Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 19, Numbers 3/4 1995

Theme Issue
Classification: Options and Opportunities
Alan R. Thomas, MA, Guest Editor

Table of Contents

Single or multiple copies of these articles may be obtained on Informaworld

INTRODUCTION by Alan R. Thomas


Alternative Starting Points in Classification. By Derek W. Langridge
ABSTRACT. The necessity of knowledge of structure of a classification not only to compilers of systems but also to those who classify documents or search is emphasized. American and European assumptions are contrasted. The relationship of a special classification to a general classification is considered. Some differences in the construction of three general schemes are noted. The concept of a "main class" is elucidated. Alternative starting points for dividing knowledge by its forms or by phenomena are exemplified. The idea that the treatment of main classes reflects a world view is offered and supported by illustrations. Principles for determining degree of detail are presented. The case for specificity is argued. Procedures for making a science class are contrasted with those for making a humanities class.

Blissful Beliefs: Henry Evelyn Bliss Counsels on Classification. By Alan R. Thomas
ABSTRACT. Study of the organization of knowledge and of theories, systems, and practices of library classification provides a foundation for considering the design of an effective scheme. Use of existing standard systems has disadvantages and requires a library to either adapt itself to a standard or adapt that standard to the library. Prompt reclassification to an effective system will produce ultimate economy in service. Helpful order within a system is secured by application of certain principles. The scheme should be plastic to accommodate differing requirements and include alternative locations and citation orders of components. Construction and application of a relative classification present persistent problems.

Library Classification and Information Retrieval Thesauri: Comparison and Contrast. By Bella Hass Weinberg
ABSTRACT. Thesauri-structured controlled vocabularies, designed for information retrieval-are compared with classification schemes developed for the arrangement of library materials and/or bibliographic records. The syndetic structure (BTs and NTs) within the alphabetic sequence of thesauri constitutes a hidden classification, but many thesauri include an explicit hierarchical display; some feature notation. The various structures and applications of thesauri are surveyed, with an emphasis on their increasing role in electronic information retrieval. The skills required for thesaurus construction are similar to those for the development of classification schemes. The distinction between these activities is expected to blur in the future.

How to Study Classification Systemsand Their Appropriateness for Individual Institutions. By Robert M. Losee
ABSTRACT. Answers to questions concerning individual library decisions to adopt classification systems are important in understanding the effectiveness of libraries but are difficult to provide. Measures of classification system performance are discussed, as are different methodologies that may be used to seek answers, ranging from formal or philosophical models to quantitative experimental techniques and qualitative methods.

Knowledge and the Educational Purposes of Higher Education:Implications for the Design of a Classification Scheme. By Edmund C. Short
ABSTRACT. The author proposes that a knowledge classification scheme be organized around four educational purposes of higher education. These purposes correspond to four curricula that are taught in institutions of higher education-the general education curriculum, the specialist education curriculum, the curriculum for the education of researchers, and the curriculum for the education of educators. Implications for the design of such a classification scheme are also suggested.


Library of Congress Classification: Alternative Provisions. By Lois Mai Chan
ABSTRACT. The Library of Congress Classification (LCC), being a system originally and specifically designed for the Library's own collection, generally eschews alternatives. Within the LCC schedules, alternatives are found occasionally in earlier editions; there are no alternative numbers in recently developed or revised schedules. On the other hand, many alternative numbers representing different treatment of specific types of materials such as bibliographies and monographic series are provided in LC MARC records. Such numbers may be used by other libraries that prefer the alternative treatment. In addition, many LC MARC records also include class or call numbers based on other classification schemes, including the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), the National Library of Medicine Classification (NLM), and the Superintendent of Documents Classification. The alternative class numbers assigned from other classification systems are provided as services to libraries not using the Library of Congress Classification.

Options in the Dewey Decimal Classification System: The Current Perspective. By Joan S. Mitchell
ABSTRACT. Options currently provided in the Dewey Decimal Classification system are reviewed. Options are an appropriate mechanism in a general purpose classification used by different kinds and sizes of libraries around the world. Dewey provides the universal option of close versus broad classification. Options also are provided to give emphasis to jurisdiction; racial, ethnic, or national group; language; topic; or other specific characteristics. Various devices are detailed or suggested to introduce options. Options may be an impediment to retrieval of information across systems. Options should not be introduced as a substitute for the appropriate placement of a topic in the Classification. Options help accommodate cultural differences in the Classification, and provide a mechanism for emphasizing topics of local importance.


