The axiom, “So long as a topic is properly indexed it does not matter where it appears in the table of the classification”‘ has obtained wide currency.
The statement breaks every theoretical law of classification and, if it is read as dismissing any kind of order, is unsound when considered from the point of view of the practical application of book classification.. In theory, the main object of a classification is to collect like topics and arrange them in their relative position in the hierarchy of knowledge, so that their relationship one to another is clearly shown. In the practical application of book classification, the element of usefulness and convenience is of primary importance, as the preceding pages have shown. A perfect book classification combines these two features so far as in practically possible. If the sole purpose of a book classification were the mere finding of individual books, the axiom would be incontestable; but this is not the case. a book classification, whether it aims at a logical grouping of subjects or at a sequence of books in a useful order, is primarily concerned with order, whereas the statement refutes the necessity of even simple alphabetical order.
If, however the statement is taken to mean that a perfect theoretical order is of little real consequence in a book classification, it may be said to embody a half truth and cannot be dismissed as of no consequence. The purpose and nature of book classification and the practice of the main bibliograhical schemes, in their admitted quest for practical utility, support the axiom to a great extent.
The statement also implies that is a book classification the index is of primary importance. It cannot be too strongly stressed that the index is an additional, an auxiliary which assists in the easy working of a book classification. It is possible to classify books without the index, and indeed method of working should be followed, the index being used as a check only. Brown, however advised classifiers to use the index and the categorical Table when working with the Subject Classification. In general this can be dismissed as dangerous advice; classifying by the index is apt to lead ridiculous placings.
Reference Book: Book Classification :: Special Features of Book classification