Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tutorial

Everyone who knows how to use the Dewey Decimal System, (or the Library of Congress system, for that matter), skip this.

There is no mystique about the Dewey Decimal System. The only people who find it mysterious and arcane are catalogers, of whom the less said the better.

The DDS is a way of putting books in order, nothing more. You put your socks in your sock drawer and your sweaters in your sweater drawer, don't you? What if you had to look through every drawer in the house to find your socks? Imagine finding one of 100,000 books by looking around, without any guide. Librarians know that if a book is mis-shelved, it is as good as lost.

Or compare it to house numbers. House numbers are in order, odd numbers on one side of the street, even numbers on the other. If 23 came after 67 but before 18, chaos would ensue, or you would have a bunch of baffled drivers going 15 miles and hour down the street peering at all the buildings and muttering to themselves. Just like they do now, on Foulk Rd in North Wilmington, DE, in the good old USA.

I'm glad I could straighten that out.

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