Over the last week we have finally started decorating the living room and the book case, which I have just tidied will be coming down. This means finding space for all the books (I was disappointed when they all fitted under the kitchen table see photo above) and also a further opportunity to organise them. But how do I do it, what should I put together. I was involved in the reclassification of the Whipple, luckily I didn’t have the job of thinking up the new scheme. I was involved in deciding where books should move to in the new scheme, changing the classmark on the library management system and sticking on new spine labels. We had a wonderful team in the library, still do, which made the process straight forward and a great success. So how do we decide where to put a book in the classification scheme?
I think it’s always helpful to actually have the item in your hands. Yes you can make a guess from the title and description you might find on a publishers website or from the subject headings of a catalogue record, but it’s not the same as flipping through the book. Some book are very easy to classify, for example a biography of Charles Darwin goes in the life sciences section with the rest of the books on him (V7. DAR.).
However, there are more complex books and questions to ask:
Subject: what’s the book about? Some are straightforward others not so much. If a book is about two subjects which part of the classification scheme does it fit in best. Do we hold other similar books that this new one can go with. Where might the potential reader expect to find it, perhaps with other books on the course they are taking.
Time period: Our classification scheme incorporates the time period the book is about in some sections. So a book titled science in the 20th century would go in L8. This gets complicated when a book crosses multiple centuries or straddles 2.
In most cases classifying is straightforward. I find items about philosophy the hardest to make a decision on. I always think that it’s more important that the book is findable so remind myself not to worry about it too much.
I won’t be classifying my books but I might reorganise them slightly again. The small handful of craft books are now with my crafting materials and the nature books have moved to the landing book case for quick reference. I didn’t realise I had so many books on Egyptian myths and found some novels I’d forgotten I even had. I’m now waiting to move them all back and have some quality me and books time.