An Arizona library has eliminated the Dewey Decimal system. A heretical decision in some circles:
In defending Dewey, some have decried what they call the “Barnes & Nobling” and “Googlization” of libraries. On blogs and newsgroups, more than one commenter fumed “Have you ever tried finding something at a bookstore?” Some pointed out that Dewey is already essentially a list of subject headings, whose call numbers specify exactly where each book should be placed on the shelves. Many libraries print those subject headings on shelves under books.
Others, however, praised Perry’s decision, saying doing away with the inscrutable codes makes libraries easier to browse and more approachable.
But the debate, say many librarians, is about more than one branch’s organizational system. It feeds into a broader, increasingly urgent discussion about libraries, where a growing number of patrons, used to Google and Yahoo, simply don’t look for books and information the way they used to. Some are drawing on cues from the Internet in proposals for overhauls of cataloging systems, but others are more hesitant, saying that the Web’s tendency to provide thousands of somewhat-relevant results flies in the face of the carefully tailored research libraries pride themselves on.