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22 February 2021



Do you think the fact that most libraries choose not to use DDC for their fiction collections indicates that the 800s are not fit for purpose, and therefore needs a major overhaul such as classifying by genre?


That's a very good question, Susan! I think it's at least worth discussing. I'd certainly want to know if libraries would be interested in such a solution, or if the status quo works from them.

I know from when I proposed genre-based classification for video games that classifying by genre can sometimes be very difficult. Even once you've decided on the group of genres you'd want to use (e.g., mystery vs. thriller; sci-fi vs. fantasy), you'd need to design a system such that most librarians would agree that this book belongs in this genre.

I'd love to hear more from librarians on how the current setup does or doesn't work for them.

Cynthia M. Parkhill

I find that Dewey classification works well for my home library, which shelves everything - creative as well as informative - according to its Dewey number. At the school library where I work, I try to stock the Fiction shelves with books that are more contemporary, more likely to appeal to patrons when they browse for free-choice. I shelve many of our older fiction titles among Literature in the 800s. Those older titles include ALA medal winners, books that are considered "classics," and books that are part of our language arts curriculum.

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