Friday, 31 December 2010

2010 review

It's been a rather quiet year for shelfobsessed, at least on the blog - elsewhere we've seen cross-country moves and several national and international trips, which have used up quite a bit of time! One result of the cross-country move has been the combining of two collections housed on different coasts, and while we're far from current with our DVD and book cataloguing our CDs are nearly up-to-date. After a few days of categorisation, the CDs all have Dewey Decimal call numbers, and while they might not be labelled or physically sorted yet, it's good to have the preparation done.

Over the course of coming up with new call numbers for the CDs, we've been able to go over our 2010 acquisitions, the distribution of which can be seen below. Of the 63 new titles, 17 were from 2010 itself, while 2009 was also well-represented as we caught up with some releases we'd missed last year. Some of the more memorable call numbers are featured in this retrospective visualisation:

shelfobsessed in 2010

One particularly pleasing aspect of the Dewey decimalisation process, as referred to in previous posts, has been the thematic clustering of albums that under alphabetical or chronological ordering would not be anywhere near each other. Thanks to new acquisitions this year, a few sequences of three albums have been completed that are especially impressive (well, to me at least):

133.334 - Occultism - symbolic divination - omens

The Warning (2006) - Hot Chip
The Reminder (2007) - Feist
This is Happening (2010) - LCD Soundsystem

701.85 - haven't put in the subject headings in the listing yet, but it's basically colours within art

Kind of Blue (1957) - Miles Davis
Almost Blue (1981) - Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Blue is the Colour (1996) - the Beautiful South

In 2011 we're aiming to get further into cataloguing the DVDs and books, and physically ordering all the collection. This will require more storage space in some cases than we currently have (cue Ikea trip), but will be accompanied by some pruning of the collections. While there was still a large number of new acquisitions in 2010, the final total was a lot smaller than in 2009 or 2008, and with similar levels of restraint we will hopefully be more in control of our library than at the mercy of whichever shelves have a bit of room left...

Monday, 5 April 2010

variations on a theme

More archival numbers - I've just finished reorganising all the currently-labelled CDs, which just about fit into the Ikea drawers housing the initial collection (well, not including periodicals - we're gonna need a bigger storage solution very soon). One of the most pleasing aspects of this whole ridiculous activity is putting items labelled at very different times/years apart in order, and finding that there is thematic consistency. For example:

384.5ish - radio:

The Golden Age of Wireless (Thomas Dolby)

PL 384.509044 1982

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Wilco)

HL 384.53 2002

Mellow Gold (Beck)

OL 384.54530565 1994

London Calling (the Clash)

HL 384.649421 1979

[Most of these were labelled before we wrote down all the headings, but 'Mellow Gold' is under Communications - Radio - Stations - for old people]

629.45ish - space travel (engineering):

Liam Finn in Spaceland (Liam Finn)

OL 629.4507 2008
in Engineering - Astronautics - Piloted space flight - Selection and training of astronauts

Apollo 18 (They Might Be Giants)

PL 529.454 1992
in Engineering and allied operations - Astronautics - Space flight - Apollo project

Around the World (Senor Coconut)

OL 629.4544 2008
in Space flights - orbiting flights

Dark Days/Light Years (Super Furry Animals)

OL 629.455 2009
in Engineering - Astronautics - Piloted space flight - Planetary flights

*      *     *     *

And here are some other individual call numbers from recent-ish acquisitions:

These Foolish Things (Bryan Ferry)

HL 598.65 1973 - Dodos
Zoological sciences - Birds - Dodos

Alive 1997/2007 (Daft Punk)

OL 304.602106298920944 1997/2007 - French robot census
Social sciences - populations - stats - census - robots - France

Demons at the Helm (the Whomping Willows)

PL 133.42603875 2009 - Ghost ships (kind of)
Paranormal phenomena - demonology - Demoniac possession - of sailors

Eat My Shadow (Angie Hart)

OL Q 394.90363252 2009
Customs - Cannibalism - Secret agents

Black Market Music (Placebo)

OL 285.9032242 2000
Religion - Puritanism - Resistance and subversive movements

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Old ideas, new labels

Almost three years ago today, we first had this ridiculous idea to dewey decimalise our cds. In those three years, we've catalogued about 820 items. And although our fervor has abated somewhat (real life taking up far too much time and effort), we're still totally into it.

