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A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resources are arranged and ordered systematically. Library classifications a notational system that represents the order of topics in the classification and allows items to be stored in that order. Library classification systems group related materials together, typically arranged as a hierarchical tree structure. A different kind of classification system, called a
faceted classificationA faceted classification is a classification scheme In information science and ontology (information science), ontology, a classification scheme is the product of arranging things into kinds of things (classes) or into ''groups'' of classes; this be ...
system, is also widely used, which allows the assignment of multiple classifications to an object, enabling the classifications to be ordered in many ways.


Description

Library classification is an aspect of
library and information science Library and information science (LIS) (sometimes given as the plural library and information sciences) is a branch of academic disciplines that deal generally with organization, access, and collection of information, whether in physical (for example ...
. It is distinct from
scientific classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mecha ...
in that it has as its goal to provide a useful ordering of documents rather than a theoretical organization of
knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to e ...
. Although it has the practical purpose of creating a physical ordering of documents, it does generally attempt to adhere to accepted scientific knowledge. Library Classification helps to accommodate all the newly published literature in an already created order of arrangement in a filiatory sequence. Library classification can be defined as the arrangement of books on shelves, or description of them, in the manner which is most useful to those who read with the ultimate aim of grouping similar things together. Library classification is meant to achieve these four purposes like ordering the fields of knowledge in a systematic way, bring related items together in the most helpful sequence, provide orderly access on the shelve, and provide a location for an item on the shelf. Library classification is distinct from the application of subject headings in that classification organizes knowledge into a systematic order, while subject headings provide access to intellectual materials through vocabulary terms that may or may not be organized as a knowledge system. The characteristics that a bibliographic classification demands for the sake of reaching these purposes are: a useful sequence of subjects at all levels, a concise memorable notation, and a host of techniques and devices of number synthesis


History

Library classifications were preceded by classifications used by bibliographers such as
Conrad Gessner Conrad Gessner (; la, Conradus Gesnerus 26 March 1516 – 13 December 1565) was a Swiss Swiss may refer to: * the adjectival form of Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , g ...

Conrad Gessner
. The earliest library classification schemes organized books in broad subject categories. The earliest known library classification scheme is the
Pinakes Imaginary depiction of the Library of Alexandria The ''Pinakes'' ( grc, Πίνακες "tables", plural of ) is a lost bibliography, bibliographic work composed by Callimachus (310/305–240 BCE) that is popularly considered to be the first libr ...
by
Callimachus Callimachus (; grc-gre, Καλλίμαχος, ''Kallimakhos''; 310/305– 240 BC) was a native of the Greek colony of Cyrene, Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībīyā), officially the State of Libya, ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Līb ...
, a scholar at the
Library of Alexandria The Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. The Library was part of a larger research institution called the Musaeum, Mouseion, which was dedicated to the ...

Library of Alexandria
during the third century BC. During the Renaissance and Reformation era, "Libraries were organized according to the whims or knowledge of individuals in charge." This changed the format in which various materials were classified. Some collections were classified by language and others by how they were printed. After the
printing revolution Printing is a process for mass reproducing text and Printmaking, images using a master form or template. The earliest non-paper products involving printing include cylinder seals and objects such as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Cylinders of Nabon ...
in the sixteenth century, the increase in available printed materials made such broad classification unworkable, and more granular classifications for library materials had to be developed in the nineteenth century. In 1627 Gabriel Naudé published a book called ''Advice on Establishing a Library''. At the time, he was working in the private library of President Henri de Mesmes II. Mesmes had around 8,000 printed books and many more Greek, Latin and French written manuscripts. Although it was a private library, scholars with references could access it. The purpose of ''Advice on Establishing a Library'' was to identify rules for private book collectors to organize their collections in a more orderly way to increase the collection's usefulness and beauty. Naudé developed a classification system based on seven different classes: theology, medicine, jurisprudence, history, philosophy, mathematics and the humanities. These seven classes would later be increased to twelve. ''Advice on Establishing a Library'' was about a private library, but within the same book, Naudé encouraged the idea of public libraries open to all people regardless of their ability to pay for access to the collection. One of the most famous libraries that Naudé helped improve was the
Bibliothèque Mazarine
Bibliothèque Mazarine
in Paris. Naudé spent ten years there as a librarian. Because of Naudé's strong belief in free access to libraries to all people, the Bibliothèque Mazarine became the first public library in France around 1644. Although libraries created order within their collections from as early as the fifth century BC, the Paris Bookseller's classification, developed in 1842 by
Jacques Charles Brunet A plaque on Rue Git-le-Coeur in the 6th arrondissement of Paris (next to Place St. Michel) marks the spot where Brunet composed his famous work. Jacques Charles Brunet (2 November 1780 – 14 November 1867) was a France, French bibliographer. Biog ...
, is generally seen as the first of the modern book classifications. Brunet provided five major classes: theology, jurisprudence, sciences and arts, belles-lettres, and history. Classification can now be seen as a provider of subject access to information in a networked environment.


