From the catalogs of babes

Mostly when I talk about our school, the library and its specialties, I talk about fashion. But we’re not just a one-trick pony–we offer other majors besides fashion design and the obligatory apparel- and textile-related topics. We also offer degrees and certificates in graphic design, visual communications, digital media and interior design.

Let’s talk about interior design, shall we? Obviously, we get quite a few requests for books and materials on “interior design,” which is only logical considering that is the name of the program major and how the department refers to itself. However, the Library of Congress seems to disagree:

Interior design
USE  Interior decoration  [R

Which is okay, except that since it’s not the term our patrons use, most of them would not think to search under the heading “interior decoration.” It wouldn’t be too big of a deal if our ILS supported see and see also references, so I can’t foist all the blame on LC for that one. However, interior design!=interior decoration. If anything, I’d say the latter might be a subset of the former. To cover non-decorative topics like space planning, we’d need to also search “Interior architecture”–a phrase which I have never heard any of our library patrons use. So even with the seereference, the LCSH isn’t all that accurate.

But Dewey…now that’s a house of a different color. DDC has a separate classifications for interior architecture and interior decoration: 729 vs. 747.

                 Design and decoration of structures and accessories

Class here interior architecture (the art or practice of planning and supervising the design and execution of architectural interiors and their furnishings)

Class design and decoration of structures and accessories of specific types of buildings in 725-728 .

For interior decoration , see 747 .

See Manual at 729  .

Referring to the manual at 729 gives us this:

Use 729 only for general works that focus specifically on architectural design. Use 690 for works that treat construction alone, and use 721 for works that treat design and construction together. Use 729 for works on decoration only when the subject is being treated as an aspect of architectural decoration rather than as an art object in itself, e.g., the use of murals as architectural decoration 729.4 , but comprehensive works on murals 751.73 .
             Interior decoration

Design and decorative treatment of interior furnishings

Class here interior decoration of residential buildings

Class interior architecture (interior design) in 729 ;

Class textile arts and handicrafts in 746 ;

Class interior decoration of specific types of residential buildings in 747.88 .

For furniture and accessories , see 749 .

Yes, I understand that 729 is for interior design of structures, i.e., where the walls go. 747 is for decoration, like what colors to paint those walls. There are no inherent problems with LCH or DDC for the variety of topics in interior design. Our patrons are saying “tomato,” and libraries are saying “tomahto.” Patrons are saying “interior design” and libraries are saying “interior decoration” and “interior architecture.” It doesn’t seem like such a difficult situation, but imagine you’re a student searching the catalog for books on interior design and getting no results. I suppose we could spend a lot of time teaching them how these intricate, subtle differences work, but why? It’s not how the subject is referred to in their classes, and it’s not how the topics are handled in the interior design industry, out there in the working world. Why spend time teaching them something that’s not going to benefit any other aspect of their studies or future career?  I’m sure LCSH and Dewey are speaking the language of some users somewhere, but they’re certainly not speaking the language of ours.

{March 14, 2009}   more colorful cheer


colorbooks2Another one of my co-workers spotted this in the January issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. Note that the owner-and-color-classifier of these books is an interior designer. One of our majors is interior design. Coincidence? I think not.

et cetera