QTND 14: Dewey and L.C.

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This one's been bugging me for a while, and perhaps qualifies for a QTND. How come you don't take one summer (or decade, or whatever) and consolidate the 2 classification systems which are currently in use in Mudd? I'm sure it would be a monumental effort, but well worth the trouble.

—Dewey Fan

Dear Dewey Fan,

You're right. We'll add this one to the QTND board. The reason we haven't tried to consolidate the two systems is exactly what you suggest — it would be a monumental effort, and a tremendously expensive one at that. We have just enough technical services staff (as we in the library biz call them) to keep our heads above water processing the books and journals we currently acquire. Such a project would require a substantial addition to our staff, and that takes money we don't have. We figure, as a rough estimate, that this would take us about 60,000 person hours, or four hundred person months to do. In other words, if five people worked full time for about six and a half years they would take care of most of the project — except for the thorny problems. That would cost about $800,000. If you know of anyone who'd be willing to donate that amount of money, let us know. I'd be sure not to cancel an appointment with him or her. Lacking such a donor, and having projects of higher priority that are designated for the capital funds we are now trying to raise, such a project is not likely to materialize. Even though it would make the library easier to use, we don't think it's really cost-effective. One other thing that may disappoint a Dewey fan. If we did ever convert, we would change all the books that are in Dewey over to L.C. the current system used in most major academic libraries.

—RAE 9/17/92

I smell the likes of a humungous debate: the Deweys vs. the Library of Congresses. I hesitate. How long, RAE, how long will this one go on? Will this be with the likes of "Falling Man" (who, by the way is fine right where he is), Sinking Mudd, A-Level entry, and coffee venders? I'm afraid, very afraid.

I sure hope your fears aren't justified. Aside from answering this board, I do from time to time have occassional work that I need to get accomplished.

—RAE 9/17/92

Just think! The newspaper headlines one day will read: "Dewey defeats Library of Congress."

Last updated:
October 06, 2012