In our recap of this year’s Dewey Breakfast, I mentioned we had implemented changes to the display of history information in WebDewey. These changes are live, and it’s worth taking a closer look at them here.
What sort of changes? Primarily, it’s about what displays in the Notes and History boxes in WebDewey. In years past, notes about topics that had been relocated or discontinued were added to the body of the description (the part of the record that appears in the Notes box). When we prepared a new print edition, we would remove the relocation and discontinuation notes that had appeared in the previous print edition. Before these recent changes, the Notes boxes in WebDewey still had many such notes.
With these changes, we’ve converted relocation and discontinuation notes into class-elsewhere notes and see references, as appropriate—and in some cases, we’ve simply removed relocation and discontinuation notes when guidance is no longer necessary. Since the History box continues to provide a running record of movement to and from a topic, nothing is lost. The result is a cleaner, more focused description in the Notes box with a more comprehensive look at how a number has changed over time in the History box.
Let’s look at some examples of the sort of changes you’ll see:
Here’s one of the old views. In the Notes box, the information about philosophy of individual countries is given since those relocations were made between DDC 22 and DDC 23. That information displays in the History box as well. Here’s what you’ll see in WebDewey now:
We’ve replaced the list of notes based on the relocations with a single scatter class-elsewhere note for philosophy of a specific former Soviet country. The history information is still there.
Next, let’s look at a before-and-after comparison:
In Edition 22, outerwear was classed in the span 391.1-391.3, depending on whether it was for men, for women, or for children. When we relocated outerwear for men, women, and children to 391.46 Outerwear, we added the note circled above in red. But now, all outerwear is in one place, regardless of whether it’s for men, women, or children. While you can still see that this change occurred by checking the History box, a user today looking at 391.46 wouldn’t think to put outerwear for children, for example, at a different number, so there was no need to replace the old note with something else.
Let’s look at one more example:
On the left, you can see an example of the sort of notes we used to make: a bracketed note in the caption itself indicated where a topic used to be. Down in the History box, the note simply read “formerly located in”; the topic was assumed to be the same as the caption. On the right, you can see the changes. First, the bracketed “formerly” designation is no longer needed. And down in the History box, we’ve made explicit what exactly was formerly located in 394.15. Suppose we changed the caption at 394.1254 in the future, such as if we relocated main meal of the day elsewhere. We want to make clear which topic was relocated with the introduction of DDC 23. You’ll still find instances in WebDewey of history information that lacks an explicit topic, but we will be working to fill it in in those cases.
The new display promotes a robust classification, with functional information in the Notes box and extended history in the History box to serve a variety of users.