Library of Congress Classification


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

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Library of Congress Classification

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