Archive for the ‘Film Books’ Category

How the NSA Inspired Me to Organize My Film Book Library

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

This week I was listening to a story on public radio about the history of technology and how this all lead to the ability of the NSA to do what it does now, scan our emails and phone calls.

Some interesting early technologies that lead up to this were: the telegraph (1874), by Thomas A. Edison and, of all things, the Dewey
decimal system.   Melvil Dewey developed this system, the first hexadecimal system, to code books for cataloging.  With this number you could almost know everything that was in the book.  This was in the mid 1870’s.  In 1889, the U.S. Census bureau adopted Herman Hollerith’s punch card system to tabulate the U.S. population within weeks.  Also, by the turn of the century, American cities were wired to an innovative telegraph system for police and fire alarms.  These key factors required a lot of human interaction to work but they laid the groundwork for the technology that exists today.

The one thing that stuck with me was how amazing it was that all that information on a book could be detailed within its call number.

Coincidently, I made a film book purchase this day.  The ad read something like, “10 feet of editing and film books for $40”.  There were 89 books in all.  This brought my personal collection to over 300 film books.  I was eager to let a couple of film friends I met for dinner know about all the books I now had.  Earlier in our conversation, I had also mentioned to them about my curiosity about the Dewey decimal system and how I was now going to study it more.  One of them said, “So are you going to organize your film library with the Dewey decimal system?” and that was it!  Of course I was!

I’m still learning about it but figured a good place to start would be to just look up the call numbers of the books I have and go from there.  I currently have been able to find about 150 books’ call numbers.  They fall mainly into two major divisions 778.5 and 791.  According to the Dewey Decimal Classification:  Class 700 is fine arts and recreation.  770 is photography and photographs.  778 is specific fields and special kinds of photography; cinematography and video production; related activities.  791 is public performances.

Further classification has 778.5 as cinematography, video production, related activities. 778.59 is video production.  791.4 is motion pictures, radio, television, although I seem to have books from 791, 791.01, 791.02, 791.03, 791.1, 791.37, 791.45, 791.76, 791.9 and 791.92.

While I realize my nerdiness is showing, I’m really quite enjoying this project.  I think it’ll help me to actually read more, a goal of mine.