How often do your patrons (1) find a set of resources in the collection that are relevant (or maybe only semi-relevant) to their interests, but (2) end up wondering if there are other relevant (or more relevant) resources somewhere else in the collection? The disciplinary basis of Dewey has as an intended consequence that works about the same phenomena may be located at different places in the classification system. Shelving materials by DDC notation will then cause resources on the same phenomena to be subject to some degree of physical scatter as well. While sophisticated users will appreciate the attendant disciplinary context and specificity that this provides, more casual users may not.
Is there some way to cater to disciplinary and phenomenon perspectives simultaneously? The DDC offers several tools that facilitate finding where phenomena are treated from different perspectives. The Relative Index is one such tool; see and see-also references in the schedules are other such tools. “Get real!” we hear you saying. “We don’t make copies of the DDC / access to WebDewey available to our users. Besides, how many of them would even be interested?”
Ah, but what if you (with a little help from your friends, that is, us) were to identify the relationships found in the Relative Index and/or see or see-also references that are most important to your users and display them as signage in your collection? And if you have an OPAC that is searchable by DDC number, what if your signage were to include a QR code that let users immediately see what you have at other locations in the collection?
Go ahead—whip out your cell phone and scan away. Nifty, huh? (Of course, the actual results would reflect the holdings of your institution and how search results from your OPAC display on a mobile device.)
We are interested in working with a few libraries who would be interested in piloting such a signage program based on relationships in the DDC. If you are interested, please email me (Rebecca Green) at email@example.com (“DDC signage pilot” in your subject line would be a great help). Meanwhile we will periodically present other DDC-based relationships and associated QR codes as enticements. (Our thanks to Christine Burroughs, who helped us think through the possibilities here while she was at Shaker Heights Public Library.)