At the recent Dewey Breakfast/Update at ALA Midwinter, we described the Library of Congress AutoDewey software for literature, which takes advantage of those places where Library of Congress Classification (LCC) and DDC are similar enough to facilitate mapping from LCC to DDC. Before AutoDewey can assign a DDC number, the cataloger must often choose form (poetry, drama, fiction); when the literary periods of LCC and DDC do not match, the cataloger must also choose a literary period.
We spoke of the possibility of adding information about authors’ literary periods to Library of Congress name authority records and asked for advice about how best to do that. At the breakfast there was general agreement that the more information given, the better. Specific suggestions were that there should be links between the authority records and the relevant WebDewey records; that in addition to the DDC numbers we should give captions indicating what the numbers mean; that we should indicate which numbers are comprehensive or interdisciplinary numbers; and that we should begin with the latest authors.
One librarian said she needed to think more about whether it would be best to give information about an author’s literary period without specifying form, or just to give a full built number showing form as well as literary period. This is an issue especially for new authors, where we know in what form a particular work has been written, but we do not know whether that will be the only form in which the author will write. If we give a poetry number for an author, we don’t want that number used for the author’s later drama or fiction!
The presentation from the Dewey Breakfast/Update has been posted on the OCLC Dewey Services discussion page. We welcome additional advice. Please reply directly to this blog entry. If you prefer, you may also send comments and suggestions directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.