Organized, internationally

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?

4 thoughts on “Organized, internationally”

  1. Adding to confusion – “world” in Borders and similar often means African and Asian (usually not Latin); “Celtic” picks up the Breton, Asturian, and Galician that are left out of France and Spain in the “Europe” section, but not Irish and Scottish; and Irish/Scottish not only attracts Kate Rusby but also a number of Canadians, not all of them from the Maritimes. In the case of Kate, perhaps someone was an admirer of her band members, including Scottish ex, John McCusker, or the amazing Mike McGoldrick (who could arguably be both Irish and English, being from Manchester). But wait – doesn’t that make the band “international”? And this is why I love faceted classification (and “Celtic” music).

  2. lorcan,

    how much meaning can we read into those shelves? my favourite bookstore juxtapositon came in a quite good, specialized cookbook store, where we came across
    Cooking with Children
    right beside
    Cooking with Herbs.

    i wondered if we should start looking for gingerbread recipies…


  3. Perhaps there’s just something intuitively Irish to American ears about Kate Rusby’s music. A musically knowledgeable colleague (we’re both Americans) recently walked into my office and heard one of my beloved Kate CDs playing. Asking who it was, he was surprised (almost unbelieving) when I described her as an English folk singer, since he was sure he heard something Irish in the music.

    But Outlaw & Progressive Country?!

  4. I look at web sites like others might a public library shelf. I’ve always wondered why, when the windy OCLC forums were set up, they were divided into OCLC Community Discussions, and Western Community Discussion. So ‘Western’ doesn’t mean ‘Mid-Atlantic’ then? The division should be taken as US in one bucket and non US in another?
    “I notice that the use of international in this sense is becoming more widely used”. Funny, why is it, when one talks about organisation, does ‘international’ become ‘global’. As in
    “OCLC has created global engineering and global product management divisions, with eight engineering centers across Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States that will expand OCLC’s ability to innovate and create products and services libraries need at local, regional and global levels”.
    As àn aside, This gave me a bit of a chill. “To support our global direction, OCLC is moving toward a single product strategy and a single web presence that will consolidate all current OCLC web sites around the globe”.
    So are we trying to compile an international ‘library’ of recipes for tasty Children? Or simply provide a herbal pot to cook them in?

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