Types

There are many standard systems of library classification in use, and many more have been proposed over the years. However, in general, classification systems can be divided into three types depending on how they are used: ; Universal schemes: Covers all subjects, e.g. the
Dewey Decimal Classification The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), colloquially the Dewey Decimal System, is a proprietary library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge ...
(DDC),
Universal Decimal Classification The Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) is a bibliographic and library classification representing the systematic arrangement of all branches of human knowledge organized as a coherent system in which knowledge fields are related and inter-link ...
(UDC),
Library of Congress Classification The Library of Congress Classification (LCC) is a system of library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resource ...
(LCC), and
Colon Classification Colon classification (CC) is a system of library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resources are arranged and ...
(CC). ; Specific classification schemes: Covers particular subjects or types of materials, e.g.
Iconclass Iconclass is a specialized library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resources are arranged and ordered systema ...
(art),
British Catalogue of Music ClassificationThe British Catalogue of Music Classification (BCM Classification) is a faceted classificationA faceted classification is a classification scheme used in organizing knowledge into a systematic order. A faceted classification uses semantic categories, ...
, and
Dickinson classification The Dickinson classification is a library classification scheme used to catalogue and classify musical compositions. It was developed by George Sherman Dickinson (1886–1964), and is used by many music libraries, primarily those at University at Bu ...
(music), or the NLM Classification (medicine). ; National schemes: Specially created for certain countries, e.g. the Swedish library classification system, SAB (Sveriges Allmänna Biblioteksförening). In terms of functionality, classification systems are often described as: ; Enumerative: Subject headings are listed alphabetically, with numbers assigned to each heading in alphabetical order. ;
Hierarchical A hierarchy (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) that are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarchy i ...

Hierarchical
: Subjects are divided hierarchically, from most general to most specific. ; Faceted/analytico-synthetic: Subjects are divided into mutually exclusive orthogonal facets. There are few completely enumerative systems or faceted systems; most systems are a blend but favouring one type or the other. The most common classification systems, LCC and DDC, are essentially enumerative, though with some hierarchical and faceted elements (more so for DDC), especially at the broadest and most general level. The first true faceted system was the
colon classification Colon classification (CC) is a system of library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resources are arranged and ...
of .


Methods or systems

Classification types denote the classification or categorization according to the form or characteristics or qualities of a classification scheme or schemes. Method and system has similar meaning. Method or methods or system means the classification schemes like Dewey Decimal Classification or Universal Decimal Classification. The types of classification is for identifying and understanding or education or research purposes while classification method means those classification schemes like DDC, UDC.


