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Wednesday, 31st March 2010

A Wyoming Public Library Tests Use of Subject Headings from Book Industry Study Group

The Natrona County Public Library in Casper, Wyoming is now testing the use of BISAC — “Book Industry Standards and Communications” from the Book Industry Study Group as a way to organize books in the library. It was developed to help people find material in bookstores.

From the Article:

Librarian Betsy O’Neil stood in the reference section of the Natrona County Public Library, pointed to the call number on one of the stacks and wondered how many people knew what 798 means in the Dewey Decimal Classification System.


Last year, O’Neil, [technical service coordinator Susan] Stanton, and library director Bill Nelson wondered how they could make a good system better.

“Let’s look at making this more intuitive,” Nelson said during the library’s board of directors last week before O’Neil told them about some changes she had made in the reference department.

First, O’Neil said, Internet access to information rendered some of the noncirculating reference materials unnecessary, so she transferred about half of them — about 250 books — to the general collection so people can check them out.

Then librarians began reviewing the headings developed by the Book Industry Study Group, which sets standards for the U.S. book trade, including book stores, O’Neil told the directors.

The group created BISAC — “Book Industry Standards and Communications” — in part to help people find their way in bookstores, she said.


Some libraries, including a branch in Arizona, have gone totally BISAC, Stanton said. “Maricopa County was the first to fire the shot across the bow,” Stanton said.

“This is almost a baby step to use this system, to see if it works,” she said.

Others, such as the Natrona County Public Library, employ both classification methods, but are limiting the changes to the reference section to gauge users’ reactions, Stanton and O’Neil said.

Access the Complete Article

Source: Billings Gazette/Casper Star-Tribune

See Also: List of BIASIC Subject Heading

See Also: Roadmap of Identifiers (Graphic)


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