or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


You Can’t Get There From Here (DDC Edition)

   May 2nd, 2012 Brian Herzog

I know I've given the Dewey Decimal System a hard time for its quirks, and have experimented with other shelving systems when Dewey wasn't getting the job done. But recently, I stumbled on another great example of how Dewey totally misses the point - to wit:

Istanbul and Turkey Dewey call numbers

Now, keep in mind this photo was staged - I pulled these books off the shelf to photograph them. In real life, they're about three shelves away from each other.

And that's the problem: Istanbul is a city in Turkey, but Istanbul travel books are shelved in the "Europe" Dewey section, while general Turkey travel books are shelved in the "Asia" section. Ridiculous!

Yes, I know Turkey spans two continents, and the majority of Istanbul is in Europe while the majority of Turkey is in Asia. That's all very clever and precise, but totally fails patrons browsing the shelves. Chances are, someone looking for travel books to Turkey are going to find them and stop, and not think they've got to look for more books in a different section.

I talked to the cataloger at my library and (happily) we decided to apply Ranganathan's fourth law and move the Istanbul books to the Turkey section. But come on - a system is only good as the number of compensations you need to make for it.

Then again, perhaps this is nobody's business but the Turks.



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Turkey Trivia Quiz

   November 19th, 2007 Brian Herzog

animated turkeyI'm going to Ohio this week to spend Thanksgiving with my family, so I won't be posting anything.

Except for this: the same patron who called in for Halloween trivia called in again, this time asking for Thanksgiving trivia. We found a fun turkey trivia quiz which is worth the few minutes to take it.

For you American readers, I hope you enjoy your holiday; for everyone else, enjoy the reprieve; for me, I'll be enjoying about six audio books during the drive, not to mention my mom and dad's cooking when I get there.

quiz, reference question, thanksgiving, trivia, turkey



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