(5/22/01 6:57:51 am)
| i have a silly question|
my sister works in a school where fables are categorized under non fiction....she says this is true of all libraries ...i have a hard time believing this..is this so??
(5/22/01 10:22:45 am)
I can't speak for all libraries...but I think they place books about mythology ( and collections) in nonfiction for the same reason that put books on religion, or folktale studies in non fiction. It's a catagory that often involves not just the myths, but also history, critical interpretation, specific topics (for instance Grave's "White Goddess") and so on. However, anytime a fiction writer gets ahold of a myth and uses it as the basis of a novel (say Mary Renault's work, or Mary Stewart's Arthurian stuff,) then I think it winds up in the fiction catagory.
(5/22/01 4:12:34 pm)
Putting on my cataloging hat-
(Heidi will probably have more to say about this but, I didn't take cataloging for nothing last summer!)
Many libraries use the Dewey Decimal system and that's the one with which I'm most familiar. When Dewey thought up the system, he originally thought all materials' call numbers would have numbers - what we now think of as the type of call number that designates the non-fiction section. You'll notice that poetry or literary anthologies are often not in the fiction section, but instead are in the 800's - the number classification that Dewey originally thought ALL fiction would fall under. Over time, libraries put most fiction in its own section, designated by an 'F' in the call number. Fairy tales, folklore, legends etc. are still classified in the 300's, rather than put with fiction, though Midori's right, novel retellings often are in fiction sections. Religious texts, which some consider truth and others fiction or folklore, are in the 200's.
So, I guess the short answer is that as kids, we all learn that numbers on the call number make something non-fiction, while F on the call number makes something fiction. That isn't really the case. Laura Mc
(5/23/01 5:31:53 pm)
| Re: cataloging|
My dad always says that the only silly questions are the unasked ones. : ) Yours is not even close to silly.
Your answer reads wonderfully to me. Cataloging is an art *and* a science so it very rarely makes perfect sense.
Just to make it even more confusing in libraries, but also convenient if you know where you are going, the 398s (mythology and folklore) in the Dewey System are half the time in their own section in the children's area, not in order with the other nonfiction. There you usually find your anthologies and most of the picture books, but then some of the others end up in the usual fiction and picture book sections. Then in the adult area of 398 you often find the purely adult level books, such as Marina Warner's "From the Beast to the Blonde." But Betsy Hearne's "Beauty and the Beast" ends up in all sorts of places.
Then there is the other problem of classifying middle readers vs. young adult such as where to put Robin McKinley's "Beauty."
Library of Congress has also helped to standardize much of this, but it is still not as easy as rocket science which makes much more sense when explained by a good rocket scientist. (I once heard a scientist who had worked with Goddard explain rocket science and it made perfect sense at the time to me. Car engines are much harder for me. But that's another story from my long gone physics days.)
Nothing beats a great catalog to help you find what you want! It also helps to be really nice to your favorite librarian.
I am officially starting a new position as a children's librarian next week in Burbank, so all of this is hitting particularly close to home right now. : ) Don't worry, the site will not suffer from the new job either. I have started three since I started this site and moved thrice, too.
Edited by: Heidi Anne Heiner at: 5/23/01 10:23:22 pm
(6/4/01 11:57:05 pm)
| Re: i have a silly question|
What fun to come across this thread. I'm currently taking subject
cataloging, which luckily isn't turning out to be as awful as I
thought it would be. This discussion just reminded me why I'm going
into reference and not cataloging Congrats, Heidi, on your new job.
Hope it's going well...
(6/5/01 9:38:45 pm)
| Re: i have a silly question|
Yes, I prefer reference and children's to cataloging any day. And, thank you, I am really enjoying my job. Smaller branches are fun because there is lots of diversity. I get to work adult reference, too.