Forty-two librarians from fifteen countries attended the International Dewey Users Meeting held in conjunction with the World Library and Information Conference (IFLA) in Helsinki on Tuesday, 14 August 2012. I kicked the session off with a presentation on four topics loosely coupled under the heading of "new views of the DDC": Dewey linked data, the virtual 200 Religion browser, new proposed notation for expressing an archaeological viewpoint (comments are due on the proposal by 15 September), and the new user contribution / number building module in WebDewey (the beta version of the module is scheduled to be installed in the English-language version of WebDewey in late September). Juli Beall followed with a presentation on recent and proposed updates to Islam and Islamic Law (comments are due on the proposal by 15 September). Elise Conradi (National Library of Norway) discussed the history and challenges associated with the development of the new Norwegian translation. Ingrid Berg (National Library of Sweden) demonstrated WebDewey Search, an end-user browsing tool based on the look and feel of WebDewey and funded by Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, National Library of Norway, and National Library of Sweden with the permission of OCLC. Finally, Karin Kleiber (Austrian National Library) gave an update on the activities of the European DDC Users’ Group (EDUG). Karin is the current chair of EDUG. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before she could link to the rich store of information on the EDUG web site—here is the link. It is important to note here that the proposal for explicit notation to express the archaeological viewpoint in Dewey was a direct result of a recommendation from the EDUG 930 Working Group.
As it turns out, this happened to be the 10th annual meeting of Dewey users held in conjunction with IFLA. At the time of the first meeting (then known as the Dewey Translators Meeting and held at Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin in conjunction with IFLA 2003), the German team had recently started using the Pansoft translation system that is now used by most translation teams, we were just introducing an XML distribution format based on our proprietary data markup (ESS XML), WebDewey only ran on the OCLC Connexion platform, and what we call "linked open data" today didn’t exist. I managed to find the agenda for that first meeting in Berlin (thank you, OCLC data cloud!) and was immediately struck (even with the level of technological change over the last ten years) by the similarities between the topics of interest back then and today. At the time of the 2003 meeting, we were getting ready to publish DDC 22; I gave an update on the status of the English-language standard editions. Juli followed with a discussion of the translation guidelines for DDC 22 and Abridged Edition 14. The late Magda Heiner-Freiling discussed the German model for the use of Dewey in national bibliographies. Diane Vizine-Goetz (OCLC Research) discussed ESS XML (the predecessor to our current MARCXML distribution format). There were also two roundtables: one on methodologies for terminology association between Dewey and controlled vocabularies, and another consisting of short reports from the Arabic, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, and Russian translation teams (with the exception of the Greek translation, representatives from each of the aforementioned teams plus the Swedish team were present at this year’s meeting in Helsinki).
We are looking forward with excitement to the next ten years of working together with the worldwide Dewey community—see you in Singapore next August at IFLA 2013!