English language universal classification systems

The most common systems in
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
-speaking countries are: *
Dewey Decimal Classification The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), colloquially the Dewey Decimal System, is a proprietary library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge ...
(DDC) *
Library of Congress Classification The Library of Congress Classification (LCC) is a system of library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resource ...
(LCC) *
Colon classification Colon classification (CC) is a system of library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resources are arranged and ...
(CC) *
Universal Decimal Classification The Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) is a bibliographic and library classification representing the systematic arrangement of all branches of human knowledge organized as a coherent system in which knowledge fields are related and inter-link ...
(UDC) Other systems include: *
Moys Classification Scheme The Moys Classification Scheme is a system of library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resources are arranged a ...
, used in
law libraries Leo T. Kissam Memorial Library, the law library of the federal depository library A law library is a special library used by Legal education, law students, lawyers, judges and their law clerks, historians and other scholars of legal history i ...
in many common law jurisdictions such as
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
, and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
. * Harvard-Yenching Classification, an English classification system for Chinese language materials * Vartavan Library Classification *
London Education ClassificationThe London Education Classification is a library classification and indexing thesaurus used at the UCL Institute of Education The UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is the education school of University College London (UCL). It specialises in post ...
devised by D.J. Foskett and Joy Foskett and used at the
UCL Institute of Education The UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is the education school of University College London (UCL). It specialises in postgraduate study and research in the field of education and is one of UCL's University College London#Faculties and departments ...
* Garside classification used in most libraries of
University College London University College London, which Trade name, operates as UCL, is a major public university , public research university located in London, United Kingdom. UCL is a Member institutions of the University of London, member institution of the Federa ...
*
Bliss bibliographic classification BLISS is a system programming language A system programming language is a programming language A programming language is a formal language comprising a Instruction set architecture, set of instructions that produce various kinds of Input/outpu ...
used in some British libraries


Non-English universal classification systems

* German Regensburger Verbundklassifikation (RVK) *A system of book classification for Chinese libraries (Liu's Classification) library classification for user ** New Classification Scheme for Chinese Libraries * Nippon Decimal Classification (NDC) *
Chinese Library Classification The Chinese Library Classification (CLC; ), also known as Classification for Chinese Libraries (CCL), is effectively the national library classification scheme in China. It is used in almost all primary and secondary schools, universities, academic ...
(CLC) * Korean Decimal Classification (KDC) * Russian Library-Bibliographical Classification (BBK)


Universal classification systems that rely on synthesis (faceted systems)

*
Bliss bibliographic classification BLISS is a system programming language A system programming language is a programming language A programming language is a formal language comprising a Instruction set architecture, set of instructions that produce various kinds of Input/outpu ...
*
Colon classification Colon classification (CC) is a system of library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resources are arranged and ...
*
Cutter Expansive Classification The Cutter Expansive Classification system is a library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resources are arrange ...
*
Universal Decimal Classification The Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) is a bibliographic and library classification representing the systematic arrangement of all branches of human knowledge organized as a coherent system in which knowledge fields are related and inter-link ...
Newer classification systems tend to use the principle of synthesis (combining codes from different lists to represent the different attributes of a work) heavily, which is comparatively lacking in LC or DDC.


The practice of classifying

Library classification is associated with library (descriptive) cataloging under the rubric of ''cataloging and classification'', sometimes grouped together as ''technical services''. The library professional who engages in the process of cataloging and classifying library materials is called a ''cataloger'' or ''catalog librarian''. Library classification systems are one of the two tools used to facilitate
subject access Subject access refers to the methods and systems by which books, journals, and other document A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation of nonfiction, non-fic ...
. The other consists of alphabetical indexing languages such as Thesauri and Subject Headings systems. Library classification of a piece of work consists of two steps. Firstly, the subject or topic of the material is ascertained. Next, a call number (essentially a book's address) based on the classification system in use at the particular library will be assigned to the work using the notation of the system. It is important to note that unlike subject heading or thesauri where multiple terms can be assigned to the same work, in library classification systems, each work can only be placed in one class. This is due to shelving purposes: A book can have only one physical place. However, in classified catalogs one may have main entries as well as added entries. Most classification systems like the
Dewey Decimal Classification The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), colloquially the Dewey Decimal System, is a proprietary library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge ...
(DDC) and
Library of Congress Classification The Library of Congress Classification (LCC) is a system of library classification A library book shelf in Hong Kong arranged using the Dewey classification A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resource ...
also add a cutter number to each work which adds a code for the main entry (primary access point) of the work (e.g. author). Classification systems in libraries generally play two roles. Firstly, they facilitate
subject access Subject access refers to the methods and systems by which books, journals, and other document A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation of nonfiction, non-fic ...
by allowing the user to find out what works or documents the library has on a certain subject. Secondly, they provide a known location for the information source to be located (e.g. where it is shelved). Until the 19th century, most libraries had closed stacks, so the library classification only served to organize the subject catalog. In the 20th century, libraries opened their stacks to the public and started to shelve library material itself according to some library classification to simplify subject browsing. Some classification systems are more suitable for aiding subject access, rather than for shelf location. For example,
Universal Decimal Classification The Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) is a bibliographic and library classification representing the systematic arrangement of all branches of human knowledge organized as a coherent system in which knowledge fields are related and inter-link ...
, which uses a complicated notation of pluses and colons, is more difficult to use for the purpose of shelf arrangement but is more expressive compared to DDC in terms of showing relationships between subjects. Similarly
faceted classificationA faceted classification is a classification scheme In information science and ontology (information science), ontology, a classification scheme is the product of arranging things into kinds of things (classes) or into ''groups'' of classes; this be ...
schemes are more difficult to use for shelf arrangement, unless the user has knowledge of the citation order. Depending on the size of the library collection, some libraries might use classification systems solely for one purpose or the other. In extreme cases, a public library with a small collection might just use a classification system for location of resources but might not use a complicated subject classification system. Instead all resources might just be put into a couple of wide classes (travel, crime, magazines etc.). This is known as a "mark and park" classification method, more formally called reader interest classification.Lynch, Sarah N., and Eugene Mulero
"Dewey? At This Library With a Very Different Outlook, They Don't"
''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'', July 14, 2007.


