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What Lies Ahead in Classification

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Title: What Lies Ahead in Classification
Author(s): Shera, Jesse H.
Subject(s): Classification --Books
Abstract: Of all the modes of human intellectual activity prognostication is probably the most treacherous. It may not influence people, but certainly it will alienate one's friends. No one paid much heed to the warnings of the unfortunate Cassandra, and there is no record that either the Oracle of Delphi or the Cumaean Sibyl -had any bosom companions. But every well-ordered conference needs a sacrificial goat, and for that role I probably possess a natural affinity, even though my sex may differ from that of the Sibyls. Because the crystal ball is always, at least potentially, cloudy the temptation is ever present to seek refuge in definition, ambiguity, or riddles. It was no accident that the Sibylline leaves were scattered. Thus one might be quite within his rights to ask rhetorically what is meant by librarianship? by classification? and by the future? Doubtless, I too will end by "hedging my bets'* in this way, but for the moment, at least, I shall throw discretion, rather than prophetic words, to the winds and declare bluntly and without equivocation that I think library classification is here to stay. Not long ago I remarked to a friend who has long been a leader among special librarians, that on recent visits to England and Brazil I had been repeatedly asked why librarians in the United States were so belligerently opposed to classification. My friend's reply was immediate, explosive, and, I am afraid, very typical of most of us "That's easy, because it's no good!" The substance of this essay, then is as much a protest against such a misunderstanding of the role of classification in librarianship, as it is a forecast of the future Like the Apostles' Creed, it may be regarded as, "The essence of things hoped for the substance of things unseen." THE NATURE OF CLASSIFICATION
Issue Date: 1959
Publisher: Graduate School of Library Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Citation Info: In F.T.Eaton and D.E.Strout (eds). 1959. The role of classification in the modern American library : papers presented at an institute conducted by the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library Science, November 1-4, 1959. Urbana, Il: Graduate School of Library Science: 116-128.
Series/Report: Allerton Park Institute (6th : 1959)
Genre: Conference Paper / Presentation
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/1482
ISSN: 0536-4604
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Rights Information: Copyright owned by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1959.
Date Available in IDEALS: 2007-07-16
 

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