Thursday, May 10, 2018

Looking Beyond Dewey: An Alternative Approach to Organizing a Library Collection Through the BISAC System

McCune, Andria

Hibner, H., & Kelly, M. (2010). Making a collection count: A holistic approach to library collection management. Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing Limited.
In the book entitled Making a collection count: A holistic approach to library collection management, the authors Hibner and Kelly (2010) in Chapter 6: Collection Organization describe the typical classification used in libraries, which is the Dewey decimal classification system. However, some libraries within the United States have found a different approach to organizing their collection, which is a system used primarily in bookstores known as the "BISAC system" (p. 99). According to the authors, libraries have adopted this new approach to organizing their collections due to the fact that the "Dewey arrangement does not facilitate browsing in the areas of most interest to public library users" (Hibner & Kelly, 2010, p. 99). The BISAC system allows library patrons to quickly find the subject areas they are looking for, rather than relying on locating the specific classification number, or call number, in order to locate the subject matter they are attempting to find. For example, as Hibner and Kelly explain, the BISAC system "uses an alphabetical list of categories to arrange taking popular subjects and grouping them together in a more browsable, eye-catching way, non-fiction circulates better. It also helps library users avoid frustration and information overload and saves them time" (Hibner & Kelly, 2010, p.99). There are of course a few downsides to adopting this sort of system, and quite a number of librarians from various library systems have expressed their disapproval towards this type of system of organizations. However, this system is a fresh way of working with the library collection in order to best meet the diverse needs of library patrons and is worth examining to see if this sort of approach will work for particular library systems, especially ones that are open to changing long-established methods of organization in favor of providing better service to library patrons. 

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