Archive for the ‘classification’ Category

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Your Library in Dewey

We’ve made a handy graphical way to see how your library matches up with Dewey®.

The Dewey Decimal System®, also called the Dewey Decimal Classification® (DDC)—called the “Melvil Decimal System” on LibraryThing for legal reasons—is the classification used by most public libraries, especially in the US. First developed in 1876, it divides the world into ten major categories 0-9. Each of these are further subdivided 0-9 again, twice, yielding a number between 000 and 999. Further division is accomplished by adding a decimal point (.) and adding more decimals. It’s imperfect, but it’s simple—and it’s everywhere.

Here’s what it looks like on the top level. I have a lot of history and religion. True enough.

Screenshot 2017-07-24 12.00.11

Here’s one level down. Did someone say “occult”?
Screenshot 2017-07-24 11.56.00

Here’s what it looks like posted to Facebook:
Screenshot 2017-07-24 12.04.58

“Dewey,” “Dewey Decimal,” “Dewey Decimal Classification” and “DDC” are registered trademarked of OCLC, an Ohio-based library cartel.

Labels: classification, new features

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Introducing Dewmoji

Introducing Dewmoji: Emoji for Dewey Decimals®. A joke on Twitter about finding Emojis for every top-level Dewey Decimal class spun out of control and I ended up implementing something half-wonderful and half-terrible!

As usual on LibraryThing, any member can edit the system, which is now the work of many hands.

Try it out:
Talk about it:



Note: ®Dewey Decimal and related terms are trademarks of OCLC. LibraryThing’s system is, properly, called the “Melvil Decimal System,” in order not to step on their toes. Although Dewey’s system goes back to 1876, and its earlier editions are in the public domain, they own the trademark, and once went so far as to sue a hotel that used the system. We hope we don’t get sued. If we do, we’ll make sure to emphasize how silly the whole thing is.

Labels: classification

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

October catalog improvements

The last few days have seen three small improvements to “Your Books.”

1. Dewey Wording I’ve added a column for “Dewey Wording,” bringing the textual descriptions of your Dewey numbers (a.k.a. DDC, MDS) numbers into the catalog, if you want them. To get it, Edit your styles or click the “cog” (i.e., ) on the style control (i.e., Screenshot 2014-10-23 10.27.13) within your catalog.

Screenshot 2014-10-23 10.11.09

All the wordings are clickable, and like clicking a DDC number, they take you into the (awesome, but not often known-about) DDC mode.

Screenshot 2014-10-23 09.13.05

2. Faster LCC/Dewey Sorting. Sorting your catalog in Library of Congress Classification (LCC) or Dewey (DDC) is now faster for large libraries. Here’s a speed breakdown.

3. More sorts. You can now sort by three new fields: Private comments, LCCN and OCLC Number.

See also the Talk post about these changes.

Labels: classification, new feature, new features, small libraries, Uncategorized

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Introducing the “Melvil Decimal System”

I’ve just pushed a nifty feature for browsing the “Melvil Decimal System” (MDS).

What is MDS? MDS is the Dewey Decimal System, Melvil Dewey’s innovative classification system, as it has been applied to books in LibraryThing members’ books. The wording comes from out-of-copyright sources.

The browse system is nifty. It was to some degree inspired by the elegant user interface to Tom Hickey’s OCLC DeweyBrowser. It is also interesting to see how the classification stacks up against LibraryThing tags. Here are some examples:

As usual, the system is not complete. It does not yet show you how your books stack up against the system. That is coming.

Why MDS? Although he invented his system in 1876, and has been dead for 79 years, Dewey lives on. The library conglomerate OCLC continues to produce new editions, which are copyrighted. And the terms “Dewey,” “Dewey Decimal,” “DDC” and so forth are registered trademarks of OCLC. In the past OCLC has been touchy about Dewey. They once sued the Library Hotel for putting books in rooms according to the rooms’ Dewey number. So we aren’t taking any chances.

Although OCLC updates the Dewey Decimal System, they cannot own the numbers themselves, which are assigned by librarians around the world. Nor can they own the system as it existed in 1922—for that edition is out of copyright.