We've been slack about labelling the actual items lately, so we're going through a bunch of "recent" acquisitions. Some of our favourites:

Satanic Panic in the Attic (of Montreal)

PL 236.9 2004 - the fall of heaven
Christian theology -- Eschatology -- Last Judgement and related events -- Fall of Heaven

The King of America (Elvis Costello)

HL Q338.470053092 1986 - Bill Gates
(we couldn't be bothered writing out our subject headings for this one, but working backwards we think it's 330s Economics, 005.3 something involving computers, 092 Biography)

Human After All (Daft Punk)

HL 573.3 2005
Physical Anthropology -- Pre-historic humankind -- Piltdown Man hoax

I Told You I Was Freaky (Flight of the Conchords)

OL 347.052 2009 - legal defense
Law -- Legal proceedings and courts -- Defendants

Voldemort Can't Stop The Rock (Harry & the Potters)

PL 551.307 2004 - landslides and rockfalls
(again, couldn't be bothered writing out the subject headings, but it's something like 550s Earth Sciences)

LCD Soundsystem (LCD Soundsystem)

OL Q784.4 2005 - because LCDs, y'know
Music -- Orchestras -- Light orchestras

Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do (Sigur Ros)

HL 401.93 2004 - babbling
Language -- Psycholinguistics -- Language acquisition

Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (Arctic Monkeys)

PL 133.43 2006 - witch hunts
Paranormal phenomena -- Demonology and witchcraft -- Magic and witchcraft -- Witch hunting

Give Blood (Brakes)

PL 133.4230361763 2005 - charities for vampires
Paranormal phenomena -- Demonology and witchcraft -- evil spirits -- vampires -- non-profit organisations and charities

Thursday, 23 July 2009

it's a bit like this

The always great Cat and Girl may be on to something. (Or have given me new ideas...)


Sunday, 24 May 2009

Foobar2000 and Dewey Decimal numbers

I've been looking for a way of adding Dewey Decimal numbers to electronic media pretty much since we started seriously fupping about with this whole Dewey business. I think I may have gotten it sussed now.

I was using Amarok 1 on Ubuntu 8.10, but recently I've been using a portable version of foobar2000 through Wine. Foobar2000 is a cross-platform music player with a very functional feel, and it runs right off a portable harddrive or thumbdrive. This is great because now wherever my digital music collection is, I've got a customised lightweight music player to play it. It hasn't got all the good looks and fancypants junk that Amarok has (I'm particularly missing the cover art browser in Amarok), but it's way faster, it's heaps easier to manage a music library with, and it makes you feel way 1337 using such a stripped down player.

The main attraction of foobar2000 for me at the moment is the customisable metadata fields and search filters. After a little while fiddling with bits and pieces, I've managed to set up a way of tagging each file with library data, and then filter the Album List view based on that data. Pretty snazzy.

So, each file can now have a call number, and anything else I want to put in there. This is what it looks like for me right now:


To get these fields to show up when you go to Properties, you've got to set it up in the advanced display settings. Go to Library > Configure, then select Advanced. Expand the Display bit, then expand Properties dialog. Here, where it says Standard fields, you can fiddle about to set which fields will show up when you go into the Properties of a file. I've got mine set up like this (all on one line):

Artist Name=ARTIST;Track Title=TITLE;Album Title=ALBUM;Date=DATE;Genre=GENRE;Composer=COMPOSER;Performer=PERFORMER;Album Artist=ALBUM ARTIST;Track Number=TRACKNUMBER;Total Tracks=TOTALTRACKS;Disc Number=DISCNUMBER;Total Discs=TOTALDISCS;Comment=COMMENT;Library=LIBRARY;Type=TYPE;Call Number=CALL NO;Periodical Number=PNO;Class=CLASS;Division=DIVISION;Tags=TAGS

Adding a field name (the one in capitals) here will add it as an editable field for all files.

