ETL 505 Module 5 Classification

Classification and School Libraries

  • Systematic arrangement
  • Support browsing, filtering and retrieval of bibliographic information in online systems but not often used for this
  • Classification codes are a form of controlled indexing language
  • Classification process  similar to subject vocabulary indexing, Classifier must consider what it’s about and label the concept
  • Language instead is notation -numerical/alphanumerical symbols
  • Classification codes are even more unfamiliar to users than controlled languages
  • Another difference is that classifiers typically try to describe the subject of an information resource using one classification
  • Classification codes can express more complex subjects than most alphabetic indexing languages
  • Similarity between classification schemes and pre-coordinated indexing languages (eg. subject headings lists)
  • Detailed subject description useful in matching user need
  • Classification codes though for the library specialist!

Classification as a Locating Device

  • For locating purposes of specific works and to group like together
  • Purpose of collection affecting method of classification
  • Predominantly grouped by subjects
  • Different types of arrangement are frequently used in conjunction with subject; fiction – author; genre; series; format
  • Other classifications: by language; format; rarity; sensitive/offensive material; special subject collections; special collections (eg. material requested to be kept together)
  • Libraries concerned with providing information hence subject arrangement helps
  • If based on already known items title and author would make sense


Is Classification Helpful?

  • In classifying thoroughly using dewey some items are grouped together but others moved apart
  • If searching for something else, resources could be scattered everywhere over the shelves!
  • Hence the catalogue is of importance in considering limits of the shelf arrangement

Choosing a Classification Scheme

  • Determined by which ones are available on a bibliographic/cataloguing network (eg. SCIS)
  • Dewey Decimal Classification usually but large academic libraries sometimes the Library of Congress Classification
  • Advantages: kept up to date; familiar world-wide; easily accessible and workable through MARC, cataloguing services, etc.; history of working!
  •  Universal Decimal Classification more specific (scientific and technical subjects)
  • Specialist subject libraries may used specialist classifications
  • So too formats (maps and atlases Boggs and Lewis)

Dewey Decimal Classification

  • Advantages: include has organisational support; is regularly revised; full and abridged editions
  • Disadvantages of cultural bias; some sections crowded (eg. technology); base 10 limits concepts expressed; long notation
  • Discipline (fields of study) based therefore, subject might appear in a number of classes in the scheme depending on context
  • 10 classes – 10 divisions each class – 10 sections each division
  • First digit in three the class, second the division, and third the section
  • Never 0 in ending a number on the right of the decimal point
  • Applying DDC requires determining subject, disciplinary focus, perhaps approach or form
  • Author’s intent when considering subject
  • Classed in discipline of intention rather than discipline from which derived
  • Class – subject being acted upon
  • The increasingly availability of DDC classification numbers for resources = new emphasis from creating a classification number to ensuring that the classification number assigned fits the classification needs, standards and practices of the library
  • DDC tablesTable 1 Standard SubdivisionsTable 2 Geographic Areas, Historical Periods, Biography

    Table 3A-C Subdivisions for Arts, for Individual

    Literatures, for Specific Literary Forms

    Table 4 Subdivisions of Individual Languages and

    Language Families

    Table 5 Ethnic and National Groups

    Table 6 Languages

Using Webdewey

Hints from annotated powerpoint

  • Home tab top right in starting over a new search re. WebDewey
  • Book icon signals reference to the manual
  • puzzle piece means it is already a built number
  • Be thorough with number bulding or you might miss something!
  • Make sure you refer to the notes
  • Can use truncation, boolean search techniques, and masking (ie. ? or # e.g. wom?n; col#r) with WebDewey Advanced Search but not with Browsing
  • Browse to see if a term exists or to find alternative terms
  • Browse useful in combination with the relative index
  • Decisions about the use of table depending on the format, language, and subject treatment of your item
  • Table 1 will examine format of your resource (standard subdivisions)
  • If you cant find a built number to fit your item, you will need to build it yourself by using the search function, relative index, and then reading the notes

DDC and School Libraries

  • Since the 1980s SCIS continues to adopt and apply the two current editions of Dewey Decimal Classification as its classification tools for Australian and New Zealand school libraries
  • The two editions used are the full edition (DDC23/WebDewey 2.0) and the abridged edition (ADDC15/Abridged WebDewey)
  • By providing classification numbers from both the full and abridged choice based on need is recognised
  • Most primary/elementary school libraries use the abridged version as do many secondary school libraries ( abridged version is rarely used outside school libraries actually)
  • SCIS makes adaptions and amendments to the Dewey Decimal Classification to make it more suitable to the needs of school libraries. These changes are given in SCIS standards for cataloguing and data entry, Section 3, Classification

DDC and SCIS Standards

  • SCIS has chosen to make specific rulings on the use of DDC tools and certain local adaptations to them, in order to make them more appropriate to the particular needs of Australian and New Zealand school libraries
  • SCIS decisions on and adaptations to both editions of DDC are documented in SCIS standards for cataloguing and data entry, Section 3, Classification
  • Structured as an introduction (3:C), general principles (3:D) and specific decisions on how SCIS interprets and adapts DDC (3:E)
  • Be wary. Some statements of principle, or policy, are given in 3:C while 3:D contains some specific decisions
  • Classifier needs to have a good knowledge of all three parts
  • SCIS records shouid include 2 numbers (except for fiction) – one from ADDC15 and one from DDC23
  • “cataloguing decisions are more significant than classification for information retrieval purposes” – hmmmmmmm. Is not the primary purpose of cataloguing to aid information retrieval?
  • “If access via the alphabetical catalogues can be assured, then fine subdivisions of Dewey classes or ingenious shelving devices are not especially valuable ways of linking related materials” more hmmmmmmmmmmmmm
  • Call numbers in the database and SCIS products do not include prefixes or location symbols
  • The policy is to class fiction, regardless of language, as ‘F’
  • LOTE materials treated in the same way as materials in English
  • In shelving LOTE materials in separate sequences, libraries need to supply their own prefixes or location symbols
  • 3:C4 and 3:C6 bypass 3:D leading directly to 3:E – significant policies to be aware of
  • Purpose of system policy is to reduce the diversity in order to promote consistent practice
  • For effectiveness the appropriateness of a given number should always be checked upward through each succeeding level of the hierarchy
  • SCIS Standards limit the number-building allowed by DDC23 and ADDC15
  • Full edition 9 digits with 6 after the decimal point
  • Cataloguers will always test the adequacy of a seven (ADDC15) – or nine-digit number before proceeding further
  • When adding from Table 2 in classes other than history and geography, add only the notation from the country and not its state or regional subdivisions, for all countries except Australia and New Zealand
  • Using T2 avoid adding one area notation to another following instructions such as ‘Add notation 3–9; then … add 0 and to the result add notation 3–9 …’, unless a special decision to do so is recorded in 3:E
  • Using T3 ignore all instructions to add from Table 3-C. This supplementary table is used for reference purposes only
  • T4 cataloguers will limit expansion by ignoring all instructions given in Table 4: Subdivisions of Individual Languages to ‘Add to [Table 4] notation 1–9 (or 2–9) from Table 6’
  • T5/T6 no special limiting rules
  • T1 Cataloguers will follow carefully the guidelines set out in section 8.3-8.10 of the Introduction and the interpretations and instructions given in the Manual
  • Avoid using T1–09 + T2 notation where the base number is already seven digits
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *