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Friday, December 22, 2006 at 11:24 AM

Dr. Librarian

We librarians like to be organized. One of the ways we do this is to categorize books under different subject headings, handed down to us from the Library of Congress. This is nice in that there is the same standard everybody uses so we all know what we are talking about. On the other hand, some of the subject headings are less than intuitive. For instance, if you want a book on hand guns, you will get more results if you look up "fire arms." And you will probably never find what you are looking for if you type in "cook book." What you need to use is the word "cookery." I know, it gives me a headache, too.

So in light of some of the odd terminologies librarians find for subjects, I was working on collection development the other day, using the Public Library Catalog, 12th Edition. This is a standard resource in the library world. It lists books which a majority of the libraries in the United States own that are considered to be authoritative on particular subjects, books that you should feel ashamed not to have in your collection. Of course, there is an extensive index with cross references. I was startled to find the following entry, "Sick - See also Terminally ill." All I can say is it's a good thing librarians are not doctors.

By adriennelibrarian at 11:24 AM

Blogger Shaw Israel Izikson said...

So all the books about having a cold is under terminally ill - that's great.

This is the same reason why I can't find any Leonard Cohen cd's in the local yocal bookstore - they always hide him under "traditional folk".

Whatever happened to the dewey decimal system anyways...  

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