tisiphone: (personal blogging)
So. Tell me about book sorting! My problem: around 800 books across a very, very wide range of subjects, with two subjects (anthropology and science fiction (top level genre)) dominating. How finely grained a sort do you find useful? Are thematic sorts useful? (For example, I have a collection of books to do with London, and another to do with Cambridgeshire.) I tried a simplified Dewey system but Dewey totally breaks down with fiction, and is past the point of usefulness for social sciences.

Date: 2013-07-08 02:30 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] cos
cos: (frff-profile)
For a long time at home I used to sort by association, meaning books I associated with each other went together. That could mean books from the same period of my life, as much as it could mean books on the same topic, or books in a similar style. Also by size/format.

Since my last move in 2006, I've kept a few shelves deliberately heterogeneous. These shelves generally represent most of my book collection, and also always have a few books from the "to read" pile.

Date: 2013-07-08 02:59 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] also-huey.livejournal.com
My first wife and I (both of us just a little OCD) used a simplified Dewey for non-fiction and by format and then alpha by author for fiction. I kept that when I moved out, until the Great Hardwood Floor Refinishing When Everything Moved.

Now, I use the "it's all in a big shitfuck" method, which offends me just barely not enough to do something about it until I finish painting the house and move all the bookshelves again.

Date: 2013-07-08 03:27 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] grail76.livejournal.com
For fiction, I just separated them by genre and then sorted by author.

Date: 2013-07-08 05:07 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] erik
erik: A headshot of me! (Photo)
Fiction is all fiction; trying to categorize it beyond that just makes me sad when I have to try to deal with the edge cases. It gets filed by author and title, with the author I am most likely to think of being preferred if there are multiple.

Non-fiction is broadly by subject then title. (Not author because I'm more likely to remember the title if I don't remember both author and title. That is, "That book with the bad teapot on the cover...The Design Of Everyday Things", not "That book about design by Donald Norman...") Choose subjects that make sense to you; you're not making a library for other people; if you can find what you're looking for, that's perfect. The system is by nature an extension of your idiolect.

Date: 2013-07-08 08:57 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] tisiphone.livejournal.com
Oh yes, I'm not looking for a prescription - just suggestions! Currently, it's not organized to my satisfaction at all, and I'm hoping to come up with a plan before shuffling them around.

Date: 2013-07-08 06:01 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] darquis.livejournal.com
there's over 1k books in my room alone. thesauri and dictionaries together on an easily accessible shelf. might-be-useful uni crap on another shelf. F/SF /mostly/ together, not arranged in any meaningful way beyond keeping series in one place.
the rest is mixed randomly, depending on where I had room to stick something after I was done reading. I more or less remember where to find specific books because the spines are all so different, I tend to remember glancing over them while trying to find something else. Paiv is trying to introduce some semblance of order into my library, but... meh!

Date: 2013-07-09 07:44 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] jabber.livejournal.com
So, this prompts me to ask, how many dictionaries and thesauri are too many? In general, how many reference books on any subject is too many to actually own - but language specifically? The range of words mostly overlaps and the definitions better be pretty darn consistent, right? There's value in getting a well-rounded, comprehensive definitions from more than one source, and full coverage of the breadth of the subject domain is essential, but at what point is there too much redundancy to warrant adding one more book?

As for heterogeneous shelves, do you see much value in adding dividers or spacers between groups? Labels maybe?

Date: 2013-07-09 08:13 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] darquis.livejournal.com
dunno about too many, my preference is for one bilingual, one monolingual and one pocket dictionary for each foreign language. it's somewhat obsolete in the google era and several of my en-pl dictionaries and reference books are older than I, but I'm too sentimental to toss 'em.

for me personally spacers would be pointless - I wouldn't stick to labels [barely care enough to put briefs and socks into their respective drawers], and other types of dividers would eat up valuable real estate. they might be handy for more organized people, though.

Date: 2013-07-08 08:41 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] the-xtina.livejournal.com
For fiction, we break it down first by type of fiction, then by format.

Types: SF/F, metafiction, romance, erotica, YA/children's, poetry, plays, tie-ins, mysteries
Formats: novels, collections, general anthologies, awards, yearlies ("Best of SF/F 2011")

There's probably more I'm missing.

For non-fiction, we haven't gotten there yet. It's mostly grouped by what it's for: language, crafting, mythology (general, religious, Arthurian), mathematics, that sort of thing. I'll probably use LCCNs, unless Rose stops me.

Date: 2013-07-08 08:43 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] the-xtina.livejournal.com
We're currently at ~3k books, and that's all of the SF/F fiction, metafiction, romance/erotica, and cookbooks. There's almost certainly another 1k or so hiding out in Rose's room...

Date: 2013-07-08 08:49 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] tisiphone.livejournal.com
Oh yes. I have no idea how many books we have. We haven't integrated our libraries at all yet, though we have unbent enough to buy one copy of books we both want to read.

Date: 2013-07-08 08:52 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] the-xtina.livejournal.com
I started using LibraryThing because I'm averse to clutter and Rose and Josh are total packrats, and I will be damned if I will have a hand in Rose bringing home duplicates.


Date: 2013-07-08 08:55 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] tisiphone.livejournal.com
I use librarything for that purpose too, and I still end up bringing home duplicates sometimes, At some point I'll either find my cuecat or buy another one and have a go at Nicolai's library. I honestly have no idea how many books he has, but I'm guessing 2-3 times as many as me, or more.

Date: 2013-07-08 10:20 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] tla
tla: (Default)
I sort fiction alpha by author, comic books separately, then I have some nonfiction categories e.g. languages (alpha by language), history (roughly chronological), cookbooks, running/cycling, computer books, economics books. As for the rest, I have never been sufficiently motivated to do that last organizational mile, but at least the chaos is constrained to a known shelf or two.

Date: 2013-07-09 05:45 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] zinnea.livejournal.com
Wow, I just realized I have like three dozen or less paper books, everything else is electronic.

I would start with a section of frequently used books, alpha by author.

Next I would sort into fiction and non-fiction and then group within. If there's cross-over, group them together in subgroups - for example, if you have both non-fiction books on, say, French history and novels based on French history, you'd have a large group of French History that would start with the non-fiction alpha by author and then the fiction, alpha by author or title (whichever works best for you). If you have a large enough group - say, 30 books about World War II, you could break them further into sub-groups: books about the Euro theater in one group, books about the Pacific theater in another.

Date: 2013-07-09 06:59 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] jabber.livejournal.com
I sort and categorize my books thematically, not by any formal system. Like, my Bible, Koran and Talmud are obviously together, but on the same shelf as my GEB, Origin of Species and Grey's Anatomy. Basically, seminal works of all schools of thought constitute the theme. Science on one end, philosophy on the other, arranged as more of a spectrum than anything else.

My scifi and fiction are in the same bunch, and science/reference books on their own shelves.

Date: 2013-07-10 02:55 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] polymexina.livejournal.com
I have six primary categories --

General Fiction
Anthologies (inc. both fiction and none, since I typically use anthos to pull articles from when teaching, so want them in the same place)
"Beautiful Writing" -- includes both poetry and lyrical prose, and sometimes big photo journalist books with good writing

Then in ewach category they're alphabetical by author. once I do the primary sorting, if I keep looking for something in one category, but it's in another, I just move it.

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