Sunday, August 13, 2006

Angry about classification

This mural is said to depict Dewey and the railroad service he gave to Lake Placid, FL. Is it just me, or does it look like the train is about to hit him?
So, I'm working on an extension to LibraryThing that requires getting my hands on one or more full classification schemes, such as Dewey or LC Classification. In theory, I could use LCSH too and I have an underdog fondness for Cutter.*

I want to do something new, interesting and experimental, moving traditional classification in a new direction.

Ha! Shouldn't have even tried. I can't get any of them in anything more than a "survey" or "outline." Full printed versions cost huge amounts of money. Digital versions are even more expensive. Use of either involve restrictive terms. It's infuriating.

Preventing open access to Dewey is, of course, in the interest of its owner, OCLC. (We'll leave aside the issue of OCLC's non-profit status.) But why do I need to pay for access to the LC's data? Libraries exist to give information away, and the federal government exists because I consent to and pay for it. So, how does this lead to me paying $575 for a 1-4 user site license of LC's primitive Classification Web? I can't see any way to get that to work with LibraryThing, and my proposed use would also violate their terms of service anyway. These require all users to share the same physical location. Fortuantely they no longer need to be related or share the same barber.***

So much for creative use of library data. What's the use of talking about APIs and mashups when the lowest level of all library data is unfree?

The solution. Here's my thinking. I can use Cutter, or resort to a version of Dewey published long enough ago to be out of copyright. (Dewey's original 1876 publication is available online at PG.) But there's a wrinkle. Although OCLC can't claim copyright over versions of Dewey before 1923, they have perpetual trademark rights.**** So I'll have to call them Melvils, after Dewey's first name. Let's hope nobody needs to catalog anything about computers or, say, the phonograph. "Saddlery and shoe-making"? No problem.

We all understand why authors' need legal protections for their books. Can someone explain to me why cataloging systems need them?

I've previously dismissed the question of which is better, tags or traditional classification? Both have uses, it's true. They do different things. Neither is going to go away. But one is free and can, in this crazy, tubed-up age, be offered to people all over the world.

Pick the winner, kids.

*I'd love to use Cutter, mostly in support of my beloved Boston Athenaeum, which still uses it (along with four other libraries). I like underdogs. But Cutter's inclusion of book size within the call number is singularly unsuited to the digital shelf. "There is no shelf, and there sure as hell is no oversized shelf." The core system is, however, perfectly good. And since only five libraries use it, no one has a profit motive in it.
Cutter himself seems to have been a pioneer of openness; this is from the Forbes Library biography of him:
"Cutter's vision for the Forbes, in his own words, was for "a new type of public library which, speaking broadly, will lend everything to anybody in any desired quantity for any desired time." There were to be no bothersome rules and children would be welcome. [I]n another of Cutter's major departures from the standard practice in most libraries of the time, the Forbes' patrons were free to browse the open stacks rather than having to request books at the front desk, which a staff member would then fetch."
(Dewey, meanwhile, was a racist and antisemite.) Actually, Cutter is starting to look good to me. Does anyone know the best, most recent unrolling of the system—something that tells you where to put books about, say, wifi communication?
**I'd love to do my own library in the Blegen system, used apparently in only one library, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. This would work wonders for my Teubners, I'm sure. But my O'Reilly's would be a problem.
***In the course of cataloging, LibraryThing has amassed a rather large set of LCSHs. But it's nowhere near the full list, which similarly must be paid for.
****No doubt some of you are aware of the infamous Library Hotel case, when they sued a hotel for organizing its floors by the DDCS (room 800.001, "Erotic Literature" is particularly coveted).

39 Comments:

Blogger RJO said...

But why do I need to pay for access to the LC's data?

Darn right. People at LC worry about being put out of business by Google, about researchers not wanting to use the library catalog any more, etc., etc. Well, LC is putting itself out of business by failing to make public these valuable, taypayer-generated resources. I use Google all the time of course, just like everyone; but if the LCSH database, say, had been publicly available online ten years ago, a thousand cool applications for it would already have appeared and the standing of LC would be higher, not lower.

I'll have to call them Melvils, after Dewey's first name.

Dewey was also one of the spelling-reform maniacs of his age, and went through a phase of spelling his name "Dui" -- you could use that instead.

