Assignment Topic: General Principles of Classifying Books Advocated by W. S. MerillSubmitted toDr. Nasiruddin MunshiProfessorDepartment of Information Science & Library ManagementUniversity of DhakaSubmitted byRajib Hossain Khan3rd year 6th semesterDepartment of Information Science & Library ManagementUniversity of Dhaka
The word ‘Classification’ comes from the Latin word ‘classis’. Classification is a processof grouping. It is essentially a mental process; we group or separate according to ourconcepts or ideas of the individuals.Margaret Mann veers around this view when she writes that classification is the act of,“arranging of things according to likeness and unlikeness. It is the sorting and groupingof things . . .”J. S. Mills says that the purpose of classification is primarily, “to facilitate the operationsof the mind in clearly conceiving and retaining in the memory the characters of theobjects in questions”.Book Classification: A book classification is concrete & concerned with ideas in theirwritten representation. Classification of books may be defined as the art of assigningbooks to their proper places in a classification.Berwick Sayers defines classification as, “the arrangement of books on shelves, ordescription of them, in the manner which is most useful to those who read”.According to Mann, “classification of books is a knowledge classification withadjustments made necessary by the physical form of books”.Purpose of Book Classification: Following are the basic purposes of book classification: a. Helpful sequence. b. Correct replacement. c. Mechanized arrangement. d. Addition of new books. e. Withdrawal of books from stock. f. Book display.Principles of Classifying Books: Here we will explain the general principles ofclassifying books with examples as advocated by W.S. Merill:1. Permanent or Temporary Need: Class a book where it will be permanently useful, notwhere it may serve only a temporary need.2. Class by Subject: Class a book ordinarily by subject. Never class a book by the titlealone.3. Intent of the Author: Class a book primarily according to the intent of the author inwriting it.4. Close Classification:a. Class a book by the most specific topic that will express the character of the book.
b. Subordinate place to topic. If no local subdivisions are provided under a subject, classa work treating of local conditions directly under the topic. 5. Modification for Special Needs: Modify a rule of classification of books whennecessary or desirable to meet special needs or types of service.6. Argumentative Facts: Facts or data, selected to prove a point or policy : class strictlyaccording to the intent of the author.E.g. Power of the federal judiciary over legislation. By J. Hampton DoughertyA historical argument against recall of judges, hence to be classed as a topic, judicialrecall, under federal judiciary, , not under legislation.7. Aspects of a Subject: Class under the subject illustrated, not under the subjectsuggested by the aspect unless the latter really expresses the subject matter of the book.E.g. Social aspects of education. By Irving King.Class under education, not under sociology.8. Contrasted Opinion or Policies: A work contrasting two opinions, one advocated bythe author & the other condemned by him: class under the opinion or policy advocated bythe author.E.g. Naturalism or idealism. By Rudolph Eucken.Class under idealism, which is advocated by the author.9. Field of Research: Results attained in a certain field of research: class under the topicinvestigated without reference to the character of the data or means employed.E.g. Abstract bulletin of the Physical Laboratory of the National Electric LightAssociation, Cleveland, Ohio.Class under electric lighting, although the researches are physical but bearing uponelectrical engineering.10. Genetic Treatment of Topics: Works treating of the origin of customs, institutions orbeliefs: class under the topic so derived, or supposed to be so derived, not under itsorigins.E.g. Myth as the origin of religion.Class under the history of religion, not under mythology.11. History of a Subject: Class under the specific heading even when that heading is notsubdivided by subhead “history”, in preference to classing in the subdivision “history” ofa more general subject.
E.g. Nature in Italian art, a study of landscape backgrounds from Giotto to Tintoretto. ByEmma Gurney Salter.Class under landscape painting, not under the history of Italian art.12. Illustrative Material:a. A work upon some specific topic, event or institution “illustrative of” some larger ormore general topic: class under the specific topic.E.g. Origin and growth of religion as illustrated by the religion of the ancient Hebrew. ByC.G. Montefiore.Class under Jewish religion, not with works on the origin of religion.b. A work illustrating a general or abstract topic by data relating to a single country orperson: class under the country or person.E.g. The relations of Pennsylvania with the British government, 1696-1765. By WinfredTrexler Root. Class under history of Pennsylvaniac. A work in which material to illustrate a topic has been gathered from several sources:class under the subject illustrated.E.g. Symbol and satire in the French revolution. By Ernest F. Henderson.Class under French Revolution.13. Method vs. Subject-matter:a. A work treating of the results of applying a given method, hypothesis, or theory to theinvestigation of a given subject: class under the subject investigated, not under themethod of investigation.E.g. The ethical import of Darwinism. By Jacob Gould Schurman.Class under ethics, not under Darwinism.b. Development of physical methods for exploring biological materials: class by thematerial, not by the method.E.g. Biological determination of vitamins.Class in physiological chemistry.14. Relation:a. If the work treats of two factors , one of which is represented as acting upon orinfluencing the other: class under the subject influenced or acted upon.E.g. Influence of the climate of California upon its literature.Class under literature.
b. If one factor is represented as the source, cause or formative agency of the other: classunder the factor so derived or resulting.E.g. Myth as a source of religion.Class under the origin of religion.15. Special Reference to a Subject: Works treating of some topic “with special referenceto” a country, person or subject: class under the more restricted topic.E.g. Elizabethan demonology . . . with special reference to Shakespeare and his works.By Thomas Alfred Spalding.Class under Shakespeare.Benefits of Book Classification: The benefits of classifying books are as follows; Arranges books in a convenient form. Essential for systematic, comprehensive, & representative book selection. Enables books to be inserted into organized groups. Can be used for systematic filing of correspondence. Aids in bibliographical research & compilation of bibliographies, catalogues, etc. Save the time of the reader & librarian.Limitations of Systematic Book Classification: The limitations of book classification arementioned here; No book classification assembles at one point all that a reader may require on a topic. A book classification collects only the most readily available resources of a library on a specific subject. It is difficult in many books to determine what the subject is. Absence of books or group of books for various reasons from their positions on the shelves. Long & confusing notation.On the basis of aforesaid discussion we can claim that, “classification is the bed-rock of asystematic library”. It is the hyphen that join & the buckle that fasten the reader & his/herbooks/documents/information.