Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Is Dewey dangerous?

At the risk of sounding like a dour stereotype licking her lips at the sight of a dictionary and breaking a thin smile when a lost book emerges from the depths of the dusty shelves, I'm going to tell you that it takes very little to get this librarian excited. I practically cried with happiness when I found 025.431: The Dewey blog.

If I carried a copy of Dewey around in my head, this would be where I would make a list of my favourite Dewey numbers. But I don't, so I won't. Except to tell you that I'm a fan of the 320s, 092 is my favourite standard subdivision and the 810s make my head hurt. Oddly, that last sentence strangely conjures up an image of me being hit over the noggin with volume two, but I'm pretty sure that's never happened... has it?

Librarians across the world are today being urged to be on their guard after a rogue copy of DDC leapt up from the desk and attacked a librarian in Oxford, England. While the librarian in question was not injured, she has no memory of the incident and has since displayed some unusual symptoms, including reciting long numbers in her sleep, spending weekends sorting tins of food into complex hierarchies (of which everything is a subdivision of baked beans), and the inability to write any number without a decimal place after the third digit.

The Library of Congress have insisted that this was a simple malfunction and is not an intentional design feature of DDC, and have requested that any other librarians who feel their Dewey may be trying to influence their every day thought processes should return their copy immediately. No faults have been reported with the online version, but an inside source was quoted this morning as saying, "It's just a matter of 115."


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