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Library of Congress Classification

Library of Congress Classification



A presentation introducing the Library of Congress (LC) Classification system

A presentation introducing the Library of Congress (LC) Classification system



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    Library of Congress Classification Library of Congress Classification Presentation Transcript

    • Bibliographic control systems (LC classification) IST 603 November 29, 2006 Denise A. Garofalo
    • LC classification—history
      • The Library of Congress was founded in 1780
      • The earliest classification system was by size (folios, quartos, octavos), subdivided by accession numbers
      • In 1812 there were 3000 volumes and the size-based system was failing
      • A system with 18 categories was devised
    • LC classification—history
      • In 1814 the Capitol was burned (LC’s collection was housed there)
      • Thomas Jefferson offered to sell Congress his library to re-establish LC
        • He had cataloged and classified the works
        • His scheme had 44 classes
      • Jefferson’s scheme (modified somewhat over the years) was used in the LC until the end of the 19 th century
    • LC classification—history
      • In 1899 LC had a new Librarian and a new building—a reorganization and reclassification seemed appropriate
      • The reclassification resulted in what is known today as the LCC
      • The LCC built upon DDC, Cutter’s Expansive Classification and the German Halle Schema
    • LC classification
      • The outline and notation are similar to Cutter’s Expansive Classification
        • No main classes I , O , W , X or Y
        • These letters do appear as second or third symbols in various LCC subclasses
        • The structure of class Z (Bibliography and Library Science) follows Cutter’s with minor variations (Z was the first class devised under LCC)
    • LC classification
      • Different subject specialists developed each individual LC schedule following a broad general framework which was established to ensure coordination
      • Each schedule of a class or parts of classes was published as completed
      • Schedules are revised through committee review and then reissued
    • LC classification
      • Because LCC involves letters and letter combination as well as numbers, it will continue to accommodate new subjects and aspects of subjects for a long time
      • LCC is favored by large university and research collections
        • Hospitality and inherent flexibility
        • Also used in smaller academic and public libraries and some special libraries
        • Doesn’t handle broad classifications well
    • LCC schedules
      • LCC schedules comprise 43 volumes
        • Basic schedules
        • A short general outline which contains secondary and tertiary subclass spans for most classes
        • For complete list see http://www.loc.gov/cds/classif.html#lccs
    • Updating LCC
      • Revised editions of individual schedules are published as needed
        • Later editions do not always contain all the information from previous editions (prefaces, index entries, author cutters)
        • May need to keep earlier editions in order to have access to needed information even though later editions are used for actual classifying
    • Updating LCC
      • A quarterly publication, Library of Congress Classification—Additions and Changes , stopped in print in 2002.
      • The latest adjustments in all schedules and schedule indexes for LCC is available online
    • Tools for LCC work
      • For fine-tuning class numbers and shelflist assignments the LC catalog, Thomas, can be consulted (search online LC catalog via classification number)
      • Vendors publish other tools for use with LCC
      • Many folks have penned articles on using LCC
    • LCC--overview
      • It is an enumerative rather than a deductive system
      • Uses capital letters for main and subclass notations
      • Uses Arabic numbers for further subdivisions
      • Modified Cutter’s author-mark scheme to achieve alphabetic arrangements
    • LCC--overview
      • Most LC call numbers follow a simple pattern
        • Letter/number/letter/number
        • Some LCC combinations reflect special situations and do not follow this pattern
      • All LC schedules have similar but not identical sequencing arrangements and physical appearance
    • LCC--overview
      • All LC schedules have similar but not identical sequencing arrangements and physical appearance
        • The order proceeds as a rule from general aspects of the topic to particular subdivisions and subtopics
        • Chronological sequence may trace useful time frames
        • Geographical arrangements are generally alphabetical but may have a different, “preferred” order
    • LCC--overview
      • Does not group literature by form (like DDC) but rather by national literature then chronology and then individual author (German lit, then 19 th century, then alpha by author)
      • LCC has two places for “generalia” as found in DDC
        • A , General Works (encyclopedias)
        • X , Bibliographies and library science
    • Questions?
    • Break time
    • LCC live http://summit.orbiscascade.org/ http://libraries.mit.edu/
    • LCC schedule format
      • External format (most schedules follow a pattern which includes):
        • Preface
        • Brief synopsis of the primary subdivisions in this class/schedule
        • An outline of alphabetic subclasses and alphanumeric subspans
        • The schedule proper
        • Auxiliary tables
        • Detailed index
        • Supplementary pages of additions and changes
    • LCC schedule format
      • Internal format, or “Martel’s Seven Points of Internal Format” (basic orientation features found in each schedule):
        • General form divisions
        • Then theory and philosophy
        • Then history and biography
        • Then treatises and general works
        • Then law, regulation and state relations
        • Then study and teaching, research and textbooks
        • And finally, subjects and subdivisions of subjects
    • LCC notation
      • Mixed notation
        • One to three letters
        • Followed by one to four integers
        • And possibly a short decimal
          • Decimals were not used much until certain sections needed to be expanded and no more integers were available
          • Decimals do not generally indicate subordination but allow a new topic to be inserted
    • LCC notation
      • LCC notations can be expanded through mnemonic letter-number combinations
        • Can represent geographic, personal, corporate or topical names
        • Subordinated to schedule notations where an instruction to subdivide “A-Z” appears
      • LCC interpretation of “cutter numbers” is always a decimal (HG 509 follows HG 51 but precedes HG 5018)
    • LCC
      • Catalogers should be able to break down an LC call number into its components
      • Catalogers should be able to create reasonably consistent notations which fit into LCC and their unique holdings
      • LCC is loosely coordinated and pragmatic
        • Aims to class closely and then identify uniquely
        • Perfectionists used to DDC’s rigidity will have trouble using LCC
    • Questions?
    • Assignment
      • Complete homework handout
      • Search an OPAC for a title
        • View the MARC record
        • Look for the DDC and the LCC numbers
        • Note those and any locally-used call #
        • In your opinion, for that particular title, which scheme suits the title better for the type of library to which the OPAC belongs, DDC or LCC?