After all of the hoopla about libraries converting to BISAC bookstore categories instead of using the Dewey Decimal System, a trip to Barnes and Noble one day last week made me wonder if it's really the categories that matter, or if it's all about the signage.
Here's some recent signage at Barnes and Noble:
Here's what the library signage in my local library looks like:
Which do you think is understood best by the people who step into those institutions?
I've referred to library cataloging as "the secret language of twins," understood by a small in-crowd and completely unknown to others. This library signage is even worse than that; it's as if the library decided to encrypt its subject access, and won't let the users have the key. There is no copy of DDC in the library for users to consult. (I know this because I looked for it.) You can get to a place on the shelf by doing a search in the catalog, but you can't find out what the numbers mean, and there is no natural language translation given in the library, other than "Fiction" and "Non-Fiction" over the doors to the main shelf areas.
How could this possibly be seen as functional?