More Reasons to Hate the DDC

Over on the LIbrarians Who LibraryThing forum, the sites creator Tim Spalding has posted a wonderfully well argued tirade against Dewey.  He handles some of the usual complaints (19th century religious biases) and also addresses some of the sacred falacies for librarians (patrons understand the system).  For that matter, a lot of librarians don’t actually know the system.

I’m a catalogger and with only a few exceptions I don’t have anything memorized past the tens.  When you work with the pac in front of you and the DDC manuals besides you memorization is not necessary and I find that I do a much better job of classification when I’m not working by rote.  Assuming that our patrons have a full understanding of the system because we’ve put up a few posters listing the one hundreds is absolutely ludicrous, and it’s nice to see someone else say that.

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2 Comments on “More Reasons to Hate the DDC”

  1. Elleander Says:

    Hey! I for one do know the entire Dewey 20 from curiosities and mysteries to MARS and extraterrestial worlds. It’s better than counting sheep to put one to sleep at night. I get a little bogged down around hydraulic engineering but then not much of that in public libraries. DDC has its problems but would you prefer a library collection shelved like Barnes & Noble? I wonder how the Gilbert Library in Maricopa County, AZ is doing since it abandoned DDC for B&N.

  2. geekylibrarian Says:

    I would never advocate a switch to something like Bisac, libraries unhesitatingly require a system along the lines of what Dewey has to offer. But that’s not to say that something better couldn’t be developed now that we have a hundred or so years of experience with this system to work from.

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