Bliss Classification Update. Alan R. Thomas
ABSTRACT. Development of the 2nd edition of the Bliss Bibliographic Classification (BC2) is outlined. The scope of the Introduction volume is described. Parts already issued, those ready for publication, and those awaiting completion are listed. The level of detail of the vocabulary is indicated. Four forms of synthesis are explained: addition of common subdivisions, facet combination including alternative combination patterns, array combination, and drawing marks from other parts of the system. Notational features which contribute to the relatively brief classmarks are identified. Different kinds of alternative location of subjects are discerned and examples provided. The potential feature of phenomenon-based classification is noted. Present use of the scheme is summarized and documented and its future application suggested.

Universal Decimal Classification Update. By P. David Strachan and Frits M. H. Oomes
ABSTRACT. The article gives an overview of recent developments in the organization and the policy of the Universal Decimal Classification. It describes the content and compilation of the Master Reference File, the database of the UDC that will be the starting point for future revision and enhancement of the classification. Some observations are added concerning the direction these developments will take.

The Classification Schemes of The Research Libraries of The New York Public Library. By Karen M. Hsu
ABSTRACT. There are two unique classification schemes used by The Research Libraries of The New York Public Library. One is the Billings Classification, a broad subject classification created in the 1890's, the other is a fixed order scheme arranged by the size of books. This article describes the historical background of the schemes, how they have served the needs of The Research Libraries, and their possible suitability for other libraries.

Reader-Interest Classification: The User-Friendly Schemes. By Jacquelyn Sapiie
ABSTRACT. A review of the current use of reader-interest classification since 1980 as an alternative arrangement of bookstock to traditional classification. Reader-interest classification is known by a variety of names and used in many countries. With a current trend to make libraries more accessible and user-friendly, librarians are experimenting with reader-interest classification. The paper discusses the reasons for using it, principles, catalog aspects, what it brings together and separates, implementation, arrangement and presentation of the bookstock, the kind and size of library where it is in use and the outlook for its continued use. Recent studies and surveys are also considered.


Intentional Use of Multiple Classification Schemes in United States Libraries. By R. Conrad Winke
ABSTRACT. Advantages and disadvantages of using more than one classification scheme are explored through a series of interviews with librarians currently employed at institutions that do so. These institutions can be categorized as falling into one of three major groups: (1) libraries that choose to shelve their government documents or technical reports by preassigned numbers, (2) libraries that retain DDC for some materials and LCC for other materials, and (3) libraries that implemented additional schemes when it became apparent that the existing classification scheme did not adequately cover their needs. Reasons behind the decisions leading to the use of multiple classification systems, the implications of these decisions for staff and user training, and the ongoing problems encountered by users are also explored.

The Reclassification Decision: Dewey or Library of Congress? By June D. Chressanthis
ABSTRACT. This paper describes various reasons why academic libraries have chosen to do or not to do reclassification projects from Dewey to Library of Congress. An historical perspective is provided to assist in making this decision. Arguments for and against both Dewey and Library of Congress are presented from this historical perspective along with modern interpretations. Issues important in planning a reclassification project such as cost, organization of the reclassification team, and the length of the project are also discussed. Implications and ramifications of a reclassification project for staff and patrons, such as disruptions in service and learning new book locations, are also highlighted.

Reclassification Revisited: An Automated Approach. By Ling-yuh W. (Miko) Pattie
ABSTRACT. Many libraries undertook reclassification projects during the 1960s and 1970s, and some of them are still struggling to live with split collections due to lack of resources to complete their projects. The University of Kentucky Library is one that has reconciled itself to this predicament until plans begin to take shape for a new library building. An automated local system, NOTIS, presents new found capabilities to perform automated reclassification efficiently and cost-effectively. Retrospective conversion of all Dewey titles will precede reclassification. The paper describes how the decision was made, the planning that is in place, the method to be used, and the issues that need to be resolved before the project is implemented. It is hoped that other libraries may find this helpful should opportunities arise for a reclassification project.


Options in Classification Available Through Modern Technology. By Gertrude S. Koh
ABSTRACT. Options in classification available through modern information technologies are explored and discussed in terms of system design options and user searching options. The integrated subject tool will give options for the simultaneous presentation of the types of catalogs desired-dictionary, divided, or classified, as well as the concurrent consultation of multiple classification systems. The problems of electronic union catalogs, including a "virtual union catalog" in particular, are considered and enhancements made possible through classification are explored. The combined system of subject headings and classification is presented as the model of the integrated subject searching tool, which will meet individualized learning styles and user responsive vocabulary. The integrated subject tool box (including classification) for an effective modern subject system is discussed in particular as a searching tool to assist "shelf browsing" of virtual reality (VR) objects.

Electronic Dewey: The CD-ROM Version of the Dewey Decimal Classification. By Ross Trotter
ABSTRACT. This paper describes the features of Electronic Dewey bringing out the ways in which it differs from the printed version of the Classification. The various search techniques available are discussed and the use of the DDC functions is considered. The paper concludes that while improvements could be made the CD-ROM heralds the electronic age of classification.

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