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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dewey seminar

Starting with the trip to London, I have engaged myself more seriously in Christmas shopping. This week I have been to the mall Nova and also downtown Lund, and actually found several items suitable for presents. In addition, my favorite clothing store had half price off the sales price. Pretty affordable, and I got two tops mainly to have at work. My work outfit generally includes jeans and a jersey top. The stacks and the remote storages are not particularly clean, we walk on concrete floors, there is always a risk of getting the shirt stuck in the compact shelving systems, and the car we drive is old and no one cleans it. I make sure the clothes I wear are appropriate, and I never buy any expensive clothes for work. But I keep a blouse there that I wear when I have desk duty. Wearing jewelry on my hands or long necklaces is out of the question (risk of getting stuck in moving shelves). Normally I ruin one or two wristwatches every year when I accidentally scrape them against the metal shelves. There are worse accidents that can happen, of course, but I have been lucky. I was really close to falling down from the loading dock at one of the storages once. Driving a car in a town where 90% of the cyclists (= the students) are completely unaware of the world around them is also dangerous. I have seen a young woman riding her bike while writing a text message on her cell phone, for instance.

Yesterday there was a severe rainstorm, up to 40 meters per second. The rain was coming from the side and it was impossible to keep dry. I was worried about the train service, so I skipped the swimming and went home early. Later in the evening one train had run into falling trees, but it was all cleared this morning. It's not so cold here, it's about 8-10 centigrades and rather wet.

This afternoon I attended a seminar on the Dewey Decimal Classification. It's a classification system for books used mainly in the English speaking world. For some reason (I have yet to figure out why) all the academic libraries in Sweden will start using this system in 2011. We have up until now had our own system, SAB, consisting of combinations of letters. Dewey is a number system. Even though I have visited an enormous amount of libraries in the US, I have never been able to fully understand the Dewey system. Changing the system will have profound effects on many levels for us. On the way from the seminar I began discussing this with one of our catalogers and she said that we will probably have to re-organize the open collections (70 000 books). In the open collections the books are placed according to subject, which means that we will have to change the call numbers on all of them. Not a project I'm looking forward to, really.

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