some people when as a runner, he misled an opposing fielder, noted here. Was this OK, or out of bounds? Deception has always been a part of the game. A pitcher's pickoff move. Hidden ball tricks. An outfielder pretending to catch a ball to keep runners at bay. Phantom double plays, where the middle infielder's foot is in the general vicinity of second base. The A-Rod incident didn't bother me at all.
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GayProf said...

Most of the libraries that I use (which are often attached to some university) use the LOC system (though I have been to some that are half Dewey half LOC because they never finished transitioning). I am also confused about why/how sorting "like a bookstore" would improve things at a library.

I get between five and ten e-mails on my work account per day on weekdays. Only about one or two actually require my attention.

I have no insight into the baseball question.

Greg said...

The third baseman SHOULD have caught the ball, because he should be able to tune out all distractions, and he should know that his shortstop would be mre loquacious if he's calling him off. It's still kind of bush league of Rodriguez, and not just because he's more talented than everyone. It's bush league for anyone. I like how commentators say that players do anything for an edge. Then why don't you see this all the time? Rodriguez claims this happens to him three or four times a week. Then why has no one ever brought it up before? So I agree that the guy should have caught the ball, but it's still bush league. What is he, eight years old?

And that stripper he was caught with is so ugly that I have to believe she was doing his taxes or something. Come on, Alex, if you're going to cheat on your wife, find a woman who doesn't look like she was hit by a taxi!

Edwin Oliver said...

Abandoning Dewey seems rash to THIS librarian. I'd like to hear from the people who do the shelving and finding books for people (clerks & librarians) about 5 years after the switch and see what they say.

As for an actual opinion, what I learned in library school is that size of the collection determines what kind of system you need. I'm frustrated with what appears to be lazy cataloging in my own Dewey Decimal-based (DDC) public library system, but I don't blame DDC for that. As I understand it, University libraries tend to use Library of Congress(LoC) because their collections are larger. Dewey seems to have more options for where to put something, and LoC is much less intuitive, if still subject-based basically.

The problem with a non-system system like big box bookstore is that when books leave the shelves in a library, the same book is presumably returning to the same spot on the shelf, whereas in a bookstore, once a book is bought, its gone for good -- Old stock is replaced by new stock -- ie whatever sells. Libraries want things to remain on the shelf in the long term. That's what a library is, no? I think things will get lost easier at that Arizona 'Dewey Deserter' Library. Maybe they have a larger budget for replacing lost books... But then I may be wrong, which is why I'm interested in what the shelvers think after some time with the new system.