A library classification organizes and categorizes books, journals, and other library materials based on their subject matter, content, and other relevant characteristics. The purpose of library classification is to provide a systematic and efficient way of arranging library materials so that library users can easily find and retrieve them.
Library classification systems typically consist of a set of categories, or classes, into which library materials are organized. These categories are often based on a hierarchical structure, where broader categories are subdivided into more specific subcategories.
The most widely used library classification system is the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system, which was created by Melvil Dewey in the late 19th century. The DDC system organizes library materials into ten main categories:
- 000 – Computer science, information, and general works
- 100 – Philosophy and psychology
- 200 – Religion
- 300 – Social sciences
- 400 – Language
- 500 – Pure science
- 600 – Technology
- 700 – Arts and recreation
- 800 – Literature
- 900 – History and Geography
Each of these categories is further subdivided into more specific subcategories, allowing for precise organization and easy retrieval of materials.
Another widely used library classification system is the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system, which was developed by the Library of Congress in the early 20th century. The LCC system uses a hierarchical structure similar to the DDC system but organizes materials into 21 main categories: history, geography, and law.
Library classification systems also include a set of standard classification numbers or call numbers, which are assigned to each library item based on its subject matter. These call numbers are used for shelving library materials in their designated locations in the library, making it easy for users to find and retrieve them.
In summary, library classification is a systematic process of organizing and categorizing library materials based on their subject matter and other relevant characteristics. It involves using classification systems and call numbers to ensure library users can easily find and retrieve library materials.
Purposes of library classification:
Library classification aims to systematically organize books and other library materials so that users can easily locate them. Library classification schemes provide a structure for arranging materials on library shelves and allow library staff to retrieve items quickly and accurately when users request them.
Library classification systems use a combination of letters, numbers, and other symbols to assign a unique call number to each item in the library’s collection. These call numbers indicate the subject matter of the item, its format, and its location on the library shelves. Library users can use the call number to find the item they need by browsing the shelves or requesting it from a library staff member.
By organizing materials according to the subject, library classification systems also help users discover related materials that they may be interested in. For example, if a user is interested in a particular topic, they can locate other materials on that topic by browsing the shelves near the item they originally wanted.
Overall, library classification aims to facilitate access to information and knowledge resources and help users make the most of the library’s collection.
- Helpful sequence: The basic purpose of any library classification is service oriented. The library should arrange the document in a method most convenient to the users and the library staff. The document should be arranged in classes and based on their mutual relation. In other words, related documents could be grouped in close proximately.
- Correct replacement: After being taken out from the shelves by the users or the library staff, documents should be replaced in their proper places. It is essential that library classification should enable the correct replacement of documents after they happen to return from use.
- Mechanized arrangement: It is decided that a particular arrangement is suitable for the library materials. Ordinarily, it should not be changed with the help of a new document; with the help of allocating notation, classification enables us to mechanize the arrangement.
- Addition of new documents: A library should acquire new documents from time to time. Therefore library classification should help find the most helpful place among the library’s existing collection.
- Withdraw the document from stock: In case the need arises to withdraw a document from stock for some reason. Library classification should facilitate such a withdrawal.
- Book display: In a wider sense, the term book is displayed used to indicate that the collection in open access library is well presented and guided. Library classification should be helpful in the organization of book displays.
- Other purposes:
- Compilation of bibliography, catalogue, union-catalogue, and so on.
- Classification of information and reference queries.
- Filing of nonbook materials such as correspondence, films, and so on.
- Assist the cataloger in determining the subject heading.
- To separate subjects on the basis of likeness and unlikeness.
- To make grouping and sub-grouping of subjects.
- To arrange things in the most convenient order.
- To make the books available to every reader.
- To enable the reader to receive the books.
- To arrange the books in classified order.
- To retrieve the information whenever needed.
- To make available the whole library stock to readers by publisher, date of publication, title, by author or by subjects. The proper way is to arrange by contents of the material.
- Library of Congress Classification Outline: https://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/lcco/
- DDC Summaries: https://www.oclc.org/content/dam/oclc/dewey/resources/summaries/deweysummaries.pdf