Comparing Library classification systems

As a result of differences in notation, history, use of enumeration, hierarchy, and facets, classification systems can differ in the following ways: * Type of Notation: Notation can be pure (consisting of only numerals, for example) or mixed (consisting of letters and numerals, or letters, numerals, and other symbols). * Expressiveness: This is the degree to which the notation can express relationship between concepts or structure. * Whether they support mnemonics: For example, the number 44 in DDC notation often means it concerns some aspect of France. For example, in the Dewey classification 598.0944 concerns "Birds in France", the 09 signifies geographic division, and 44 represents France. * Hospitality: The degree to which the system is able to accommodate new subjects. * Brevity: The length of the notation to express the same concept. * Speed of updates and degree of support: The better classification systems are frequently being reviewed. * Consistency * Simplicity * Usability


See also

*
Attribute-value systemAn attribute-value system is a basic knowledge representation framework comprising a table with columns designating "attributes" (also known as "properties", "predicates", "features", "dimensions", "characteristics", " fields", "headers" or "indepen ...
*
Categorization Categorization is the human ability and activity of recognizing shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience Experience refers to conscious , an English Paracelsian physician Consciousness, at its simplest, is " se ...

Categorization
*
Classification (general theory) The term classification can apply to one or all of: * the process of classifying (distinguishing and distribution kinds of "things" into different groups) * a resulting set of classes (also called "a classification system") * the assignment of ele ...
*
Decimal classification Decimal classification is a type of library classification. Examples include: * Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) * Korean Decimal Classification (KDC) * Nippon Decimal Classification (NDC) See also

* Classification * Decimal * Decimal sectio ...
*
Document classification Document classification or document categorization is a problem in library science Library science (often termed library studies, bibliothecography, library economy, and informatics) is an or multidisciplinary field that applies the practices, pe ...
*
Information retrieval Information retrieval (IR) in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer h ...
*
Knowledge organization Knowledge organization (KO), organization of knowledge, organization of information, or information organization is an intellectual discipline concerned with activities such as document description, indexing, and classification that serve to p ...
*
Library management Library management is a sub-discipline of institutional management that focuses on specific issues faced by libraries and library management professionals. Library management encompasses normal managerial tasks, as well as intellectual freedom Int ...
*
Library of Congress Subject HeadingsThe Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) comprise a thesaurus A thesaurus (plural ''thesauri'' or ''thesauruses'') or synonym dictionary is a reference work for finding synonyms and sometimes antonyms of words. They are often used by wr ...
* W. C. Berwick Sayers *
Subject indexing Subject indexing is the act of describing or classifying a document A document is a written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, m ...


Notes


References

* {{Authority control Knowledge representation