National Library of Australia

Editorial Policy Committee Meeting June 2010

The Ediitorial Policy Committee held Meeting 133 in Dublin, Ohio at OCLC, 16-18 June 2010

Meeting 133 of the Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee (EPC) was held from the 16-18 of June at OCLC headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. While this was the last face-to-face meeting of EPC during 2010 the EPC scheduled two electronic meetings, 133A and 133B, to be held during the period July-August 2010 to finalise some matters raised during the meeting. These electronic meetings in fact were enlarged in number to 6, although Meeting 133F was cancelled as superfluous because the EPC had previously approved the final versions of the Introduction, Glossary, and Index to the Introduction and Glossary. EPC had also approved the near final version of Table 8 (List of changes) to date, and the editors had not identified significant changes to Table 8 to warrant another review. EPC members and observers had also approved the list of reviewers to be mentioned in the preface and acknowledgements.

The rest of the front matter, which was still under preparation, has not been submitted for EPC vote in previous editions. Caroline Kent, Chair of the committee has circulated the foreword to EPC members for review before submission for publication. Meeting 134, the next face-to-face meeting of the committee, will be held at OCLC in mid-June 2011. This next meeting will be focussing on planning for edition 24.

Meeting 133, being the last face-to-face meeting before submission of the print version of edition 23 to the printers, had an even more tightly packed agenda than usual. Although it is impossible to predict with certainty when an issue requiring the attention of the editors and/or the committee will arise within the timeframe of the work plan for an edition, for the most part the over 28 Exhibits considered by EPC for discussion and approval were revised versions of Exhibits previously discussed by the committee and brought back with suggested changes or refinements in response to suggestions by committee members, reviewers, users, or the editors, so in some respects much of the work had previously been considered by the committee.

Table 1 (Standard Subdivisions):

EPC approved a proposal to revise the three internal add tables as a consequence of  the updated policy on standard subdivisions with extended or narrowed meanings, and displaced standard subdivisions. (This policy itself was thoroughly discussed at Meeting 132 and consequently approved at Meeting 132A). The committee also reviewed and approved changes arising from application of the above policy in Table 3 (Subdivisions for the Arts, for Individual Literatures, for Specific Literary Forms); 368 Insurance; and 380 Commerce, Communications, Transportation.

EPC discussed updates to the add tables in 398 Folklore and 900 History, geography, and related disciplines but delayed action on them until Meeting 133A. Deferring action to Meeting 133A for this and other matters within the classification was planned prior to the meeting. For a number of logistical reasons it had not been possible to distribute some Exhibits prior to Meeting 133 with sufficient time for considered analysis and reflection by EPC and its various constituencies.

Table 2 (Geographic Areas, Historical Periods, Persons):

The committee approved the developments for T2--494 Switzerland and T2--485-488 Sweden, plus the name change of T2--54912 North-West Frontier Province to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. EPC also reviewed the proposed updates to Germany and neighbouring countries and to Turkey in the ancient and modern world, but also delayed any final action until Electronic Meeting 133A.

Table 5 (Ethnic and National Groups) and Table 6 (Languages):

The committee approved updated provisions for Finnic and Saami peoples and languages. The interoperable expansion for Finnic peoples and languages prepared for inclusion in the Norwegian and Swedish translations set off a lively discussion about the role of the English-language print edition in setting the notational framework for the standard version of the DDC. This topic will be explored by EPC in considerable depth at Meeting 134 in June 2011.


The committee also approved selected updates in the following schedules: 004-006 Computer science, noting that this particular area of the schedules was an example of an area where rapid developments within the industry itself was likely to result in a need for continuing revision. (I myself believe that this is an excellent example of a place where input from the wider Dewey community is extremely useful for highlighting inadequacies within the classification) ; 281 Eastern churches (and changes related to Orthodox Christianity elsewhere in 200 Religion) ; 364.1 Criminal offenses (for terrorism) ; 640 Home and family management ; 796 Athletic and outdoor sports and games ; and 900 History, geography, and related disciplines. Within the last mentioned area, EPC approved changes to the history of the ancient world; the history of Sweden; and wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. EPC also discussed updates to the histories of Indonesia and Africa, and to countries whose historical periods are represented by decades; final action here was also deferred to Meeting 133A.

