Here’s another one I encountered recently. Anxiety. Books about anxiety can be classed in a couple different places. 152.46 is for anxiety disorders (emotions), while 616.85/22 is for anxiety (mental disorders or illness). In my mind, this is a pretty fine line. I suppose in some cases the distinction may be obvious with a fairly cursory glance, but other times it may require a longer look at the item in hand to determine its true nature. As a solo cataloguer, I usually don’t have that kind of time.
Here is the Dewey Dilemma I encountered a week or so ago. I had to make a distinction between 914-919 (Geography & Travel) and 940-990 (History). Simple, right? Well, what about when a book about a country contains what appears to be equal measure of descriptive travel/geography information and historical information? Instinct tells me to go to our existing collection and find similar materials and see where they’ve been classified in the past. So I did that, and of course, there are books classed in both areas. Eventually I put the book in hand in 940-990, because those numbers are more commonly used, and in our collection the rule has generally been that we put things there unless they are pure geography, or “Canada in Pictures” -type works. So that’s how I figured out that one.
I hope to use this wee blog to post things that happen to me in the course of being the solo cataloguer in the school district where I work. In the first few weeks I’ve already encountered some interesting scenarios that have made me go Hmm.