Document (#33214)

Author
Bertolucci, K.
Title
Happiness is taxonomy : four structures for Snoopy - libraries' method of categorizing and classification
Source
Information outlook. 7(2003) no.3, S. -
Year
2003
Abstract
Many of you first heard the word "taxonomy" in junior high science class when you studied Linnaeus and biologic nomenclature. The word originated with the Greek word taxis, meaning "to arrange," and is related to similar arrangement words like taxidermy. The other "tax" word comes from a Latin verb taxare, meaning "to collect money," and is linked to such collecting devices as taxicabs. In the 18th century, Linnaeus arranged all known living things into a hierarchy. Figure 1 shows where dogs fit into the Animalia hierarchy, as identified in the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS, www.itis.usda.gov). It's a straight drill down from the Animal Kingdom to the species Canis familiaris. For domesticated animals, biology taxonomists rely on categories from animal breeding associations. So I added two facets from the American Kennel Club, "Hounds" and "Beagles," leading us directly to that most articulate and philosophical dog, Snoopy. Linnaeus's straightforward structure continues to serve life scientists after two centuries of development. The whole Animalia taxonomy offers valuable information about the natural relationships of animals. It shows exactly where an organism sits in the vast complexity of life. Snoopy's extended family of coyotes and wolves lives one step above in the genus Canis. Foxes are added at the next step in the family Canidae. Because the Linnaean taxonomy must be scientifically accurate, it must also be flexible. If a new scientific discovery changes our knowledge of life, that change is reflected by taxonomic revision. However, one important grouping remains the same: In 1758, Linnaeus placed humans and apes together in the Primate order, 73 years before Charles Darwin sailed to the Galapagos on the HMS Beagle.
Dewey and the Library of Congress The late 19th and early 20th centuries were a hotbed of intellectual activity for library categorizers. First Melvil Dewey developed his decimal system. Then the Library of Congress (LC) adapted Charles Ammi Cutter's alphanumeric system for its collection. Dewey, the only librarian popularly known for librarianship, had a healthy ego and placed information science at the very beginning of his classifications. The librarians at LC followed Cutter and relegated their profession to the back of their own bus, in the Zs. These two systems became the primary classifications accepted by the library community. I was once chastised at an SLA meeting for daring to design my own systems, and library schools that mainly train people for public and academic institutions reinforce this idea. In addition, LC provides cataloging and call numbers for almost every book commercially published in the United States and quite a few international publications. This is a seductive strategy for libraries that have little money and little time. These two systems contain drawbacks for special libraries. Let's see how they treat Snoopy. I'll be using Dewey for this exercise. Dewey has an index, which facilitates classification analysis. In addition, LC is a larger system, and we have space considerations here. However, other than length, call number building, and self-esteem, there is not much difference in the two theories. Figure 2 shows selected Dewey classifications for Snoopy, beagles, dogs, and animals (Melvil Dewey. Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index. 21st ed. Edited by Joan S. Mitchell, et al. Albany, NY: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, 1996). The call numbers are removed to emphasize hierarchy rather than notation. There are 234 categories. Both Dewey and LC are designed to describe the whole of human knowledge. For historic reasons, they do this from the perspective of an educated white male in 19th century America. This perspective presents some problems if your specialty is Snoopy. In "Generalities," newspaper cartoon strips are filed away under "Miscellaneous information, advice, amusement." However, a collection of Charles Schulz cartoons would be shelved way over in "The Arts [right arrow] Drawing and decorative arts," thereby separating two almost equal subjects by a very wide distance. The generic vocabulary required to describe all of human knowledge is also problematic for specialists. In "The Arts [right arrow] Standard subdivisions of fine and decorative arts and iconography," there are five synonyms for miscellaneous before we get to a real subject. Then it's another six facets to get to the dogs.
Content
Vgl.: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FWE/is_3_7/ai_99011617.
Object
Linne-System
DDC
LCC

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