Over the past year, ACCI has been working to adapt the Brian
Deer Classification System for use in our library. Most libraries in the western world use
traditional classification systems like Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress
(LOC), but we did not feel that this met our library’s needs. Brian Deer is considered a non-traditional
classification system, which is in many ways like Dewey or LOC. It uses subjects to divide the books by
topics, and uses numbers and letters to create call numbers (the numbers that
help you identify each book).
What is special about Brian Deer is the language that it
uses to organise (or classify) the books.
The language is modern, traditional and more respectful to Indigenous
people than the other classification systems.
Dewey and LOC both place ALL Aboriginal/Inuit/Métis topics under
“History – Indians” even if the book was, for example, about the Idle No More movement, something that is
a current and relevant part of social and political thinking.
By using Brian Deer we are making a conscious choice to use a
non-traditional classification system.
ACCI’s library is a subject based library, focused on the Cree of Eeyou
Istchee, other Canadian Aboriginal/Inuit/Metis, and Indigenous groups from
around the world. We are using a system
that we can adapt to fit our library needs rather than forcing our collection
to fit into a structure that was not created for our kind of library. We are choosing to use traditional names of
groups and places for Indigenous people in Canada.
Over the next few weeks while we are starting to implement
Brian Deer, we will be writing small posts to show our progress and discuss
problems and difficulties that come up as we work.
We hope that this will help encourage other indigenous libraries and
cultural centres and show that this is a project that can be accomplished by their
Written by Raegan Swanson