why you can’t be unbiased AND comprehensive in your taxonomies

JOHO, the Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization, begins to look at the biases implicit and explicit in the Dewey Decimal System. Incidentally David Weinberger was one of the DNC bloggers as well as the writer of this article. We kept saying we’d get together to talk taxonomy and haven’t yet.

Why is the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system so embarrassingly behind the times? After all, its owners are fully modern, reasonable people, many with advanced library degrees, who report to work in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. How can they let their classification scheme get it so wrong? After all, if the US Census can finally, in 2000, acknowledge that many people don’t fit into a single racial bucket, surely the academics and intellectuals managing the nation’s standard library classification system can end its 130 years of religious bias. [stuff]