Okay, we all know about the spelling reform and the metric reform and the library reform. You might be forgiven for thinking that one of the fin-de-siècle bandwagons that Melvil refrained from jumping upon was the artificial language movement. But he was all over that one too, funding a journal about Ro, the constructed language in which "bofoc" means red, and "bofod" means orange (with the prefix "bofo-" standing for color). And isn't there a sense in which the DDC itself can be understood as an artificial language: one that happens to be used for talking about the subjects of documents? It's also one that seems to have found somewhat more success -- in 138 countries worldwide -- than Ro ever did. So there weren't too many misunderstandings at the third annual Dewey Translators Meeting the other week. Everyone spoke ILD: the International Language of Dui.
Thirty-one librarians attended the August 16 meeting (held at Oslo University College in conjunction with IFLA's World Library and Information Congress), representing DDC translation projects in thirteen countries. Points of discussion included a general DDC update, a DDC research update, a demonstration of the German translation support software presented by Magda Heiner-Freiling (Die Deutsche Bibliothek) and Peter Werling (Pansoft), and brief reports on translations and other DDC-related activities from those present. But the main focus of debate was the treatment of options in 200 Religion, and opportunities for providing a more balanced representation of major religions at the top levels of the system. The attendees supported a move toward a new general option, to which existing provisions might be mapped in a one-to-one fashion, that would foster interoperability between standard and optional numbers and provide a useful browsing interface for all users. Such a new general option might also serve as a vehicle for studying a possible future framework for 200 Religion. The Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) recently revised its Class 2 in a chronological/regional pattern. Dr. Ia McIlwaine, UDC editor in chief, and Joan S. Mitchell, DDC editor in chief, have agreed to undertake a joint study on a compatible top-level presentation and crosswalk between the two systems for the presentation of religion.
As part of the planning process, we'd like to find out more about who's using the current options in religion. It would make our day if you could complete this short questionnaire -- by September 26, 2005, please. And comments in direct response to this post would be excellent too! Rev. Foster -- if you're out there -- what do you make of all this?