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Managing information in today’s growing world is a tedious task. With excessive amount of data coming into systems daily, it has become imperative for knowledge organizers to follow certain guidelines if they are to ensure quick and easy retrievals later on. The purpose of this paper is to explore the different techniques using which knowledge in a public library can be organized. For this purpose, I m assuming that I have been employed by a public library and have been designated the task of organizing their knowledge.
Organization of knowledge in a public library is a more delicate task than organization of knowledge at any other school or college library. Fact is that there are a greater number of users in a public library with all sorts of personalities. (ALA/PLA) Students, teachers, retirees, civilians, knowledge-seekers, tourists, etc are some of the different categories of users of a public library.
Since all of these categories hold different perceptions as to the organization of knowledge and would expect a different kind of classification, it is important to use standardized organization techniques to address a maximum number of users in an appealing way. Classification of knowledge is a very ambiguous job. There are no pre-defined rules or any set criteria that govern the classification of knowledge. It is to the discretion of the librarian or the manager operating in the situation to decide by them the way of organizing their knowledge.
Given the task of organizing knowledge at the public library I would begin by classifying and sorting out the different books according to the subject material they deal with. For example, books on art, literature, politics, religion, music and science can all be identified into separate groups and thus can easily be sorted. This would be the preliminary and perhaps one of the most critical steps in the entire process. Having effectively carried out a thorough classification during the first process would mean simplification and reduced errors in the oncoming steps. Organization of Knowledge) The next step is to assign labels or bar tags to these bags in an intelligent manner.
Books in a library need a unique identification number that comes in hand at the time of borrowing and return. These identification numbers would be distributed on the basis of their category with no discretion within each category. Since new books would be coming into the library every now and then, the identification numbers cannot follow a rule. This is because every time new book comes in, it would require other books’ labels to be re-assigned.
This would not only be an impossible task, it would also negate the integrity of the data contained in the library. Therefore, it is far more important to ensure that these books are given intelligent tags identifying their category and a corresponding number so that the identification number is a composite field made up of characters and numbers. After successful grouping or rather preliminary classification of the books in the library, I would no focus on ordering the books within each subset using the alphabetical order. Alphabetical order is a very tricky pattern to follow.
There is no way a strict alphabetical order can be followed. Instead the name of the book and the author’s name are both used for alphabetical ordering. For example, a book written by P. Gerrard titled “On the Economics of War” can be classified under the “P” category or the “O” category. However, it depends on the librarian as to what is considered more important for him. I, being employed in a public library, would list this book under the “P” section due to the fact that the title of the book starts with an insignificant word, in terms of a title.
The word “on” has no significant literary value when expressing a book title. Thus, listing this book under the “P” category would make life easier when it comes for searching. Similarly, placing the book titled “In the Eye of the Mist” by Pete K. Moss under the “I” category would have no intelligence associated with it. Intelligent categorization calls upon this book to be placed under the “P” category owing to the first name of the author starting with this alphabet making it easier to trace this book around the library.
The discretion with which similar groupings will be done depends to a great extent upon the title of the book. Unless the title of the book opens with a relatively rare word or with a noun, the categorization will be done using the name of the author. Although, this may look to b a relatively easy task to perform, it should be noted that often there are several authors of a book or either their name does not start with a single initial. Such cases are often perplexing and it creates the problem of a uniformed strategy to follow.
Ensuring uniformity in the organization of knowledge means that there would be fewer chances of not finding a book in the place it was thought to be in. (Organization of Knowledge)It also makes life easy for regular users of a library. Since public libraries serve the general public, there re several reads bound to be using the library on a routine basis. Such users get accustomed to the organization technique used within a library and after a considerable amount of time spent using the library, they themselves become equipped with the knowledge of finding a book easily.
Often it has been seen that such people are there helping other naive users around the library when the librarian is not around or perhaps busy with another user. Moving on, since all of the books would by now be organized in their respective categories, it would be no longer confusing as to where a particular book should be placed. (What is Knowledge Organization? ) The next step would be to ensure that these books are all fed into a centralized system along with their shelf numbers. Inputting the identification numbers would be a time-consuming task.
Normally libraries have added information about books contained in a database. Inputting such information along with the identification number would mean several days’ hard work. Thus, the general recommendation is to scan the identification numbers on the book along with their location tag. The location tag is like the identification number. It informs the reader as to which shelf this book will probably be placed on. Logically numbering the shelves and then placing the correct shelf tag on the book according to its position would eliminate a great deal of manual input.
Scanned data will contain the label of the book and the location. Librarians in their free time can then update their database with additional information about these books. Thus, the final step would be to correctly place these books in the shelves that have been labeled onto them. Incorrect placement of these books will result in wasted activity during the organization of knowledge steps. Thus, it is imperative to ensure that these books are placed back in their respective shelves even after they are returned by an issuer.
In conclusion, I would like to assert the fact that knowledge organization is a hefty, yet significant task when it comes to using a library. The books in a library are pretty much arranged in a very logical and orderly manner. It is this fact which makes a library usable and books accessible. Online entries of the locations of books into computers also assist librarians only because they know that the proper place of that book is the one pointed out by the computer. Librarians face a tough task ahead of them when they join public libraries and attempt to organize the knowledge there.