[Libs-Or] Dewey classification of biographies

George Pilling gppilling at gmail.com
Thu Jul 11 21:41:15 PDT 2013

As a former cataloging teacher, I have heard all the sides of this
controversy. It has only been the last 10 year or so that LOC has given
Dewey numbers to biographies other than 920-929. Most public libraries like
to have biographies together and use the 920 numbers (usually just 921 or
"B" for individual biographies.) However some libraries, particularly school
libraries, may use subject numbers such as 796.357 for a bio of Babe Ruth. I
have seen school libraries that use subject numbers and then put the name of
the biographee under it for a Cutter number. e.g. 759/Matisse. I taught that
it depends on what you want in your library and what your patrons want. The
LOC prefers the subject number and therefore Ingram will do that unless you
tell them to use something else for biographies- but that is more in line
with LOC classification. If you have a lot of patrons who browse the
biographies, then use B or 921 for all. If your patrons are doing reports on
a subject, then put them with the subject. 


George Pilling

1535 S. Grant St

Visalia CA  93277




From: libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
[mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of Cindy M.
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 11:32 AM
To: libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us
Subject: [Libs-Or] dewey classification of biographies


Our library is looking for ways to streamline cataloging workload. One
option is to accept Dewey subject classification numbers for biographies on
imported catalog records. Has any library done this?  Does it seem
beneficial for patrons to find biographies under the subject of the life
work of the person or is a section reserved specifically for biographies
more patron friendly? We use Ingram for purchasing and processing.  


Cynthia Hutchison

Adult Services Librarian

Douglas County Library System

1409 NE Diamond Lake Blvd.

Roseburg   OR   97470


cmhutchi at co.douglas.or.us



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