Pick the winner, kids.

I'd vote for LCSH and LC call numbers, in part because that's what I use, but mainly because that's a far more intricate and expansive system. Would it be possible to experiment from a subset? You can get one of the LC classification schedules for a single class for not too much money, I think. If you want LT data to experiment with, I have a pretty dense representation of QL, and especially QL 6xx.

8/13/2006 10:20 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Re: "Well, LC is putting itself out of business by failing to make public these valuable, taypayer-generated resources."

Yeah, it's the same story all over library land. If you'd approached someone 15 years ago, explained what the web was going to be and asked them where all the book data was going to come from they'd have certainly thought it was going to be libraries, with the LC in the lead. It took a dozen bad decisions to arrive at where we are now--OPACs with sessions, the failure to turn Z39.50 into an easy API, the general feeling that libraries and the internet were somehow "in competition" (if you think so, you are and you lose), and this, the failure to free classification. The end result has been what you say, Google and Amazon tell us about books, not libraries.

RE: Dui. Cute. Alas, that sort of thing doesn't fly in trademark land. I learned that after opening a "MacDonalds."

Even as they control access, the LC can't actually *copyright* their work, can they?

8/13/2006 11:10 AM  
Blogger RJO said...

Why don't you give Olympia Snow's office a call and ask why you can't use government-generated data from the Library of Congress to help grow the Maine economy?

8/13/2006 11:11 AM  
Blogger RJO said...

Even as they control access, the LC can't actually *copyright* their work, can they?

Where are our lawyers when we need them? I thought that, by law, government publications could *not* be copyrighted. I can understand the need to recover cost of manufacturing; but wouldn't that mean you have to buy one copy, and then can multiply and "re-purpose" it as you like? LC still has a hard-copy subscription mentality when it comes to its publications, dating back a century to when it began (very innovatively) to let libraries subscribe to its printed card production.

8/13/2006 11:23 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Alas, Senator Snowe's already gotten her letter this week, about DOPA.

8/13/2006 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Even as they control access, the LC can't actually *copyright* their work, can they?

Short of a special Act of Congress, I shouldn't think so. So you'd certainly be within the law to go to a library and photocopy the whole thing. Of course, that probably wouldn't end up being significantly cheaper than the stupid subscription. (The terms of service for Classification Web probably prevent you from copying the whole thing, and that's kind of a legal gray area.)

We could get a kind of manual photocopying bittorrent going, where people from around the country each sent you 20 pages in the mail. :)

8/13/2006 11:44 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Alas, I need it in digital form.

If I had guts, I'd test the issue--subscribe and throw all the data up. But the legal bills for the Abe deal alone were staggering. Startups don't want to get sued.

8/13/2006 12:05 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Practically speaking, it would make the most sense to take one of the public-domain versions of Dewey and allow some controlled subset of your LT users here to update the vocabulary and the classification tree. The necessary expertise exists in this community. Everyone knows that we need a new version because nobody is completely happy with either Lib of Congress or Dewey. Go out on a limb and get creative! (Unless time is an issue...)

8/13/2006 1:01 PM  
Blogger RJO said...

The LC Cataloging Distribution Service says that its MARC data is copyrighted "for use outside the United States," implying that it is not copyrighted inside the United States (but IANL):

http://www.loc.gov/cds/mds.html#copy

8/13/2006 1:11 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

The trouble is that the very nature of Dewey (and etc.) fights against the idea of user contributions and open source. So someone updates Melvins. What happens to the books already cataloged that way? They get marked for recataloging. It would obviously be worse if there were physical books, but digital ones would be bad enough.

About the copyright of MARC, I'm well aware of that notice. (I do my homework.) There are more problems when it comes to libraries participating in OCLC. If the LC made a record, then Yale picked it up and made some changes through the OCLC system, and they make it available through Z39.50 to LibraryThing, can OCLC shut LibraryThing down?

I think the answer is, probably, no. But OCLC surely has more lawyers than LibraryThing has employees. The main weapon would be public relations. Libraries think they own their data, and most want to share it widely. OCLC is fundamentally a member organization, so they have to listen to their members.

8/13/2006 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Bill Cole said...

