ClassificationEnglishGeneralLibrary Science

Features of Library Classification Scheme

Library Classification Scheme


Classification schemes need to include the following features to prove to be of maximumbenefit to the classifier:

1. Schedules: The term Schedule is used to describe the printed list of all the main classes, divisions and sub-divisions of the classification scheme. They provide a logical arrangement ofall the subjects encompassed by the classification scheme.This arrangement usually being hierarchical shows the relationship of specific subjects to their parent subject. The relevant classification symbol is shown against each subject.library

2. Index: The Index to the classification scheme is an alphabetical list of all the subjects encompassed by the scheme, with the relevant class mark shown against each subject. There are two types of index:

  • A Relative Index: includes broad topics in its alphabetic arrangement, butindented below the broad subject heading is a list of all the aspects of the subject. For e.g. Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme has an excellent relative index.
  • A Specific Index: lists specific subjects in a précis alphabetical sequence. It does not indent lists of related topics under the broad subject headings. For example, Brown’s Subject Classification Scheme has a specific index.

3. Notation: Notation is the system of symbols used to represent the terms encompassed by the classification scheme. The notation can be pure – using one type of symbol only – or mixed – using more than one kind of symbol. A pure notation would normally involve only letters of the alphabet or only numerals. A mixed notation would normally utilize both letters and numerals. Some notations also involve the use of grammatical signs or mathematical symbols. The notation usually appears on the spines of library books to facilitate shelving and to ensure that each book is in its correct place. The notation is also shown on catalogue entries to help the staff and public to remove books quickly. It therefore serves as:

  • A link between the index and the schedules of a classification scheme, and
  • A link between the library catalogues and the shelves.

4. Tables: The tables of a classification scheme are additional to the schedules and provide lists of symbols which can be added to class marks to them more specific and precise.

5. Form Class: A form class makes provision for those books where form is of greater importance than subject. Most books of this kind are literary works– fiction, poetry, plays etc.

6. A Generalities Class: This class caters primarily for books of General knowledgewhich could not be allocated to any particular subject class due totheir pervasivesubject coverage.In some respects, a generalities class is also a form class sincegeneral bibliographies, general encyclopediasandgeneral periodicals would beencompassed in it.


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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