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Making Dewey Jewey: Gershom Scholem as a librarian

Freedman, V; (2018) Making Dewey Jewey: Gershom Scholem as a librarian. In: Zadoff, N and Zadoff, M, (eds.) "Scholar and kabbalist": the life and work of Gershom Scholem. Brill: Leiden, Netherlands. (In press).

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'The profession of librarian surely suits me best’ wrote the youthful Scholem in his diary in 1918 (though he apparently changed his mind a few days later). After emigrating to Palestine in 1923 Scholem was indeed appointed as a librarian at the Jewish National and University Library in Jerusalem, before embarking on a full-time academic career in 1927. This brief episode was nonetheless highly influential in the field of Judaica librarianship, through Scholem’s adaptation of the Dewey Decimal Classification for the library’s Judaica Department, published in 1927 and still in use (with subsequent modifications) in libraries to this day. This paper outlines the characteristics of Scholem’s scheme and how it expanded on and modified the Dewey Classification, which at that time was wholly inadequate for a Judaica collection. It argues that any library classification scheme reflects the approach of its creators and of the organisational context in which it was created; it describes the institutional and historical context in which Scholem was working; and it analyses how the scheme was shaped both by this context and by Scholem’s family background and early life, his Zionist outlook, his distinctive approach to Jewish Studies, and his academic interests.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Making Dewey Jewey: Gershom Scholem as a librarian
Language: English
Additional information: Date of publication is provisional.
Keywords: Jewish libraries, Library classification, Scholem, Gershom Gerhard, 1897-1982, Dewey Decimal Classification.
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474915
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