Dewey Decimal System

Almost six years after beginning this blog I have realized that a blog is more easily browsed if the categories are predefined and logical rather than added haphazardly as new posts require new categories.

For that reason I’ve decided to use the Dewey Decimal System. The Library of Congress Classification Outline (LCC) is more widely used but it is clumsy and complex. There are vast numbers of books designed to help librarians shelve their holdings.

I have been using Dewey.info to verify some categories.

The fact that I’m considering the Dewey Decimal system should be a red flag for me. Clearly this blog doesn’t have a focus, and this may discourage visitors who want to read bipolar rants and instead find an article about Australopithecus-munching saber-toothed tigers.

Oh well. I yam what I yam.

When browsing Amazon.com’s classifications, I came across an interesting book called The Accidental Taxonomist which gives an excellent explanation of developing a taxonomy for human indexers and lists four ways of categorizing books: tagging, cataloging, classifying and indexing.

Tagging, also called keywording, is usually done by the author or editor. Tags are not hierarchical or predefined as the taxonomy is; instead tags are a list of important words and phrases from the content of the article or book.

Cataloging is the difficult task of assigning a physical location to an item. While a book has a defined place in the hierarchy, metadata such as the medium of the item (book or audiotape?) or a physical description, i.e. whether the item a “coffee table book” that doesn’t fit on a standard size shelf, have to be considered.

Classification is assigning the item to a place in the taxonomy. The taxonomy is predefined as a hierarchical system of subjects or major concepts.

Indexing means to create a list of the items in the collection by tag or classification with the catalog data that will enable the user to actually locate the item.

And of course I don’t have a library science category in this blog. Yet.

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