Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of participating in Mohican 2012: Radical Opportunities, New Trends for Technical Services, a retreat sponsored by the Ohio Library Council. I presented Looking beyond Shelf Location: Unleashing the Power of the Dewey Decimal Classification. We explored the question, how can we exploit the rich Dewey ecosystem to support organization and discovery beyond the linear shelf? After a review of data in the Dewey ecosystem, data encoding and representation, and agents (human and machine) enhancing and linking data plus categorizing content, we had a brainstorming session on the question of the day (with a few examples to get the discussion started).
Here are some ideas that emerged from the discussion:
- Display QR codes in the stacks that can be queried to show "other materials" in the library's physical and virtual collections (e.g., articles, general information about the topic) related to a DDC category or a particular work.
- Use QR codes to build virtual "neighborhoods" for high-interest topics (e.g., deck construction, wedding planning) that are often distributed by discipline in the DDC. We discussed how a mobile app with a Relative Index display of topics could be used for this purpose; another idea was to display the see references and class-elsewhere notes in the schedules related to a particular class (the latter is a bit more challenging in that sometimes such notes, which have hierarchical force, are at a broader level than the topic at hand).
- We explored the importance of classification for virtual discovery of e-resources and materials in closed stacks vs. keyword and/or subject heading access alone. The DDC is a language-independent representation that can be customized to meet the needs of the searcher. It offers the ability to explore related materials by broad category without entering a laundry list of specific terms. Recent changes in the underlying representation of the DDC now support the ability to isolate facets (geographic area, time period, ethnic/national group, genre, . . .) for virtual organization and discovery.
- Recognize IP addresses to adjust captions in English to address geographic variations, e.g., change Soccer to Football in the UK. We talked about the role 4XX fields in mapped terminology might play in such a switch.
- Improve access to the Manual in WebDewey: it would be nice to be able to browse the Manual in a separate display (Dewey old-timers might remember with fondness and longing the "mn:" index in Dewey for Windows that one could use to limit searches to the Manual).
On a personal note, it was my first time in Ashland County, Ohio (T2—77129). As the fates would have it, it was also the first time in Ashland County for one of the other speakers, Bobby Bothmann (Minnesota State University). Bobby and I discovered that we're on a first-time-in-x-place run together: back in August, we both attended the IFLA Conference in Helsinki (T2—489718) and Beyond libraries – subject metadata in the digital environment and semantic web in Tallinn, Estonia (T2—4798); both places were first-time visits for each of us. We're anxious to see where our libraryland travels will bring us next!