I feel obliged to put in a plug for the Old Yale system, since I actually had to find some books catalogued under it in the labyrinthine stacks of Sterling Memorial. I think LC might be based on IT, since they sure look a lot alike.

Seriously, though, this is fairly infuriating. Sorry I don't have anything actually useful to contribute.

8/13/2006 7:03 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

It would be interesting to gather up all these defunct systems and do a statistical crosswalk to a newer, better system. Unfortunately, I'm not really after 'proximity-aboutness' (which can be derived from tags, Deweys or other factors) but the very labels. We'd have to crosswalk to something verbose, and I'm not sure what.

8/13/2006 11:40 PM  
Anonymous asquonk said...

This isn't directly relevant, and it's vague. But from what I understand, isn't the editorial process for Dewey run by committees (staffed by OCLC-unaffiliated librarians) set up through professional or public organizations? For example, isn't the Dewey Editorial Committee actually in the Library of Congress?

In cases where such committees aren't directly affiliated with OCLC itself, could it be argued (especially since these are continuous and ongoing changes) that public organizations such as ALA have rights to use the Dewey name and system?

8/14/2006 12:37 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

I doubt it, and I'm sure not going to litigate it.

Can there be an open-source classification scheme? Legally, obviously, there can. But open source usually implies some changes that don't fork, and in a classification scheme for books every change forks the system!

8/14/2006 2:16 AM  
Anonymous anne piergrossi said...

Tim, there are a few more obscure classification systems that might be usable. I looked up Universal Decimal Classification but they charge around $4000 a year for an internet license. http://www.udcc.org/

Bliss Classification is largely used in the UK...I looked through their site and saw nothing about fees other than joining as a member, so perhaps they are more open about allowing use of the classification?
http://www.sid.cam.ac.uk/bca/bcahome.htm

Finally, there's the library world grandaddy, Ranganathan. Actually, his Colon Classification is essentially the basis for Bliss--both systems are faceted, which is obviously better suited to a website than the more hierarchical Dewey/LC. However, I couldn't find anything about copyrights for Colon. It's used widely in India, I believe, but my brief searching didn't turn up much of use. Maybe that's a good sign??
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colon_classification

8/14/2006 11:11 AM  
Blogger RJO said...

Ah, but you've changed questions on us mid-thread, good sir, and are bouncing from one to another. No wonder we are confused. ;-) You started by asking about availability of LCSH.

So much for creative use of library data. What's the use of talking about APIs and mashups when the lowest level of all library data is unfree?

That depends a bit on what "free" means; it sounds like you had already determined the copyright issue in advance: yes, you've determined, the LC data is not copyrighted and so is "free" -- go to it. But it seems that while it's free, it isn't easy. You can certainly get a cheap copy of the redbooks and OCR them. Or maybe you can find a local library that has it electronically and show them the copyright information you have, and ask to copy last year's disk/file. Nihil obstat.

We all understand why authors' need legal protections for their books. Can someone explain to me why cataloging systems need them?

But it appears from what you've determined that the LC systems don't have legal protection. If you want OCLC instead, well that's another creature, not coming from a single source and not a government production.

Can there be an open-source classification scheme? Legally, obviously, there can. But open source usually implies some changes that don't fork, and in a classification scheme for books every change forks the system!

Well, I think there are shades of meaning and interpretation here. (This is the ideas blog, right?) And it differs whether you are talking about call numbers or subject headings, both of which are part of a library classification system. Library people talk about classification systems being "hospitable" or not: whether they can easily accommodate expansion. That's a kind of openness, though the analogy isn't exact: a hospitable classification system, like LC call numbers and LCSH, is infintely expandable and is in fact expanded all the time. That's why LC thinks everybody needs to buy a subscription, so you can get the weekly updates that include references to "wifi" and "Brangelina". Maybe by "open source" you mean that everyone should be able to propose new headings for inclusion in the master list?

