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IN 1972, CARL Sagan was preparing to send humans into space. The Pioneer missions were unmanned, sure—but NASA had asked Sagan to design a depiction of Earth’s inhabitants for the trip, just in case the spacecraft ran across some aliens.

Posted in Classification

Finding the Unexpected Wonder in More Than 22,000 International Standards

It can be hard to find the joy in the minutiae of ISO—pages upon pages of acronyms, meeting notes, nuts-and-bolts bureaucracy about actual nuts and bolts. But without it, and the standardization it provides, the world would be a significantly

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Posted in Classification

Organizing Pictures With Words

Posted in Cataloging, Classification

Improving Descriptive Practices for Born-Digital Material in an Archival Context

  Creating archival finding aids for born-digital that adequately express the quality, quantity, and usability of the material has been challenging for digital archives practitioners. This is partially due to the fact that existing national and international standards that guide

Posted in Archives, Born Digital, Cataloging, Classification, Libraries

Paul Otlet and the Universal Decimal Classification

In class a number of weeks ago we enjoyed watching the film entitled The Man Who Wanted to Classify the World.  Though the film has its flaws (mainly in production, but perhaps also in content as some other students have assessed)

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The Man Who Classified Music

Meet the man classifying every genre of music on Spotify — all 1,387 of them Do you prefer ‘neurostep’ or ‘vapor house’? Spotify’s ‘data alchemist’ is using technology to help identify new musical trends. (Headline and photo from The Toronto

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The Mashantucket Pequot Thesaurus for American Indian Terminology

It is fairly well known that the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) are problematic in endless ways.  However, one way in which the biases and marginalization of people is most apparent is within the Native American subject headings.  Issues

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Posted in Classification, Knowledge Structures, Libraries, Museums

Are you Sitting Down?

Herbert Mitchell, a librarian at the Columbia University Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library from 1960 to 1991 was what you might call an “extreme collector” (or maybe a hoarder, depending on your perspective). He couldn’t resist the ephemera of

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Posted in Archives, Classification, Knowledge and Truth, Knowledge Structures, Libraries, Library, Museums, Uncategorized

Classifying the Stars

Recently I finished reading a book I picked up at the library on a whim called The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel. It is about the women

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Posted in Cataloging, Classification, Uncategorized

The Authorship of a Dance

Last week, in LIS 653-01, my colleagues and I explored the complexities of Dance Cataloging and Notation. The process of “preserving” an ephemeral art like dance is inherently paradoxical. As choreographer Trisha Brown points out, dance tries to capture “the

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by Hugh McLeod

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Pratt Institute School of Information