Classification Pt. 1

“Classification” is one of those words that librarians say a lot but don’t really explain. So, what does it mean?

According to Arlene Taylor in the classic library and information science textbook the Organization of Information, classification means categorizing. It is primarily associated with putting markers on “physical information packages.” Like books.

Classification theory seems esoteric but actually shows up in all sorts of mundane ways. For example, when you walk into a bookstore, what does it mean that African-American or Gay and Lesbian literature are not part of the regular Fiction/Literature section? Who made that decision? Does it have implications for how you, the customer, approach the books in those sections?

St. Mark’s Library uses the following classification systems (in alphabetical order):
Dewey Decimal
Early English Theology (EET)
Library of Congress (LC)
Manuscript (MSS)
Periodical (Per)

The third floor of the library holds the non-rare Dewey, Liturgy, and the end of the LC collections. Dewey 000-199 and 300-999 are packed but did you know that this actually means something concrete?

You might have noticed that the numbers above skip the 200s. We haven’t packed those yet b/c the 200s are about…Religion! We are packing the least used collections first and that does not include the Dewey 200s.

Here are the 9 remaining classes for Dewey that are now part of the sea of books on the 4th floor:

    000 – Computer science, information, and general works
    100 – Philosophy and psychology
    300 – Social sciences
    400 – Language
    500 – Science
    600 – Technology
    700 – Arts and recreation
    800 – Literature
    900 – History and geography

More on classification tomorrow.

The following sections are now boxed (newest in bold):
4th Floor Periodicals (to 1989) PER A-Z
92s (Biography)
Dewey Decimal Size 2 and Size 3 (+ and //)
Library of Congress Size 2 and Size 3
Dewey Decimal 000-199
Dewey Decimal 300-999

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