Knowledge Organisation and Contemporary Art : Cataloguing Practices in two Libraries in Sweden, Umeå universitetsbibliotek and Konstbiblioteket

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för ABM

Abstract: This master thesis examines the cataloguing practices of two art libraries in Sweden in relation to contemporary art. The aim of this study is to show how classification systems and other forms of controlled vocabulary correspond to contemporary art and reveal the factors that influence the everyday practice of cataloguing. The qualitative methods of semi-structured interviews and an analysis of bibliographic records have been used for the purposes of this study. The study is based on domain analysis as conceived by Hjørland and Albrechtsen and some concepts and principles of Knowledge Organisation in the field of Library and Information Science. A total of three interviews of cataloguers has proved that perceptions concerning classification and subject indexing differ among cataloguers and cataloguing practices depend on local policies concerning acquisition, shelving and user perspectives, but also each library’s resources and the institutional context (academic vs museum). Through the analysis of eleven bibliographic records, no consistent pattern has been detected, in relation to indexing and classification. The libraries do not use special systems for subject analysis. The classifications provided by universal systems have been considered insufficient to express all the concepts found in documents. The use of subject headings is, therefore, important and complements the process of subject analysis. The classification systems and subject headings lists analysed include the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), the Swedish Sveriges Allmänna Biblioteksförenings Klassifikationssystem (SAB) and the Svenska ämnesord (SAO). This is a two-year master’s thesis in Archive, Library and Museum studies.

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