When I set up the search filter thingies, I went into the Media Library > Album List part of the Preferences, and fiddled about with adding fields and | separators until I got what I wanted (the fields I created before translate to %call no% etc, not case sensitive, but space sensitive). But then I changed what fields I was capturing (should P for periodicals go in the call number? Should the P numbers have their own field, o rjust get jammed on the end of the call number?), so now I've got to go through and fix up my filters. I'm going to try out some fancy if-then-something-happens magic, see if I can get periodicals working differently from main library items. But that's for another time!

Bonus foobar2000 tip: You can get foobar2000 to move and rename files and folders, which is way handy if you're anything like me and can't be bothered manually keeping folder hierarchies going. The functionality is hidden pretty well, and it looks pretty intimidating, but once you've set it up right, it's a right click and go sort of deal. Right click on what you want to move, go to File Operations > Move to > ... and then get the destination folder and the file name pattern going. Remember to save it, or else you gotta set it up each time you want to do it. This library management thing was one of the things holding me to Amarok, but now I'm foobar2000 all the way. For now, at least.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

The start of something huge.

Tonight I started on the massive task of putting dewey labels on our book collection. The evening started out innocently enough; I got the non-adhesive clear contact that I'd bought a while back and started covering some of the more precious books. But after half a dozen or so, I decided to see what they'd look like with the dewey numbers we'd toyed with assigning.

Well, shucks, if that ain't a pretty sight:

dewey labels 2

Now, only fifty billion books to go. And of course, turns out most of the books that I obsessively covered are in the still-to-deweyise pile. But the linguistics section of the library totally looks like a library now. A really old library full of dictionaries and ridiculous phrasebooks.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

No quarto

In the early days of Dewey decimalising our CDs, we briefly wondered how to treat compilations within our music collections (of the various artist, soundtrack, and artist 'best of' types) - there was some consensus in keeping them separate from the studio albums (and live albums, and singles, and EPs...), but still giving them call numbers. We decided to treat compilations as periodicals, so designated with a P before the call number; for example, the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack has the call number of P 796.14 P1 [Recreation -- Outdoor games -- Hide and seek].

However, around the time we got to classifying the Traveling Wilburys Collection, we realised we needed an additional designation - for box sets and reissues and the like, where the content is not necessarily a compilation - in the Traveling Wilburys' case, the collection is the two studio albums (with one or two bonus tracks) and a DVD - so would not be a periodical, but is not a simple album... Given the size of the Traveling Wilburys' packaging, the decision to give the collection a quarto call number - Q 920.301443 2007 - was a relatively easy one, and we continued on with the Dewey decimalising, mostly forgetting about the quartos.

Eventually, though, the growth in the number of 'Deluxe Edition' double-disc reissues in the collection meant that the quarto-periodical issue had to be revisited. And then came the DVDs... With several television shows being represented with multiple-disc-sets for each season (e.g. seven seasons of The West Wing and Buffy, each season a collection of six discs rather one big box encompassing the entire run), and others by select episodes or highlights (such as The Late Show) but still sometimes with multiple discs, the distinction between quarto and periodical becomes fuzzier...

So, here is the beginning of a list that will hopefully be our guide for the quarto-periodical distinction. Details may need to be worked out further, so for the moment this is a first draft:


  • Standard album: Standard call number
  • Standard album - with bonus material (e.g. special edition of new release with bonus disc of b-sides/live material) - Quarto
  • Album remaster/reissue - Standard call number if no bonus tracks, Quarto if bonus tracks or bonus disc of rarities, videos, etc.
  • Reissue - two albums/releases on one disc (e.g. Surfer Rosa & Come On Pilgrim) - Quarto
  • Compilation (any number of discs/artists) - Periodical

DVDs [to be completed]

  • Standard film/concert film (incl. bonus features on same disc)
  • Television series - single disc, entire season
  • Television series - single disc, highlights
  • Television series - multiple discs, entire season
  • Box set of films (e.g. Jurassic Park collection)
  • Two or more films/releases on one disc