On another level, systems like LC call numbers and LCSH are "open source" in that they don't nail down everything: they provide in many cases not an answer, but a procedure that a local library is supposed to apply to generate headings/call numbers for its own volumes. A real librarian could explain this better, but some of the history headings, for example, don't enumerate everything; they just say "List the country first, then the region, then the time period, then the topic" (as opposed to the other way around), and so the local cataloger generates headings that match a pattern but that are nowhere precisely specified. With the LC call numbers it's even more flexible: the call number schedules just list the main alphanumeric classes (e.g. QL 423) and it's up to the local library to generate cutter numbers for their own volumes, which they can do in great detail or in little detail. And there are areas within this system, as in LCSH, where you're supposed to just generate your own numbers based on publication dates, geographical categories, etc. Some MARC records contain multiple call numbers to choose from (these can be seen in LT sometimes).

So when you say "open source" -- unpack that idea some more and let's see where it goes. If by open source you just mean that you want to be able to download all the files for free from the LC itself, then I'm with you. If one senator doesn't work, try the other.

8/14/2006 11:55 AM  
Blogger Dystopos said...

In my opinion, you should start by showing off all your cool internet API info-wrangling tricks with Cutter and make the LC so jealous they beg to get in on the fun.

8/14/2006 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just went and checked out of curiosity, and the print copies of the LC schedules we've got indeed do have (c)Library of Congress on them...

But there is something about what government documents can be copyright and which can't - I'm thinking maybe it has to do with whether the GPO publishes it? (Why didn't I pay closer attention in Government docs class? - seriously though I did pay close attention and remember many other things - just not how the government gets away with copyrighting SOME of its work...

Otherwise - I like LC - but then thats because I use it all day long and I don't want to learn another =)

8/14/2006 3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

14 August 2006

Tim,

I do not think you have said what your creative use of the LCC and DDC classifications would be. Did you plan to do something with the class numbers embedded in the records?

When you say that Classification Web is primitive, what exactly do you mean? There's some interesting stuff under the hood. LC and OCLC created heading/class number (LSCH to LCC; LCSH to DDC) and class number/class number (DDC to LCC) correlations. They're pretty neat!

By the way, have you seen OCLC's
Dewey Browser (http://deweyresearch.oclc.org/ddcbrowser/wcat)?

You mentioned there is no shelf. Is that a reference to Clay Shirky?
We have to remember that while we can assign usually one call number (class number + subarranging book number), there is no restriction to how many class numbers we can assign to anything, books or online resources. It's only in practice that catalogers assign only one. But there's no rule against it, which is why I think Shirky's motto "there is no shelf" is somwhat misleading. What's done in practice is far less than what's actually could be done. Resources with more than one class number appeared often in the classified form of catalog, of which only a few actually flourished in the US. Dewey's own classified catalog still exists in the State Library of New York. Another exists at the John Crerar Library at UChicago. Cataloger's just don't add more than one class number because classification in the US, at least among US catalogers, tends to be synonymous with shelf location. It need not be that way.

You mentioned Dewey's first edition of the DDC. There are few lines in
the preface that are interesting:

The system was devised for cataloguing and indexing purposes, but it was found on trial to be equally valuable for numbering and arranging books and pamphlets on the shelves.

"Mark and park" was an afterthought.

Bryan Campbell
classz696@yahoo.com

8/14/2006 5:05 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Mark,

Regarding Classification Web I mean that it's primitive as a web ap--archaic UI, no API, etc. That's probably a narrow view of it, in line with my general peevishness on the topic. The actual functionality I can't evaluate, except through screen shots. Since it must be manipulated by hand by people in the same location, not by a machine answering to people all over the world, it's no good to me. It's really Tantalus' dilemna. The data's been digitized, but I can't drink or eat from it. Who'd I eat to deserve that?

The Dewey Browser is, I must admit, rather cool, and just the sort of thing I'd love if LibraryThing members to do. They can't because I can't get access to the schedules.

The "shelf reference" was, in fact, an allusion to Shirky. Although, of course, multiple Deweys or LC Classifications could be applied to a book--and Shirky very noticably ignores LCSH—-this path has been largely untaken, nor does it answer all the issues that could be raised; these systems remain binary, largely fixed, tree-structured, inappropriately authoritative, etc. That said--and there's so much to say here on both sides of the topic--my goal was to EMBRACE a traditional, hierarchical, shelf-driven classification and mash it up with LibraryThing data.

I wonder if the Athenaeum, Forbes, Wesleyan, and who else has Cutter Expanded Classifications, would part with them? Actually, I think

Best,
Tim

8/14/2006 8:29 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Memo to self: Spellcheck.

