Where are your books on ... ?
November 7, 2016 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Practical question for librarians past/present - what are the common splits in collections organised by Dewey? For example, you might find books about dreams and dreaming under 154 (psychological aspects) or 612 (what is happening in the brain). I'm not looking for all possible crossovers from a theoretical cataloguing point of view, but the ones that frequently crop up in public libraries. More details below.

Other common crossovers that I can think of:
- 070 (news, journalism) and 302 (media);
- 001 (UFOs and unexplained phenomena) and 130 (parapsychology and the occult);
- 150 (psychology) and 612/616 (medical aspects of psychology, psychobiology);
- 391 (costume) and 746 (textile arts, specifically fashion at 746.92) - further overlaps with 687 (clothing manufacture), 741 (fashion illustration) and 778 (fashion photography);
- 580 (plants) and 633-635 (crops, forestry, orchards, gardens);
- 590 (animals) and 636 (animal husbandry);
- 635 (gardens) and 710 (landscape architecture);
- 690 (construction of buildings) and 720 (architecture).

I'm not so much interested in subjects added to other subjects - eg the ethics of the fashion industry which could possibly be under ethics or industry or fashion, depending on the focus of the book. I'm more after those subjects which, if someone asked you where the "X section" was, you would have to tell them to look in at least two places. I'm also after major topics that are common subjects to find in your average public library, commonly used by the general public (not a specialist library or academic clientele, for example).

My goal here is twofold: I'm trying to reduce overlap between duplicate material from different book suppliers and also looking at how to make non-fiction collections easier for library users with shelf markers saying things like "Looking for books on fashion? Also look under 391!" or similar. Thus I am after practice, not theory.
posted by Athanassiel to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Space and spaceships!
posted by goodbyewaffles at 5:30 PM on November 7, 2016

I would find people would ask about books in abortions, euthanasia, vaccinations etc and I would need a more in depth reference question to detiremine if they were looking at ethics (151 I think, off the top of my head)- but also sometimes in the religion section in the 200's or in the medical section ( 616ish?). Same with drugs - ethical, biological/medical, or law? Pregnancy books 618 usually led to a suggestion we check out baby names (929). I always found party planning (793) really needed to be cross-referenced with cookery (641). I also found significant cross over between education (370's) and writing (808 I think?)
posted by saucysault at 5:32 PM on November 7, 2016

People frequently ask for "self help" which can be in the 150s, the 640s, or a few other places depending on the specific subject people want help with.
posted by Jeanne at 5:33 PM on November 7, 2016

I recently saw a question on a listserv (or maybe Facebook group?) regarding books about musicians. Sometimes with biographies, sometimes with other music and pop culture books.
posted by PaulaSchultz at 5:33 PM on November 7, 2016

Do you separate out biographies? Most public libraries put them in a separate section rather than having them interspersed through the subjects. Similarly with graphic novels.
posted by Hypatia at 6:14 PM on November 7, 2016

Also, if you can get your hands on a version of the last printed edition of DDC, just skimming over the top notes for the hundred divisions--going deeper into the divisions if you need to--might spark some things in your brain, since most of them will have notes on "put this in the 700s but this in the 200s and this in the 530s..."
posted by Hypatia at 6:18 PM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Just to clarify - though related topics ("you might also like this other thing!") and reference interviews to drill down into what they are really after are also interesting things to think about, at the moment I just want what I probably should have described as same topic, different locations. So, dreams - 154/612. Psychology - 150/616. Fashion - 391/746. Garden plants - 580/635/710. Horses - 599/636. That kind of thing, big topics that in no way drill down into specifics.
posted by Athanassiel at 7:31 PM on November 7, 2016

Biography split out is HUGE, as is the issue of authors who wrote in multiple general Dewey areas (Asimov is the famous example of this but there are others) or for multiple age groups. The big thing I'm used to being user-unfriendly is "literature" versus "fiction". Computer science and LIS stuff overlap dramatically, though not in Dewey numbers and the fact that "comptuers" and "technology" are so far away from each other is laughable now but didn't used to be. The 999s (extraterrestrial worlds) and parapsychology areas (sometimes) but also astronomy could get books that could arguably go in any of them depending on how "woo" they were which is not usually a measurement the library takes.
posted by jessamyn at 7:41 PM on November 7, 2016

One that's annoying me as a user, at the moment:

Exercise and fitness is in 613.7, but books on fitness activities like running and cycling are in 796. Just browsing the books tagged running - training in my library's catalogue, I can't see any logically reason why some of them are in 613.7, while the majority are in 796.42. (And all the "core training for runners" are in 613.7). Meanwhile, biographies of runners and "100 ultramarathons you will never qualify for before you die" are in 796.42 with the running coaching books.

[Clearly, I have feelings about this]
posted by Pink Frost at 11:06 PM on November 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

A few more...
306.7 vs 612.6 - sex
333.7 vs 363.7 - environment/natural resources
333.7 vs 621 vs 69x - solar energy (plus other sources of power at nearby numbers)
338 vs 658 - business enterprises
338.1 vs 631 - agriculture
385 vs 625 - railroads vs trains (plus other transportation modes in nearby numbers)
508 vs 578 - nature study
616 vs 618 - general diseases, etc. vs the same in children
643 vs 69x - home construction and repair
91x vs 95x-99x - travel in a country or region vs general info and history of the same (esp. historical travel/exploration vs. general history).
posted by ClingClang at 5:55 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

As a user I look for discographies and related works, first in 780 (music) but also in 016 (bibliography).
posted by in278s at 7:00 AM on November 8, 2016

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