ClassificationEnglishGeneralLibrary Science

Purpose & Objectives of Library Classification

Objectives of Library Classification


The main objective of library classification is to arrange the library documents in afiliatory sequence for the convenience of both the readers and the staff in the library. Infact, According to Dr. S.R. Ranganathan, library classification mechanizes the correctre placement of library documents after use, fixes the most helpful place for a newly added document or a book amongst the other books available in the library on a similar subject and files the most helpful place for the first document on such other already existing subjects which are related to it. For this purpose, the class number must be coextensive with the subject of a document and easy subject must be individualized to the extent that no other subject must share the same class number.library classification

  1. It brings like books together: Classification arranges books in an order most convenient to the readers and the librarians. Readers should find all the related books together and librarians should minimum time and energy in locating the documents. Classification brings together all the books on the same subject. Not only that, books on different branches of the subjects are also collated in a way that their mutual relationship is clearly displayed.
  2. It saves time: Classification is a great time saving device for readers, as well as librarians and thus fulfils the demand of the fourth law of library science. The arrangement by subject, a natural consequence of library classification, saves a lot of time of readers as well as of staff, by bringing together all the related documents.
  3. It reveals the weakness and strengthof the collection: As classification arranges books on shelf by subject, it clearly shows which subjects have a good collection, and which subjects require more attention. In this way, it facilitates the book selection process and helps in developing all round collection of the library. Similarly, it assists the librarians in making up their collection, for the departmental or branch libraries or lending centers, from the central stock.
  4. It helps in bibliographic research: Classification is of value in bibliographic research as it helps in the compilation of bibliographies, catalogues and union catalogues.
  5. It helps in stock verification: Classification plays a significant role in the stock taking procedure. Generally, verification of stock is done through a shelf list, which is arranged in classified order. Books on the shelf are also arranged in the same order. In the stock taking procedure, a person on the shelf goes on calling the call number of the books while the other person, holding the shelf list goes on pushing the relevant cards forward. Thus, the process of stock taking is completed within a relatively short time.

Library classification assists the librarian to make available the requisite book to the reader in the shortest possible time. The purpose of any library classification scheme is to allow libraries to arrange the documents in a sequence that will be of immense help to the readers. The library classification scheme offers the leaders a basis for organizing books and other reading material so that these can be used by the readers as and when they desire. A variety of classification schemes have been developed in various countries throughout the world to maintain the library collections in the most helpful manner possible.


Purpose of Library Classification

The following are the main purposes of library classification:

  1. Helpful Sequence: Classification helps in organizing the documents in a method most convenient to the users and to the library staff. The documents should be systematically arranged in classes based on the mutual relationship between them which would bring together all closely related classes. The basic idea is to bring the like classes together and separate these from unlike classes. The arrangement should be such that the user should be able to retrieve the required document as aresult it will make a helpful sequence.
  2. Correct Replacement: Documents whenever taken out from shelf should be replaced in their proper places. It is essential that library classification should enable the correct replacement of documents after they have been returned from use. This would require a mechanized arrangement so that arrangement remains permanent.
  3. Mechanized Arrangement: It means to adopt a particular arrangement suitable for the library so that the arrangement remains permanent. The sequence should be determined once for all, so that one does not have to pre-determine the sequence of documents once again when these are returned after being borrowed.
  4. Addition of New Document: Library would acquire new documents from time to time therefore library classification should help in finding the most helpful place for each of those among the existing collection of the library. There are two possibilities in this regard. The new books may be or a subject already provided forin the scheme of library classification, or it may be or a newly emerging subject that may not have been provided in the existing scheme.
  5. Withdrawal of Document from Stock: In this case, the need arises to withdraw a document from the library collection for some reason, and then library classification should facilitate such a withdrawal.
  6. Book Display: Display is adopted for a special exhibition of books and other materials on a given topic. The term is used to indicate that the collection in an open access library is well presented and guided. Library classification should be helpful in the organization of book displays.
  7. Other Purposes:
  • Compilation of bibliographies cataloguesand union catalogues.
  • Classification of information.
  • Classification of reference queries.
  • Classification of suggestions received from the users.
  • Filing of non book materials such as photographs, films, etc.

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.

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.

9 Comments

  1. This is very useful information. I have known about all the classification briefly,i.e.colon classification, ddc. thank u.

  2. The document or article is really useful and helpful. Am glad to know about all which is included, Actually it is brief, clear and attractive as well.
    Thanks to Md Ashikuzzanman

  3. The main objective of library classification is to arrange the library documents in afiliatory sequence for the convenience of both the readers and the staff in the library. Infact, According to Dr. S.R. Ranganathan, library classification mechanizes the correctre placement of library documents after use, fixes the most helpful place for a newly added document or a book amongst the other books available in the library on a similar subject and files the most helpful place for the first document on such other already existing subjects which are related to it. For this purpose, the class number must be coextensive with the subject of a document and easy subject must be individualized to the extent that no other subject must share the same class number.library classification

    It brings like books together: Classification arranges books in an order most convenient to the readers and the librarians. Readers should find all the related books together and librarians should minimum time and energy in locating the documents. Classification brings together all the books on the same subject. Not only that, books on different branches of the subjects are also collated in a way that their mutual relationship is clearly displayed.
    It saves time: Classification is a great time saving device for readers, as well as librarians and thus fulfils the demand of the fourth law of library science. The arrangement by subject, a natural consequence of library classification, saves a lot of time of readers as well as of staff, by bringing together all the related documents.
    It reveals the weakness and strengthof the collection: As classification arranges books on shelf by subject, it clearly shows which subjects have a good collection, and which subjects require more attention. In this way, it facilitates the book selection process and helps in developing all round collection of the library. Similarly, it assists the librarians in making up their collection, for the departmental or branch libraries or lending centers, from the central stock.
    It helps in bibliographic research: Classification is of value in bibliographic research as it helps in the compilation of bibliographies, catalogues and union catalogues.
    It helps in stock verification: Classification plays a significant role in the stock taking procedure. Generally, verification of stock is done through a shelf list, which is arranged in classified order. Books on the shelf are also arranged in the same order. In the stock taking procedure, a person on the shelf goes on calling the call number of the books while the other person, holding the shelf list goes on pushing the relevant cards forward. Thus, the process of stock taking is completed within a relatively short time.

    Library classification assists the librarian to make available the requisite book to the reader in the shortest possible time. The purpose of any library classification scheme is to allow libraries to arrange the documents in a sequence that will be of immense help to the readers. The library classification scheme offers the leaders a basis for organizing books and other reading material so that these can be used by the readers as and when they desire. A variety of classification schemes have been developed in various countries throughout the world to maintain the library collections in the most helpful manner possible.

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