8/14/2006 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Tom Roper said...

Was going to commment suggesting UDC, Bliss and Colon, the other three general systems I can remember from library school, but anne piergrossi beat me to it
Bliss, as far as I can recall, doesn't have detailed schedules for the whole of knowledge.
I once had the honour to work in one of the few libraries using Barnard (no good for your purposes, medicine only, uses LC for non-medical material)

8/15/2006 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Cybrarian said...

Tim,

As for availability of the DDC or LC schedules - you realize that they are books and most probably some library some place has a copy that can be checked out for public use?? I'm not saying that EVERY library has one for public checkout, but you might check around.... We let our older copies of DDC circulate. Then you might get a feel for the schedules and such... Just a suggestion.

8/15/2006 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a big problem.

Do Dewey or LCSH even provide you machine-readable schedules in a useful format? (ClassificationWeb is not it; it's an application itself; you need a database you can use yourself).

I'm curious if the proper data is even available, but at too high an expense, or is not available at all.

From the perspective of the maintainers of the schedules, they presumably think they need copyright protection for the same reason anyoen does---to justify them to do the work. Except for the fact that, um, like everyone says, LoC can't actually hold copyright to anything.

But yes, this is a big problem, I agree. Affordable access to machine readable schedules is absolutely vital for encouraging the innovation in digital use of the schedules required---because they could be so much more useful than they are generally right now. All this talk of 'what do we need classification for now in the internet age' would go away right quick, I think, if certain kinds of innovative applications started appearing. But they can't, unless there is affordable (not neccesarily free, although that would be ideal, but affordable) access to machine readable schedules.

[You could try making a freedom of information request to the LC! But I guess they are under no FOIA obligation to provide _machine readable_ schedules.]

Jonathan

8/15/2006 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wikipedia states that the LCC system isn't copyrighted and directs the user to a piece of case law which says
'In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, prin- ciple, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work. '
As I understand it the LoC can claim copyright for the form in which they present their system, but not for the system itself.

Emma.

8/16/2006 4:54 AM  
Anonymous casey said...

Is there any reason why your classification system has to come from the library world (other than being able to jumpstart things with MARC data you already have)? BISAC subject headings might give you what you want (a "good enough" framework to bootstrap whatever you're planning), without the licensing hassles of Dui or LC.

8/16/2006 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm kinda with casey here--why the attachment to library classifications? They represent the result of a lot of work and a century of refinement sure, but that means they represent the result of a century of accretion, intellectual plaque, decisions reversed, ideas and perspectives that are a century outdated....

I know reinventing the wheel seems like a silly idea, but cataloging requires a fair amount of knowledge about the topic. That is, the synthesis portion of LC or Dewey are strange enough that not just anyone could sit down and properly construct a heading without some training and practice.

I'm not saying that, once they have that training, people aren't ABLE to; I'm saying these systems are not user-friendly. And when you have inconsistency in how people are creating headings, you kind of have broken subject indexing.... If you want to do something neat involving having people assign their own subjects, you might do better to do some reinventing or pick a simpler system.

On the other hand, you could always go the other route and get needlessly complex with a more computer-friendly system. Anyone know if PRECIS is still around? It always seemed so neat....

-John

8/17/2006 4:10 PM  
Blogger Blue Tyson said...

Can you call it NotHeweyOrLewey?

:)

8/21/2006 3:37 AM  
Anonymous Lynne Litchfield said...

I too was going to suggest Colon. LCC is rare in the UK - so we'd all have to learn it - and anyway it looks like a legal non-starter to me. Dewey is useless - not withstanding the billions of pounds invested in using it in nearly every public library here the distributed relatives caused by using it as a shelf mark system are a real problem - as any hierarchical system is. Aren't the tags a primitive faceted classification anyway? We maybe just need to have an agreed set of tags ( yeah right!!!) and a way of combining them.

8/21/2006 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Bric said...

Yes a controlled vocabulary with the possibility of faceted accretion is very appealing. There is an argument thet tags tend to regulate themselves into 'preferred terms' as users observe the relative popularity of similar tags, and opt for the ones that are likely to be sought.
Making a new faceted classification for LT using 'bedded down' tags sounds like an excellent idea. Faceted schemes are vastly more efficient than enumerative ones like LC.

