The Dewey Decimal people are trying to figure out how to classify graphic novels (ie. comic books). Discussion here. The kinds of questions they’re trying to answer are:

– should graphic novels go in the 700s (arts) or the 800s (literature)? (Answer: like comic books, 700s)

– Should they be lumped together with comic books? (Answer: yes – “separating graphic novels would be difficult for classifiers to do consistently”)

– How do you distinguish between comics, graphic novels, …? Answer: we can’t. (“We have tentatively decided to treat everything from single-frame caricatures to three-frame newspaper comic strips to comic books to graphic novels all in the same way. Although this is a broad range of material, we have found no good places to break the continuum so as to separate the material usefully into different categories.”)

– How do we subdivide? Answer: by country of writer/artist. This makes sense, because in the world of comics, styles kind of follow geographical boundaries (the Belgian/French school, the US school, the Japanese school). How long this will last I’m not sure about. Meanwhile, the Dewey editors are considering subarranging by country of original publication, rather than country of artist or writer. The rationale is that artists and writers of different nationalities may collaborate on the same work, and a single artist or writer may contribute to works originally published in different countries, but the artists and writers will aim for the style of the country in which the work is to be published. Mmm…

Meanwhile, on the international front, Discussions are underway on a new Arabic translation of DDC 22. Right now, they are considering an additional optional arrangement in the famously biased 200 Religion schedule. This proposal will be discussed at the ALA Annual Conference in June 2005, and at the IFLA Conference in August 2005.

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