Make it stop!

Help us out! Knowing the numbers is one thing, but the words bring them alive. Every number has a space for wording, both original (1922) and modern. Members are invited to help fill it out, at least for the top tiers. The original wording should come from Dewey’s 1922 edition, with one difference. Dewey was a spelling-reform nut, and all the later editions of his work are in his semi-phonetic spelling system. This spelling is unbearable, so convert it to standard spelling.

For the “modern” wording, you may modernize both terminology and sentiment. Dewey used “sociology” in the sense of “Social science” and his religion section refers to “Mohammedanism” and “Minor Christian sects.” Those can all be improved. But improvements should reflect only modernity, not the wording of in-copyright editions of the Dewey Decimal System.*

As with other Common Knowledge sections, MDS can also be translated. Indeed, one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while was a user translating the system into Swedish just a few minutes after launch. There is no current Swedish translation of the Dewey Decimal System.

Lastly, I got into this to help Fleela, Zoe and the other members of the Dewey Decimal Challenge group, “Read a book from every Dewey Decimal category.” Fun idea. You should try it.

What’s missing The feature is, as usual, intentionally half-done. Here are some contemplated features.

  • Connection to YOUR library
  • Links from your catalog, other pages
  • The Library of Congress System

Come talk about it on LibraryThing Talk.

* In many cases, OCLC’s changes haven’t trickled down to the libraries that use the system. DDC 288, formerly for Unitarianism**, is now blank. But both OCLC’s DeweyBrowser and LibraryThing’s MDS browser show books there—a Channing fest to be sure.
** That Unitarianism gets as much space as Catholicism, Judaism and Islam speaks to Dewey’s western Massachusetts world-view.

Dewey, Dewey Decimal, Dewey Decimal Classification, DDC and OCLC are registered trademarks of OCLC. Read more about OCLC and the DDC on their website. LibraryThing is not affiliated with OCLC, but we have the same hatter.

Labels: cataloging, classification, new feature, new features

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Tagmash, redux: Tim’s favorite feature

Tagmash. I’ve redone, improved and expanded my favorite feature, tagmashing.

Introduced back in 2007, tagmashes, allow you to investigate what books satisfy two or more tags. It’s a great way to find books of a clear type, but for which no single tag really works.

For example, no one has yet used the tag “vegetarian Indian cooking” and there’s no Library of Congress Subject Heading for it either. But combine three tags, like vegetarian, India and cooking into the tagmash vegetarian, India, cooking and you get over 50 good matches.

Simple two-tag combination can work wonders:

Some of my favorites are off-beat: all those books about knitting for your dog and—shiver—knitting with dog hair can be found at knitting, pets. erotic, zombies is 80% Laurell K. Hamilton. And who can say no to humor, pirates? (Did you know that this Saturday is Talk like a Pirate Day? You will.)

On the serious end, fairly complex topics also work:

You can also use – (minus) or — (double minus) to mean “demote” or “remove” a tag. For example:

An important feature of tagmash is that it’s not just a “search.” Once created, tagmash pages stay there, and it enters the “swirl of relatedness.” Somtimes a tag page will suggest the perfect tagmash. Other times, a tagmash will suggest an unconsidered subject.

New Feature: Tagmash overlap. I’ve added a new feature that, I think, brings tagmash to a new level—the tagmash overlap.

It works something like tag mirrors. Instead of showing you how you tag things, it shows how others tag your stuff. Except instead of showing you Individual tags, it finds tagmashes.

The results is, I think, a good list of topics you’re interested in—topics more complex than a single tag can express. In my case, it surfaces topics like Macedonia, history, Greek, divination, Ottoman Empire, travel and erotic, poetry (!). Abby is apparently interested in adventure, surreal, English, death, love and—what a winner—evil, love.

You can find the feature from your profile statistics page. If you’re signed in, this link will take you to yours.

What do you think? Comment here or come over to the New Features Talk thread.

Labels: classification, tag mirror, tagging, tagmash