Can anyone provide me with information on what systems of library classification are used in their countries, to be added to this article. I'm especially interested in countries that don't speak English. (I pretty well know the situation already for the US and Australia).

In the Netherlands, most public libraries use SISO, schema voor de indeling van de systematische catalogus in openbare bibliotheken (scheme for the classification of the systematic catalogue in public libraries). In http://vakwijzer.kennisnet.nl/pls/knetp/vak.vak_zoek_p.vakz0510_show a large number of web links are given in the SISO classification. Because this classification is too fine-grained for most users, PIM, presentatiesysteem informatieve media (presentation system [for] non-fiction media) is currently being introduced in some public libraries. I did not find an overview. BC, Nederlandse Basisclassificatie (Dutch basic classification) was originally introduced to classify internet resources, but is being introduced in some scientific libraries. See http://www.kb.nl/dutchess.ned/nbc_main.html
In the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, an adaptation of SISO was used. It seems that it is being replaced by ZIZO, zonder inspanning zoeken (search without effort), a simpler classification geared towards school libraries. -- dnjansen 01:04 Mar 2, 2003 (UTC)
I suspect that in most countries academic,university libraries would be more likely to use LC classification, while practically all school libraries would be using DDC. At least in the English speaking ones. Aarontay 10:50, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

203.109.250.xxx check your capitalization on the word 'classification'. UDC, DDC, but LCc.

We should distinguish: Classification is a system of organizing library materials into subjects. Shelf order is the order in which books are shelved in the library.

In a library with a closed stack, the user has to consult a catalogue to find library materials. (One of the catalogues typically is based on a classification.) Only library personnel has direct access to the books and retrieves them for the users. So, there is no need for a shelf order based on the classification. Therefore, in a closed stack, there are a few size categories, and within each category, books are ordered according to the date of purchase. This saves space in two ways: shelves can be made as low to accommodate just the books of the size category, and only at the end of a category, space is needed for extensions.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, libraries started to give direct access to a significant part of their collection. Only then it is sensible to shelf the books according to some classification.

Viewed in this light, one may hardly call the older shelf orders haphazardly. -- dnjansen 01:04 Mar 2, 2003 (UTC)

I disagree on the point of "organizing library materials into subjects." This is true of the Library of Congress Classification system, but more broadly, a classification scheme could be alphabetical or any other predetermined order. I have amended the page to reflect this (perhaps pedantic) point. jmhuculak (talk) 20:46, 28 August 2018 (UTC)


Some academic references would be great in this article. The preceding unsigned comment was added by Graypriest (talk • contribs) 17:55, 24 February 2006.

I'll try when I have a time. Aarontay 11:23, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Classification/shelf order

Classification is an attempt to organize information and create classmarks. Comprehensive, intelligent pre-coordinate indexing will create a classification order which can generally be replicated on the shelf. Very few libraries have closed shelves these days and organizing by size makes retrieval difficult unless strict notation is followed. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 4 March 2006.

From what I read there are two different and distinct uses of classification.
  • Provide access by subject
  • Provide a known location for an information resource (by shelves)

The later is known as the 'mark and park' view where subject access is secondary. For example some public libraries don't do (almost) any subject classification at all, they just toss everything into categories such as travel or crime.

The UDC system is great for providing subject access but kind of hard for shelf location. ;)

Aarontay 10:58, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Does there exist an "open" classification system?

Is there such a thing that is as detailed as the LoC or Colon Classification?

You should check out the developing Open Shelves Classification. See here: [1] --Munchkinguy (talk) 03:32, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

MESH is a classification system?

"Another example are the Medical Subject Headings devised by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM). "

I'm not quite comfortable calling subject headings schema as classification systems. Otherwise we would also include LCSH as a classification scheme which seem weird.

I would think that while they both provide subject access, subject headings and Thesauri don't quite count as classification?

If we want to link the idea of classification with subject headings and Thesauri, I would say that both are subject access tools. But there are two ways to achieve this via either classification (DDC,UDC, LCC, Colon) or alphabetical indexing language (subject heading,theasuri). The former groups similar subjects together and represents them with a notation (alphabetical,numeric, whatever). For the latter, a 'real' term itself is used. Classification schemes also play roles in shelf order (collation) that alphabetical indexing languages generally can't or don't do. One reason for this is that in classification systems you are typically forced to put a work in one place and one place only while for alphbetical indexing languages there is actually no reason why you can't add more than 1 descriptor depending on organizational policy.

Aarontay 11:17, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Using the terms properly, the NLM uses selected MESH subject headings for their books as subject descriptors. But that's not a classification. For a classification they use their expansion of LC: Outline. DGG (talk) 18:47, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Coming back to this (because I'm trying to work on this entry and the entry for Faceted classification, I, too, would like to separate classification from subject analysis. We do have Subject heading as a page, so I prefer to point to that and remove subject heading references from this and from the faceted class'n article. Pinging Aarontay and DGG in case you have comments about this. Thanks. LaMona (talk) 20:50, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
Looking at it again, I consider MESH to be a classification system as well as a define searching vocabulary, because they are hierarchical subject headings arranged according to a numerical scheme, that accordingly could be used for classifying the articles, and was in fact devised as such for machine searching for a group of articles. This is roughly similar in concept to UDC, also intended for classifying articles, as well as books, for the purpose of searching. The UDC, like MESH, was also used as subject headings for printed indexes--eg Library and Information Science Abstracts. If you assign numerical values to subject headings, you can use them to classify the physical objects. DGG ( talk ) 23:05, 21 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, MeSH is one of those "cross-over" cases, like the AAT thesaurus, which is both a hierarchical classification and a set of subject headings. I'm not sure how to deal with these. I suppose they could be covered in both articles, or there could be a mention in the classification article that some subject heading schemes (MeSH, AAT) have much in common with classification schemes. After all, the "SH" in MeSH stands for "subject headings" so there is a bit of a bias there. LaMona (talk) 15:22, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Starting some revision

I'm doing research for some revisions of this page. I do intend to distinguish between classification and shelf order, since there are also classified catalogs. I will add a section on notation. The definitions of "enumerative" "hierarchical" and "faceted" are both wrong and hierarchical is orthogonal to enumerative or faceted. I'll be citing Bliss, Ranganathan, Chan, and others. I welcome feedback, and very much welcome help in this. LaMona (talk) 18:45, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

Why no mention of Swedish library classification system

I noticed that neither this article nor the "Dewey Decimal Classification" article mentions Swedish library classification system even though it has an article in English Wikipedia? I wonder if it should not be included, specially since one of the biggest libraries in the world still uses that system in the old parts. (In the really old parts the system was quite mixed and not systematic, stage two Swedish library classification system, stage three on closed shelves acquisition order, stage four Dewey, some parts retroactive but the main library only new acquisitions.)Seniorsag (talk) 15:26, 17 August 2016 (UTC)

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