Librarian help needed

December 12, 2006

So here at the Henry George School, we have piles of books in no particular order. Let’s record them in a spreadsheet, attach call numbers from the Library of Congress, and shelve them in sequence. They’ll be arranged more or less by subject, we’ll know what we have and where it is.

Ah, that assumes that every book is in the Library of Congress or, at least, has a unique Library of Congress call number. Not so! For instance,

Harry Gunnison Brown’s Fiscal Policy, Taxation, and Free Enterprise. We have the [undated] Robert Schalkenbach Foundation edition. The Library of Congress has no book by this title. But there are copies of the 1946 Lucas Brothers edition at five libraries:

Iowa State University uses the call number HJ2305 B813f

University of Kansas uses HC106 .B76, as does Northern Michigan University

At U of Missouri Columbia it’s HJ257.2 .B7 1946

and Reed College say’s it’s HB236.U5 .B8

OK, so maybe Library Science is no more of a science than, say, Economics, but can’t you guys agree on a call number for a published book. What should us amateurs do? Do we have to look at every Worldcat library and count the votes? What if it’s a tie?


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