Sudden Thoughts And Second Thoughts

Low Self-Esteem Problem

Aren’t we the gals and guys who formulated call number schemes? So how is it that in LC library science materials got tagged with “Z”? If librarians were in charge of this operation wouldn’t it have been easy for them to just make librarianship “A”. It’s not like LC is based on a mnemonic scheme. If it was I could understand library science being “L”. So I have to chalk it up to this profession’s pure low self-esteem factor. Here’s how I imagine it going down at the meeting where they are figuring out what letters to assign to different areas of knowledge:

Guy/Gal in charge of committee: So let’s get started. We have to come up with a different letter code for every possible area of human knowledge.

Bored guy: How long do you think this is going to take?

Guy/Gal in charge: Just ignore him. Let’s start with A. What do you think that should be – and let’s try not to make this too confusing for people.

Smart gal: Maybe it should be something that starts with the letter A – like anthropology.

19th century equivalent of IT guy: C’mon, let’s make it just a little confusing.

Just graduated from LIS Program gal: I have a great idea. Let’s make librarianship A just to remind people how important this profession and our literature is – and we won’t have to walk as far to find it when we need it.

Rest of committee: Intense howling laughter erupts.

Just graduated from LIS Program gal: Damn.

Guy/Gal in charge: Good one, but seriously – I already decided that we’re getting Z.

Cynical gal: Do you seriously think anyone other than a librarian is ever going to look for this crap? And since we do nothing all day but point people to where the other stuff is we’ll have all the time in the world to trudge over to the Zs. And honey, you could use the exercise.

Bored guy: Z it is.

Guy/Gal in charge: Look, this is taking too long. Let’s just say that A is all that general stuff that we won’t be able to figure out where it belongs anyway.

Everybody else: Fine with us.

Anyway, that’s how I think it happened. Don’t ask me how music got M.

ALA Midwinter Wrap-Up for Academic Librarians

Budgets.

Assessment.

That pretty much sums it up.

Oh yeah – Open Educational Resources. The next big thing.

3 thoughts on “Sudden Thoughts And Second Thoughts

  1. Because Music is awesome. (just kidding – well it might not be the real reason that Music lucked out – but it is a reason – and I’m not about to complain about the fact that all three Music sections make the most sense of any of the LC classifications, because why would I do that? =)

  2. Actually, I think we look to Thomas Jefferson for the origins of the LC system. If I remember correctly, it was his personal library that eventually became the basis for the Library of Congress, and he had developed his own classification system. Which didn’t have a section for library science (it not having been invented as such at that point) — so that’s how we got the Z?

    Granted, I’m not sure that’s the stuff of which improved self-esteem is made!

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