March 2012 Archives

Just about a year ago, we sat down for a chat with Joan Mitchell, Editor-in-Chief of the Dewey Decimal Classification, about the release of the 23rd edition of the DDC. Since the new Abridged Edition 15 came out last month, we thought it was a good time to learn more from Joan about the difference between the unabridged and abridged versions of Dewey. You can order a print copy of Abridged 15 online through the OCLC Online Service Center or request a free trial of WebDewey here.

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Andy Havens, OCLC Coop Blog Editor: What are the main differences between the unabridged, 23rd print edition of the DDC, and Abridged Edition 15?

Joan Mitchell: Abridged Edition 15 is a logical abridgment of DDC 23. It features the same content and structural changes as found in DDC 23 within the context of the abridged notational framework. The abridgment is based on the current DDC 23 data file as of January 2012--in that sense, some Abridged Edition 15 classes are slightly more up-to-date than corresponding classes in the print version of DDC 23. For example, the geographic area represented by T2--629 is listed as the new country of "South Sudan" in Abridged Edition 15; in the print version of DDC 23, it is listed as "Southern states of Sudan" (of course, the updated version of the DDC 23 data file in WebDewey also has the new caption).

Andy: Is there anything special about this edition in particular?

Joan: Andy, I'm so glad that you asked that question, because we used a new process to produce Abridged Edition 15. We began with the current classes in Abridged Edition 14, amended to reflect changes in DDC 23, as the starting point for the Abridged Edition 15 notational framework. We then expanded the notational framework in a few areas identified as useful in an abridged context. Once we had the notational framework for Abridged Edition 15 in place, we derived the content of Abridged Edition 15 from the underlying DDC 23 database applying a set of algorithms with minimal intellectual intervention. The end result is an abridged edition that has a much clearer relationship between its content and that of its full edition counterpart. We also expanded the Manual and Relative Index in Abridged Edition 15--the latter is thirty pages longer than the one found in the print version of Abridged Edition 14.

Andy: Is the abridged edition updated as often or more often than the unabridged?

Joan: It has been our practice to publish a new print abridged edition the year following the publication of a new print full edition. In a sense, the abridged edition is always updated at the same time as the full edition since it is a logical abridgment of the latter. However, some updates may not be visible in the abridged edition. For example, we recently added "Including copernicium" (for the recently discovered element of the same name) to 546.66 Group 12 in DDC 23--since 546 Inorganic chemistry is not further subdivided in Abridged Edition 15, that update didn't appear explicitly in Abridged Edition 15, but is there implicitly.

Andy: How many libraries use the abridged vs. the unabridged?

Joan: We don't have reliable statistics on the split between usage of the full and abridged editions. We know that the total number of print copies of Abridged Edition 14 sold nearly matched the number of print sets of DDC 22 sold; however, the web version of Abridged Edition 14 had less than 10% of the number of subscribers to the web version of DDC 22. On the other hand, Abridged Edition 14 was translated into one more language than DDC 22.

Andy: Which version makes the most sense for which libraries?

Joan: It really depends on the size of collection you are trying to organize. The abridged edition is best for general collections of 20,000 titles or fewer. Sometimes, libraries use the abridged edition as a companion for a specialized collection organized by the full edition. For example, religious libraries often purchase a copy of the abridged edition with the soon-to-be-published 200 Religion Class, an updated extract from DDC 23 that is intended to be used by libraries with in-depth religious collections and small general collections.

Andy: Any plans for the future of Dewey you'd like to let us in on?

Joan: We're working on two exciting innovations for WebDewey right now. The first is directly related to Abridged Edition 15. We are working on an "abridged edition view" within WebDewey that will support assignment of numbers from Abridged Edition 15 and serve as a migration path for current Abridged WebDewey subscribers. We are also working on a number building / user contribution module in WebDewey that will offer automated assistance for number building and also provide a path for user contribution of synthesized numbers and suggested index terms to the worldwide Dewey community. Stay tuned for more news on both developments over the next few months!

Andy: Thanks, Joan. We appreciate you taking the time to fill us in on the details of the new abridged edition.

