Real Name
Dan Harness
About My Library

It consists of books that I have read since I retired several years ago, primarily on my bookshelves, but also a smaller number of PDF-format e-books and one in the “read but unowned” category. I consider the e-books a part of my library, since I have access to all of them on a tablet. As can be readily seen, the library consists almost entirely of books in history, and particularly U.S. history. My bookshelves contain other books that I will add to the library when I read, or re-read, them. (In the beginning, I did not add tags to the titles, so that is a work in progress.) The decision to omit books read in the more distant past is the reason that some favorite authors listed below are not also included among authors in my library.

For those who are curious, I have arranged and cataloged my books using the Cutter Expansive Classification, devised in the late 1800s by Charles Ammi Cutter and once a strong competitor to the Dewey Decimal System, though little known nowadays. The main advantage of Cutter is the flexibility it gives me to shelve together all books related to the U.S., both in history and other categories. Thus: F is history, 83 denotes the U.S.; so F83 is U.S. history. That, at least, would be the usual catalog mark, but Cutter specifies that, if desired, the elements can be reversed, so that the mark F83 becomes 83F, U.S. history. Similarly, 83G is U.S. geography, 83HC, U.S. political economy, 83JTH, U.S. constitutional history, and so forth, and all books devoted solely to the U.S. (i.e., 83) are shelved together. Likewise, to name only a couple other examples, 45E is British biography and 95F, Mexican history.

Two minor changes which I have made, permitted if not necessarily endorsed by Cutter, allow me to shelve biographies of U.S. historians near other works in U.S. historiography, and to shelve local U.S. history alphabetically by location (Alabama to Wyoming), rather than by geography (New England to the Far West). These changes reflect personal preferences with regard to the order of books on my shelves; the possibility of alterations such as this is a feature of Cutter’s scheme. Still another change permits books related to emancipation and Reconstruction (not much thought of as a distinct subject in Cutter’s time) to be shelved in a new category ahead of other more general works on the period after 1865. Thus: 83F:D is the Civil War, while 83F:CT is the “slavery controversy,” interpreted by me more generally to be all works related to the coming of the Civil War. The final Civil War category is 83F:DS, Confederate regiments (I don’t anticipate ever acquiring a book in that category); I have created an additional one, 83F:DT, for emancipation and Reconstruction. Strictly speaking, of course, Reconstruction followed and might not be considered part of the Civil War, but this arrangement shelves books on the subject separately, before those on the general postwar period to 1900 and beyond (in 83F:E), which at least has logic on its side.

For the reader who has made it through this discussion and would like to know more, the Forbes Library in Northampton, Massachusetts, has a summary of the Cutter classification here. (Charles Ammi Cutter was once Librarian of the Forbes Library and his classification is used there.) More detailed schedules are available here and here and here. Finally, a useful article is R. Conrad Winke, “The Contracting World of Cutter’s Expansive Classification,” Library Resources and Technical Services 48, no. 2 (April 2004): 122–29. Winke points out that an important reason for the decline of the Cutter classification is that, unlike his competitor Melville Dewey, Cutter failed to make provision for its continued revision and expansion after his death. Nevertheless, with the changes that I have outlined, I find it useful for my purposes.


About Me

graduate student emeritus (!)

Ubicació
Portland, Oregon
Memberships
Autors preferits
Preferits locals

Llibreries: 57th Street Books, Caveat Emptor, O'Gara and Wilson, Booksellers, Powell's - Hyde Park, Powell's City of Books (Portland), Prairie Lights Books, Seminary Co-op Bookstore, Strand Bookstore, Von's Books

Biblioteques: Allen County Public Library - Main Library, Chicago Public Library - Harold Washington Library Center, Indiana State Library, Indiana University - Herman B Wells Library, Multnomah County Library - Central Library, New York Public Library - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Newberry Library, Willard Library

Altres: Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago History Museum, Indiana Historical Society, Oregon Historical Society