ClassificationEnglishGeneralLibrary Science

About Library Classification

Library Classification


The term ‘Classification’ is a derivation from the Latin word “Classis” which connotes‘Grouping’. Classification is a procedure of grouping similar items and objects and isessential in formulating groups that is known as classifying which results in Classification. This process helps the user to arrange, organize and make a logical sense of articles which also assists the user to locate them in an easy manner. Classification is the ability to distinguish objects through their similarities and dissimilarities which is distinct in their identities for human beingsLibrary Books

Classification is one of the oldest and most prominent knowledge organizational tools. It used in Libraries, Information centers, and other institutions for organizing books, journals, newspaper, thesis, magazine etc. It is a system by which library materials are arranged according to subjects or class numbers or author of the books. Library Classification system use a notational system that represents the order of the subject on the library and help users to easily find materials on the shelves. It brings same subjects books together and separate unrelated subjects.

Library classification – the systematic arrangement of books and other materials on shelves or of catalogue and index entries in the manner which is most useful to those who read or who seek a definite piece of information on a library.

Definitions of Library Classification:

According to Berwick Sayers, library classification is “the arrangement of books onshelves or descriptions of them, in themanner which is most useful to those who read.”

Library Classification is meant to be “the translation of the name of the subject of a book into a preferred artificial language of ordinal numbers, and the individualization of the several books dealing with the same specific subject by means of further set of ordinal numbers which represent some features of the book other than their thought content.” -Dr. S R Ranganathan

According to Margaret Mann, classification is “the arranging of things according to likeness and unlikeness. It is the sorting and grouping of things, but in addition classification of books is a knowledge classification with adjustment made necessary by the physical forms of books.”

Library Classification can also be considered to be a process of putting books and other reading material on a subject in a logical sequence on the shelf, which could be of immense help to the users. It requires an adept thorough study and practice in the technique of classification of books, knowledge of the details and handling of the scheme of classification.

Components of Library Classification:

Library Classification is a process of translating the specific subject of a book into anartificial language of ordinal numbers, which in classificatory language are helpful inarriving at a logical arrangement. The essential components of a scheme of library classification are:

  1. Notation: It is a set of symbols which stands for a class or a subject e.g. philosophyand literature and its sub-division example ethics, English literature representing ascheme of classification. For the purpose of arranging books, use of names of the subjects, broad or specific in natural language would neither be practicable norconvenient so these are translated into artificial language of ordinal numbers.
  2. Form Division: Knowledge may be presented in one form of the other, the form could be text book, manual, history, dictionary and encyclopedia. These forms or styles of presenting knowledge of a subject could be commonly applied to any subject. Book classification takes care of representing form in the Call Number. The numbers representing the forms of books are called form divisions. They are also known as common sub-divisions or common-isolates.
  3. Generalia Class: There are certain books such as encyclopedias, bibliographies and collected writings of an author which cannot be classified under any specific subject since they cover all subjects under the sun and hence are classified under the Generalia Class.
  4. Index: Index is an essential component of a scheme of Library Classification which is provided at the end of the scheme. It is of immense value to the members in their handling of a classified part of the catalogue.
  5. Call Number: In classifying, each book is provided with a distinguished number specified to it which can be used for calling the book from the stats and replacing it on its return to its right place. It is known as a Call Number.

References: (This document is collected from materials available from online/web and organize here for LIS students)

  1. KRISHAN KUMAR. Theory of classification. 1993. Vikas Publishing; New Delhi. p1.
  2. SHARMA (C D). Use of libraries: A guide to better use of libraries and their resources. 1978. Metropolitan Book; New Delhi. p-120.
  3. SHARMA (C D). Op. cit., p 121.
  4. KRISHAN KUMAR. Op. cit., p 4.
  5. INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY (IGNOU). Unit 2: Needand purpose of library classification. IGNOU; New Delhi. p 26.
  6. DUTTA (Dwijendranath). Library classification: Theory and practice. 1962. The Western Book Depot; Nagpur. p 48.
  7. RAJU (Addepali Appala Narasimha). Dewey decimal classification (DDC 20): Theory and practice: A practical and self instructional manual. 1995. T.R. Publications; Madras. p 4.
  8. CHOWDHURY (G G). Introduction to modern information retrieval. Ed. 3. 2004. Facet Publishing; London. p 89.

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Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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