8/23/2006 5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mentioned LCSH. These are available electronically at http://authorities.loc.gov Not sure if the interface would for you, though.

8/28/2006 10:07 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

First I want to make it clear that while I work for the Library of Congress, this is not an official posting from that institution.

The LC class schedules are not in copyright: this is information created by Federal government workers and unless classified or in need of other such protections, it is in the public domain. The issues of copyright outside the US are due to the complex nature of international copyright law. I am not as clear on that because I have not had to deal with it.

The cost for the schedules, both online and off, has never been for the data, but for the delivery. The Congress does not fund this and the Library is forced to recover the costs. In the case of the online version, most of the the costs are for the software to allow users to search the schedules. This is not a profit-making product for the Library. If Congress would supply the funding, I am sure LC would make this data available for free, but I don't see Congress coming up with the money.

I cannot say what the Library would do if someone put up sections or all of the LC schedules, but I can say they would be out-of-date very rapidly. There are daily changes to the schedules. In the case of the online schedules, there are also some built in tools that make it easier to use, doing the table calculations for the cataloger. In the case of the G schedule, the online version includes all the tables of geographic locations that map catalogers need: this is not included in the paper schedule because the tables would make the volume three times the size it is now and would be out-of-data even before it is printed.

For LC, it is not about making any money but having funding to keep the schedules available.

9/02/2006 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last year a PDF version of the LCSH schedules was developed and a survey was sent to depository libraries ("e-LCSH"). e-LCSH had a fairly restrictive license:

"This electronic version is being made available to the Federal Depository Library Program with the condition that the files NOT be redistributed or made accessible outside the premises of participating FDLP libraries. If downloaded to a local server, the e-LCSH files must be placed on a location that is not accessible to Web crawlers or to users outside the premises of the FDLP library."

See: http://freegovinfo.info/node/247/print

9/05/2006 11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bliss classification (BC2) is actually a really nice classification system, and well-suited to digital use. If it's true you can use it for no or low fees, you should definitely at least consider it.

JR

9/05/2006 10:43 PM  
Anonymous krishan kumar said...

i am in the process of revising my book on theory of library classification. being retired, i find it difficult to have access to the latest editions of lib classification systems.i would greatly welcome open source concept, where one can download the files free for research purpose.i would welcome any suggestions that will enable me to have access to latest scedules.

9/26/2006 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since Cutter is in the public domain, why not use it? As for its being 19th century, why not open it up to the Librarything world and have Librarythingers design expansions to it? You could call the update "Cutter's Infinitely Expansive Classification".

11/05/2006 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At any rate, you might want to start from the last complete level (6th?), or maybe from a higher level which can leave lots of room for people to fit in computers and weblogs, etc. --ShmJay

11/05/2006 10:22 PM  
Anonymous David Legg said...

Blast!

There I was... already to Google for "opensource classification" and your article came up as the second entry!

This so reminds me about the debate we had here in the UK about getting free access to geographical mapping data. The cursed high fees and draconian copyright of the Ordnance Survey data (paid for by taxpayers).

People are trying to fight it (http://okfn.org/wiki/OpenGeoData)... we'll see how they get on.

Some people are even banding together and plodding the streets with a GPS to create truly opensource mapping data.

Unfortunately, I don't see an easy way of doing the same with a classification system. However Wikipedia seems to be a very good model for this with a select group of editors under public scrutiny.

My solution? Well I'm with JR... give BC2 a go.

I've just joined the BCA (Bliss Classification Association) and as it happens I'm going to my first public meeting tomorrow in London.

It feels like a secret society; getting information out of them has been difficult... their web site is not particularly accurate.

One of the first questions I want to ask is about using BC2 on the web.

As a 'not for profit' society I'm hoping they are amenable to allowing the data to be published in electronic form.

Since the first copy of the 2nd edition of the Bliss Classification was published in 1977, and Bliss himself spent around 40 years on the first edition, I respect the huge personal investments that have gone into this body of work.

To be useful though, some sort of electronic change list would have to be published alongside it.

Wish me luck!

11/23/2006 12:54 PM  
Blogger Simon Spero said...

Whistles nonchalantly.

12/17/2006 9:46 PM  

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