Dissertation Information for Kathy Wisser
MPACT Status: Incomplete - Not_Inspected
Title: The Organization of Knowledge and Bibliographic Classification in Nineteenth-Century America
Abstract: Bibliographic classification is culturally bound. This research examines the classification systems created in the first half of the nineteenth century in the United States for social libraries. Social libraries are defined as institutions that have voluntary membership and are dependent on membership fees. 17 classified catalogs were examined and their classification systems compared. Research explored the underlying warrant of these classification systems and compared the systems to Francis Baconís organization of knowledge as published in The Advancement of Learning to identify its potential influence over the classification structures. Contextual influences of individual libraries and larger sociocultural influences on religion, fiction, and science were also considered. Of the 17 classification systems in the sample, 13 were comparable to Baconís organization of knowledge, although the order of classes was not adhered to. Religion demonstrated a shift away from primacy, while fiction solidified its place in the libraries. Finally, changes in science classes demonstrate the immediacy of the environment on the development of systems. Further research is suggested on the utility of warrant as a component of discourse as well as its possible limitations.
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