The Library of Congress Tells You How to Shelve Your Dildoes

From Bitchery reader Abigail, we have… well, I’m still chuckling. A friend of hers who is a librarian sent her a clipping from the new Library of Congress Subject Headings. It seems dildoes can be subdivided in the most curious of ways:




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  1. Kiwi says:

    I wonder if that’s because of the Town of Dildo in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada?

  2. Charlene says:

    The only problem with Dildo is that it’s over 3,000 miles from Climax.

    Although it is right near Come -by-Chance on Placentia Bay.

  3. Teddypig says:

    Now there’s an Ellora’s Cave title waiting to happen! She Came From Dildo

  4. dl says:

    Similar to Borders Books confusion as to where to shelve erotica…romance, literature, and even some in non-fiction with Self-help/sex.

    They get in a dither when sex is involved.

  5. We had such fun with the Library of Congress headings in cataloging class in library school. You take your fun where you can find it in situations like that…

  6. Estelle Chauvelin says:

    Those have to be the bit after the decimal, right?  I mean in a twisted sort of way the 150s would work, since that’s where self-help is.  But the 400s are languages, and 550 is geology.

    I’d expect to see dildos in the 307s (relationships/sex) or as a further division under 613.96 (sexual health).  Though I suppose some of the really fancy things could technically be in the 700s (Art).

  7. Jackie L. says:

    Estelle, you crack me up.  Only a librarian!

  8. I’m pretty sure those numbers are for use in the electronic record, not Dewey Decimal numbers. 150 is the field for subject; 450 and 550 are for “see” and “see also” (also, “UF” is “used for,” “BT” is “broader topic,” and “RT” is “related topic”).

    But I love Estelle’s creative classification. I’m picturing a coffee table book of dildo deco in with all the oversized art books. 🙂

  9. Aha! Mr. Vintage Reader, who is currently a librarian (as opposed to my own status as an ex-librarian) suggests that perhaps the geographical subdivision is to indicate place of origin or manufacture.

  10. Chicklet says:

    Aha! Mr. Vintage Reader, who is currently a librarian (as opposed to my own status as an ex-librarian) suggests that perhaps the geographical subdivision is to indicate place of origin or manufacture.

    It would appear so, as a way to differentiate between dildos used in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, and those manufactured in contemporary settings, or different geographical areas historically.

    (Side note: It’s not everyday you get to search for “dildo” on Wikipedia! Thanks, Bitches!)

    And now I’m off to bed so I can be rested for my stitch & bitch tomorrow, which meets at The Smitten Kitten. (We sit in the back of the store, by the porn and the books, and under the leather flogs and paddles.)

  11. “The Library of Congress Tells You How to Shelve Your Dildoes”

    I know exactly how to shelve my dildo, thank you.

  12. Estelle Chauvelin says:

    The worst part was, except for which field of science 550 is, that was off the top of my head.  Including the 613.96.

    Ok, I was confused by the description of these relating to LCSH.  MARC fields, hmmm?  Well, I’m at a reference desk and my copy of the AACR2 is at home, so I can’t check on if that makes more sense right now.  (I thought subject fields were 6__, now?  Could this be from before the revision?)

    I’d try to stop being a librarian and a wanna-be cataloger all over the blog, but this particular thread is begging for it.  Still, I appologize and urge you to feel free to ignore me and to go about your business making dildo jokes that aren’t as nerdy as mine.

  13. Sheena says:

    At the risk of sounding even nerdier, Estelle, subject authorities within a bibliographic record are 600s, but authorities have their own records, and the fields for those start at 150. My first reading of this indicated to me that they were talking of authority records, and I automatically remembered the paintings on ancient Greek amphorae etc which featured women waving dildoes around (which looked huge, to me, almost as long as their legs). Indeed, when cataloguing you absolutely have to take your fun where you find it!

  14. Charlene says:

    But this is LC, not Dewey, correct?

  15. Sheena says:

    The numbers I’m talking about are the field numbers for MARC records, nothing to do with actual classification schemes/numbers such as Library of Congress, Dewey or smaller systems like Moys classification for law libraries. The Library of Congress comes in because they are responsible for publishing LCSH, the Library of Congress Subject Headings.

  16. Rosemary says:

    God, I love when librarians get all nerdy.  I really do.

    Arguing over call numbers?  Is there anything better?

    600s are subject fields.  The call number fall anywhere from 050 to 099, depending upon the system of classification and your library.

  17. Scotsie says:

    I love you all.

  18. Claire says:

    Since the Library of Congress is primaryly (in theory) set up for the use of the U.S. Congress, almost all topics are subdevided by Geographical location to aid in location specific inquires.

    For example: Laws on dildos in Texas would need to be separted from dildos in Ancient Greece, or Modern Germany.

    My technical services class comes in handy already…

  19. Jenn says:

    This would the love side of my love/hate relationship with LCSH.  Structurally it needs some serious help, but when I’m in a blue mood, it’s good for a few laughs.

    (For the record…here via cleolinda who noted how many blogs she frequented were on the PC list.)

  20. Deb says:

    *goes off searching for books on dildos to acquire for the library*

    *imagines look on cataloger’s face*

    *smiles happily to self*

  21. Sheena says:

    cataloguers smile happily also when anyone actually goes to the trouble to use the subject search rather than just doing a keyword one…It’s sad what excites me, professionally!

  22. Esri Rose says:

    Heh-heh… You said “congress.”

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