The wrong sort

Tonight I was killing time in Naperville’s Nichols Library, looking through the computer books. NPL uses the Dewey Decimal System for assigning catalog numbers, so I was in the 005 section when I ran across this book with a call number on the spine of 005.8 BIS.

It’s a pop sociology book, and obviously has no place in the computer section. I someone on staff saw the word “sort” in the title and started thinking bubble, shell, heap, quick,…, big. Despite the mistake, I’m kind of impressed that a librarian would look at that title and make a CS connection.

I got curious and looked it up at the Library of Congress site when I got home. According to the LOC, the Dewey number should be 305.800973 22, which puts it in the social sciences where it belongs. I had always assumed libraries used the numbers assigned by the LOC and didn’t try to do their own classification. In this case, that would have worked out better.


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