Organized, internationally

Lorcan 1 min read

There was some discussion a while ago in various places about the relative merits of bookstore and public library shelf organization.
I was thinking of this as I was looking at music in Borders earlier today. Borders used to have Irish music in a section called World. Now they have a new section called International. And in International there is both Celtic and Irish/Scottish. On my brief perusal I could not immediately see which was used for which materials as it seemed to me that stuff under either heading could be put in the other. Now, maybe this move is informed by experience, as in the earlier organization Irish and Scottish stuff was occasionally mixed up. It could be that this new categorization aims to remove that opportunity for confusion 😉
However, I was interested to find in the Irish/Scottish material the wonderful, but, er, English, Kate Rusby. It seems that she is being assimilated to transatlantic folkiness. (Of course, if she were, say, a ‘rock’ artist, she would be in the general rock section, not in the ‘international’ section.) I was curious to see how Kate Rusby was tagged in (the US version of) Amazon.
(There are no tags in the UK Amazon. I wonder whether or not this flows from a judgment that tagging is culturally or geographically specific. There may be a more prosaic reason of course.)
Incidentally, when I first arrived at OCLC I tried – forlornly – to resist the use of international where what was really meant was non-US. Members’ Council is indeed an international body – it has participation from different countries. However, a delegate from The Netherlands or South Africa is not ‘international’. Similarly, Kate Rusby or Dolores Keane are no more or less international than Iris Dement. I notice that the use of international in this sense is becoming more widely used. Perhaps it stems from a desire to avoid using the rather stark foreign in these cases?

More from
Smile: let's see your teeth

Smile: let's see your teeth

I was excited to discover the graphic novel Smile by Raina Telgemeier. The subject matter has strong personal resonances for me.
Lorcan 3 min read

Lorcan Dempsey dot net

Deep dives and quick takes: libraries, society, culture and technology

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.