Open Classification

/ 14 July 2008

Tim Spauling of Librarything has put out a call for an open classification system for public libraries.

The Dewey Decimal System® was great for its time, but it’s outlived that. Libraries today should not be constrained by the mental models of the 1870s, doomed to tinker with an increasingly irrelevant system. Nor should they be forced into a proprietary system—copyrighted, trademarked and licensed by a single entity—expensive to adopt and encumbered by restrictions on publishing detailed schedules or coordinating necessary changes.

He notes that the effort is focused on publics because academics would have a much harder time moving large collections to a new scheme and the LC system already widely in use by academics is already in the public domain.

Check out Build the Open Shelves Classification if you are interested in helping out. Is OCLC really doing such a poor job with DDC?

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