Joan: Glad to do so.
OCLC and LYRASIS have joined together once again to offer a series of events focused on collaboration at Webscale. The series of free, in-person Open Houses and a Signature Event offer a glimpse of OCLC WorldShare Management Services from experts and users alike. With speakers from member libraries, OCLC and LYRASIS, attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about WorldShare Management Services, ask questions and share firsthand experiences with colleagues.

You can read more here about the event series and register. You'll get the chance to learn about how WorldShare Management Services streamline cataloging, acquisitions, license management and circulation and help libraries collaborate at Webscale. Attendees will have the chance to learn more about WorldShare Management Services, ask questions and share real-world stories of reducing infrastructure costs and resources. Registration links for specific events are also shown below.

We hope you'll join us.

Irene Hoffman,
OCLC Executive Director, Partner Programs


May 1, 2012 Open House
9:00 am to 3:00 pm Eastern
Florida International University

May 17, 2012 Open House
9:00 am to 3:00 pm Eastern
High Point University, High Point, North Carolina

May 23, 2012 Shaping a New Future
OCLC WorldShare Management Services: Shaping a New Future for Libraries Together through Technology. Featuring Andrew K. Pace of OCLC and Peter Murray of LYRASIS
9:00 am to 4:00 pm Eastern
University of Maryland, Frances King Carey School of Law
Westminster Hall, Baltimore, MD

May 31, 2012 Open House
9:00 am to 3:00 pm Eastern
Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, Georgia

June 14, 2012 Open House
9:00 am to 3:00 pm Eastern

Newbury College, Brookline, Massachusetts

For decades, OCLC staff have been involved in research, advocacy and educational efforts throughout the library profession. They often find out about possible speaking engagements from colleagues and friends at other events, through professional associations and throughout the course of their daily work. But there's also a route to go if you don't have a personal connection to an OCLC staff person, or if you're looking for an OCLC speaker on a very specific subject: the OCLC Speakers' Bureau.

The Speakers' Bureau provides an easy way for you to browse the profiles and speaker topics for the almost forty OCLC staff who speak regularly. Subjects available for talks include:

  • OCLC Membership reports
  • Library workflow issues
  • The future of cataloging
  • Technology
  • Cloud computing
  • Social networking
  • Virtual reference
  • Library advocacy

If there's a topic you're interested in, and you don't see it listed... go ahead and ask us. There's a form on the site for describing your event and requesting a speaker, but you can also just ask about a particular topic and we'll match you up with someone who's knowledgeable on that subject and available the day of your event.

OCLC speakers never charge a fee or honorarium for their talks; it's part of the cooperative's ongoing service role. But depending on the distance traveled and the event, we may request that travel expenses be covered or shared.

So the next time you need a speaker for your library conference or panel, drop us a line. We can't always fulfill every request - our speakers all have day jobs, you know ;-) - but we'll do our best to help out.
Over the last two years, we've worked with Library Journal to do three Innovation Symposia webinars. They've been highly successful, and we continue to get requests for "more of the same." And while another one is being planned for the near future, we're excited about a related event that's taking place starting this Sunday: The Great Library Roadshow.

In talking with Library Journal about the symposia over the past year, we've all expressed an interest in doing something similar... but with a much higher "audience participation quotient." Something where the hosts did more listening and less talking. Something more personal. Something, frankly, more fun. From those initial discussions, Josh Hadro (Executive Editor, Digital Products for Library Journal) came up with the idea of a trip where one or more librarians would spend a few days on the road before a major conference, travelling to libraries and talking about innovation as it's happening in their libraries (or how they wish it could happen).

I'm thrilled to report that this idea became the reality of The Great Library Roadshow. It kicks off this Sunday from Charlotte, NC and ending up in Philadelphia next Wednesday for the PLA conference. Josh will be driving, along with Lisa Carlucci Thomas (founder of Design Think Do) and PC Sweeney, Branch Manager of the East Palo Alto and Portola Valley libraries in the San Mateo County Library System. Along the way, they'll stop at libraries to ask about how innovation is impacting the profession and share what they learn.

To follow along, you can take your pick of:


They'll be posting updates, videos, interviews, ideas, requests for ideas, questions, thoughts and observations during the trip. Afterward, we expect additional reflections and updates, as well as some great ideas for future events, partnerships and apps.

Please wish them well through your favorite social media connection, and, if you're in the path of their journey, keep an eye out for them at a nearby library.

Andy Havens
Editor, OCLC Coop Blog