Many of the updates within the Schedule areas noted above have been extensively discussed at previous EPC meetings and distributed for consultation with experts within the particular areas of knowledge under consideration to ensure that the classification remains closely in tune with changing perspectives and developments within the disciplines, firmly based on the principles of literary warrant and meets the classification needs of Dewey users.

EPC also discussed the following schedules, but delayed action on them until Meeting 133A: 340 Law ; 370 Education ; 390 Customs, etiquette, folklore ; and 660 Chemical engineering and related technologies. Schedules such as Law and Education, have raised a number of complex issues over several meetings as we work through the complications of reconciling differences in practice and understanding across differing languages and cultural understandings. Our translation partners have frequently been the source of questions pertaining to these differences, which in some instances are difficult to reconcile and require considerable thought and consultation before any satisfactory answers are developed.

The full versions of Table 2 (Geographic Areas, Historical Periods, Persons), 800 Literature and 900 History, geography, and related disciplines were scheduled to be considered at Meeting 133A. It should be noted that a proposed change of number for Central Australia, as a solution to an historical difficulty was not approved by EPC, on the advice of the Australian representative that the proposal was unacceptable to the Australian Dewey user community. This problem will be reconsidered for an acceptable solution at a later date.

Discussion Papers:

The committee considered several discussion papers. In addition to those which dealt with issues related to the proposed developments in 340 Law and 370 Education, the committee also considered a proposed update to historical periods and Hadith in 297 Islam, Babism, Bahai Faith. While there are plans to introduce a full expansion of Islam in the 200 Religion class later next year after the publication of DDC 23 in print we were of the opinion that because the proposed revision for Hadith uses the revised historical periods and includes a relocation of Hadith from 297.124 to 297.125 with a significant revision and expansion under the latter number, it would be advisable to speed review and approval of this portion of the 297 expansion for inclusion in the print version of DDC 23. Juli Beall posted a discussion paper at for review by interested parties.

Members of EPC, including me, offered to request input from any experts in this area of study we could find in order to get the widest possible cross-section of informed opinion possible about the proposed expansions. While experts in the field were identified, and requests were made for comment, on the whole the responses were disappointing. We did receive a very helpful response from the Indonesian translation team, but not much from anywhere else. On 7 August notice was posted on the Dewey blog extending the comment period. The most useful comments received came from the Indonesian and Arabic translation teams during the IFLA meeting. A revised schedule was later approved by EPC.

Other Matters:

Other matters considered by the committee included the placement of relocation and discontinuation notes at the end of class records in DDC 23, and proposed changes to the Introduction and Glossary in DDC 23. EPC was privileged to receive an impressive preview of the final screens for WebDewey 2.0, which was scheduled to be introduced in a few months. It was in fact released on 22 (23 in Australia) November, and has received a very favourable response from users. The Swedish mixed version will be the first translation to be released using the new interface (scheduled for mid-January 2011).

The committee also heard progress reports on Dewey research, Dewey linked data, and Dewey translations. Professor Marcia Lei Zeng (Kent State University & Chair, IFLA Working Group on FRSAD made a presentation to the committee on Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Data (FRSAD) followed by a panel discussion on implications of the model for classification systems. EPC member Jonathan Furner (UCLA) and Diane Vizine-Goetz (OCLC Research), both members of the IFLA WG, joined Marcia in the panel discussion.

An important milestone in the production processes of the classification was reached on 23 November: the first full PDF of the schedules, tables, Manual, and Relative Index from the new ESS (Editorial Support System) was created and the editors are busy reviewing the PDF right now. So far, there have been no major surprises - most of the edits are relatively minor. This is a significant achievement as the finished Dewey Decimal Classification is derived from the ESS. The new ESS, based on the MARC Classification Format, with some additional approved fields, has been developed in tandem with the new edition: a significant achievement.

It is notable also that although the economic recession has certainly had some negative effects on DDC sales in some places, print edition 22 has been scheduled for reprinting in response to high demand. Edition 23 is on schedule for production in mid-2011, but users have preferred to purchase additional copies of edition 22 rather than defer purchase until the new print edition is available.

The Foreword to edition 23 has been written and circulated to EPC members for comment. All other EPC input to the print edition has been successfully concluded with the final EPC 133 Meetings, although any changes to WebDewey, which is continually updated, will continue to circulate for approval by EPC.

Anne M Robertson
Deputy Chair and Australian Representative