Re: LCC, Library classifications, and a lot of whining:-)/awg

Alan Emtage <> Mon, 07 December 1992 21:57 UTC

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From: Alan Emtage <>
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1992 15:48:31 -0500
In-Reply-To: Anders Gillner's message as of Dec 6, 15:29
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To: Anders Gillner <>,
Subject: Re: LCC, Library classifications, and a lot of whining:-)/awg

Hello Anders,

[ Anders Gillner <> writes:]


> Whining on :-)
> This business is driving me crazy, and sometimes, in the middle of
> things, I wonder what type of people the librarians are ?:-)) In
> my mind some of these clusters don`t match. I know for instance that
> psychology was a subtopic under philosophy once, but in the 1990:s ?
> All human activities have something to do with each other, but do
> Geography, Antrophology and RECREATION, have more to do with each
> other than Social Sciences and Political Sciences ? Not speaking
> about Political Sciences and Law, (especially if you look at the sub-
> topics). If we use this in Europe, I don`t think that we should
> have a special subject called "American History", if we have, we
> have to have "European History" and "Pacific History", etc..etc..
> Auxiliary Science is an odd thing, CT is Biography, and a note says:
> "For biography associated with a particular subject, see that subject."
> But a little further down you find "Biography of women", no biography
> of men to be seen.....The same box(Auxil....) also contains things like
> "Medals and medallions", "Diplomatics", and "Chivalry and Knighthood"
> this latest topic covering things like "tornaments,duels, orders and
> decorations". Seems like sociology to me...., but let`s face it; there
> are human activities that don`t let themselves classifie easily, that`s
> probably why there are subjects like "General Works" and "Auxil..."
> I showed the UNESCO list for one of the librarians working with the
> Swedish Union Catalogue, and he said(quote)"Where did they dig this
> out ? Somewhere in the 16:th century ?" (end of quote), and I agree.
> I really think that it`s worse than the LCC-list, and I have the same
> feeling about the OCLC-list, just even more so. The latter one could
> possibly be used as a cross-reference list for documents.
> End of whining :-)

[I've also copied this to the URI list...]

Just adding my 2 <favorite monetary unit here>s: adding to what has
already been said, I have realized that I'm becoming less and less
concerned about the way that the any particular hierarchy of the
information is structured and I will put this in a larger context when I
get around to writing my current "personal musings" in the next couple of

This is not to say that this is not an important area, it is just to say
that with the amount of information and computing resources that we
currently have (and will have even more of in the coming years) at our
fingertips, there will be many ways of looking at the same information:
it is the information in the nodes which is of ultimate importance and
each "community" will determine what their particular web connecting this
information together will look like. So it is fine to develop your own
hierarchy since somebody else will come along and not like yours and
develop one of their own. The idea here is that communities of common
interest naturally spring from any group of individuals and will together
provide their own views on a particular piece information and how this
piece relates to others of interest to them. If you create a "successful"
web then others will be won over to your philosophy, and will use (and
hopefully add to) the view that you have created. If you construct a view
which is not found to be useful it will be ignored any will probably
atrophy (unless you have government funding :-). The two factors of
ultimate importance are that:

a) You have the useful information itself and;

b) You create a view which is of use to YOUR community, whoever that may

If the Library of Western Peoria (no offence to any Peorians in the group
:-) doesn't have the same classification scheme then so be it. They will
more than likely have access to the same nodes of information (or at
least most of them) and can create their own view. Ultimately the most
useful one will exist.

I would hate to see us be caught in a situation where we are being
backward compatible to 500 year old concepts which no longer apply
(Astronomy (then Astrology) being a subclass of Religion for example). We
have a mostly clean slate to scribble on, lets do the best we can right


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