National Library of Medicine Classification (NLMC)


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  • NLM applies subject classification to materials treated as monographsSerials are separated by form & assigned classification numbers within several broad categories
  • National Library of Medicine Classification (NLMC)

    1. 1. A workshop on the NLM Classification scheme: for the International Society of Knowledge Organization Student Group, SLAIS Dean Giustini, Adjunct faculty, | February 27th, 2014
    2. 2. Reading an NLM call number WE 100 .Z18 2014 (broad class, go to Ws, then A, B, C, D….) (read as a whole number from 1 to 999) (read alphabetically, then as a decimal) (year published, file in chronological order)
    3. 3. An NLM call number • Each NLMC call number has several components: WE 100 Z18 2014 Two letters indicate broad subject Subcategory What is WE?? Z18? Year physical item was published Why is this useful?
    4. 4. Background on the NLMC • A classification system for physical materials in medicine • There are two main “schedules” • QS-QZ & W-WZ (left empty in LOC) • • Topics organized by human physiology, body systems & medical disciplines Within each “schedule”, division by organ has priority • LC & NLM are used for subjects bordering on medicine • However, LC schedules for Human Anatomy (QM), Microbiology (QR) and Medicine (R) are not used by NLMC • schedules start with “form numbers“ | publication types ranging from 1-39 (helpful for browsing shelves)
    5. 5. Origins of a medical library Quick history: • 1836: Library of the Surgeon General's Office • 1889-1890: Index to the medical literature began • 1922: Army Medical Library • 1944: Need for a new specialized medical classification system recognized • 1951: First ed. Army Medical Library Classification • 1956: National Library of Medicine founded • Largest medical collection in the world • Developed & maintains the NLM Classification • Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) • MEDLINE, PubMed • UMLS (Unified Medical Language System)
    6. 6. Origins of NMLC “The genesis of the NLM classsification was a Survey of the Army Medical Library, published in 1944, which recommended that the “Library be reclassified according to a modern scheme,” and that new scheme be a mixed notation (letters & numbers) resembling that of the Library of Congress.”
    7. 7. What is the NLM Classification? • From NLMC fifth edition (1994): "The National Library of Medicine Classification covers the field of medicine and related sciences, utilizing schedules of QZ and W-WZ permanently excluded from LOC.“ • • • • • • Used worldwide to organize “classify” materials in medicine Suitable for large & small libraries Patterned after Library of Congress (LC) scheme uses same principle of letters for broad subjects for browsing subdivided by numbers "cuttered" see Charles Ammi Cutter
    8. 8. Strengths of the NLMC • • • • • • • Well-suited to (for) most medical libraries (esp. academic medical) Simple, highly enumerative structure Easy to apply…extensible Clear division between preclinical & clinical topics Serials are separated by form apart from monographs Accommodates LCC for non-medical works Less structured than Dewey’s classification system • Does not express relations among classes • Not very good at accommodating new subjects • Alternative & non-Western medicine • Health administration & public health Important: The NLMC is compatible with MeSH
    9. 9. In wide usage worldwide “…The majority of medical libraries use the NLMC because it is “the most detailed and appropriate for a medical collection and provides the best coverage for the subject.” (Womack, 2006) …though some academic medical libraries use the “R” schedule in the LOC
    10. 10. Benefits of using NLMC • • • • Allows for easy browsing of print collection Easy to obtain records for cataloguing purposes Updated annually Most medical school libraries use it • • Schedules start with “form numbers“ (represent publication types) numbers range from 1-39 Used as mnemonic devices for browsing by users • NLMC & Medline used together, articles to monographs • MeSH uses vocabulary medical professionals use • LCSH is better for popular/consumer terms