LIS 204: Introduction to Library and Information Science Week Nine Kevin Rioux, PhD Information Organization • Ways of looking at information organization – How knowledge is organized by society – How knowledge is organized in a library or database • In LIS the primary motivation for organizing information ==> RETRIEVAL (facilitates/improves ACCESS) – Our professional mandate states that we need to create and maintain systems to organize material – Also a stewardship function • Taking care of materials • Preservation of materials Major challenges • Very quickly, large amounts of materials (aka, “knowledge”, “information”, “data”) are constantly being added to vast amounts of extant knowledge. – How to organize all of this appropriately and in ways that will benefit the user? • Not only physical items, but e-materials – E-materials are subject to deterioration – E-materials are extremely numerous – E-materials are often ephemeral • Organization of representational records – Cards, OPAC records, etc. Goal of organization schemes • • • Reflect (as much as possible) the way people normally seek out information (none are perfect) Be easy to implement by staff and users Be flexible enough to accommodate all extant and new knowledge. • THIS IS A TALL ORDER Intuitive categorization schemes • Size • Age • Color • Genre • Format • Audience • Language • Medium • NOT GOOD ENOUGH for accurate retrieval! Intellectual tools that aide in organization of materials (often depend on each other) • • • • • Classification systems Controlled vocabularies, thesauri and subject headings Library catalog and rules (AACR2) Indexes, abstracts, and bibliographies E-databases Classification • The act of organizing all knowledge into some kind of systematic order. – allows for description of items as well as suggests relationships between items – suggests physical arrangement in a library – Suggests a “mental” order for users • Based on: – Subject--what the item is about – Discipline--a related body of knowledge that defines a particular approach to looking at phenomena DCC (Dewey Decimal Classification) • • • Most common in the U.S. and most widely used in the world First proposed by Melvil Dewey in 1876 Divides knowledge into 10 major “classes” Main Dewey Classes • 000--Generalities • • 100-- Philosophy, parapsychology, occultism, psychology 600--Technology and the applied sciences • 700--The arts • 200--Religion • 800--Literature and rhetoric • 300--Social Science • 900--Geography, history • 400--Language • 500--Natural Sciences and Mathematics DDC classes, cont’d. • In each class, there are subclasses and sub-subclasses, and sub-subsubclasses that indicate greater specificity. – The notation digits can get fairly long – Remember you are working with *decimals*, which indicate a *fraction*. Thus 795.5 is larger than 795.395, and should be shelved (and shifted) in its relative location accordingly. DDC drawbacks • A closed system--range of numbers is limited to 000 to 999. – As new disciplines emerge, they must be accommodated into the existing ten classes--problematic for things not imagined in Dewey’s time – Biased toward Western cultures--doesn’t easily accommodate nonWestern ideas LOC (Library of Congress Classification) • • • An alphanumeric system – 20 main classes indicated by letters – Each notation has 1-3 letters, followed by 1-4 integers – Classes can be expanded by decimals Developed by the LOC to deal with its very large collection in the early 20th Century About 75% of academic libraries use LOC Controlled Vocabulary • A list of preferred descriptive terms, and rules for assigning these terms. – Provide consistency for descriptions as well as author and title terms – Give guidance when items are very close in nature – Provide a system of relationships between items – Reduce error and ambiguity – Suggest broader and narrower terms and give the proper equivalent term Thesauri • Works in tandem with controlled vocabulary scheme – Thesauri are developed in natural language (e.g., in terms that people are likely to use in everyday speech) – These thesauri provide links between natural language and controlled vocabulary • Allows authors, catalogers, etc., to position their item within controlled vocabulary • Allows for researchers to select the “correct” controlled vocabulary term to retrieve materials • Helps ensure consistency in the cataloging and retrieval processes • Thesauri terms are often called “descriptors” • Are critical to electronic retrieval systems LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) • An accepted authority of subject headings for library catalogs and indexes. • Acts as a kind of index to the classification scheme, giving classification numbers assigned to any given topic. – E.g. “Germany” is included in many different LOC record notations. By looking at the LCSH, you can see all the headings where “Germany” exists, thus aiding retrieval. • LCSH are used to develop MARC records, which in turn increase standardization across collections, thus aiding retrieval. Other subject heading schemes: • • Sears List of Subject Headings – Simpler than LCSH – Used by smaller libraries MeSH – Extremely specific and somewhat complex – Created by the National Library of Medicine (NLM – Used for the Index Medicus Subject heading issues • • • Reflect a cultural bias? May not reflect the way people think about subjects (e.g., overly academic), thus is a hindrance to retrieval and use Some subject headings are quickly outdated Library catalogs • Describe all the holdings of the facility, and facilitate retrieval. • Each item in the collection has a *record*, either a card or an electronic record. • These records are created using Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd Edition (AACR2) created in 1974. • Electronic records are most often in MARC format (Machine Readable Cataloging), which provides fields for specific pieces of data about the item.