Essential Classification

Oct 2004 | 272pp

Price: £54.95
CILIP members price: £43.95

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Essential Classification

Vanda Broughton

Classification is an essential skill for all information workers but a difficult concept to grasp - and it's even more difficult to put that theory into practice. This practical guide shows the reader how to go about classifying a document from scratch.

Essential Classification guides the novice cataloguer through the practice of subject cataloguing, with an emphasis on practical document analysis and classification. It deals with fundamental questions as to the purpose of classification in different situations, and the needs and expectations of end users. The reader is introduced to the ways in which document content can be assessed, and how this can best be expressed for translation into the language of specific indexing and classification systems.

The characteristics of the major general schemes of classification (LCC, DDC, UDC and BC1) are discussed and their suitability for different classification needs. Some basic issues of theory are included to support practical considerations. The emphasis in the chapters on the major classification schemes is on the practical application of those schemes. Key areas discussed are:

  • the purpose of classification
  • the rightness of classification
  • controlled indexing languages
  • concept based retrieval and word based retrieval
  • the structure of classification
  • varieties of classification 1: the enumerative scheme
  • varieties of classification 2: the analytico-synthetic scheme
  • varieties of classification 3: the faceted scheme
  • management aspects of classification
  • the need for classification

After reading this book the novice cataloguer will understand the purpose of classification, will be able to choose the best classification scheme to use for their purposes and will have practical experience of the application of those schemes using real documents, practical exercises and worked examples.

Readership: This is essential reading for library school students, novice cataloguers and all information workers who need to classify but have not formally been taught how. The book also offers practical guidance to those concerned with the design and maintenance of subject tools: computer scientists, and information and intranet managers.

1. Introduction  
2. The need for classification 
3. First principles of classification  
4. The variety of classification: systems and structures  
5. The classification scheme: internal structure  
6. Types of classification scheme  
7. Order in the classification scheme  
8. Content analysis 1: document description  
9. Content analysis 2: practical constraints  
10. Controlled indexing languages  
11. Word-based approaches to retrieval  
12. Library of Congress Subject Headings 1: basic headings  
13. Library of Congress Subject Headings 2: structured headings  
14. Classification scheme application 
15. Library of Congress Classification 1: basic classmark construction  
16. Library of Congress Classification 2: use of tables  
17. Dewey Decimal Classification  
18. Universal Decimal Classification 1: general properties and basic number building  
19. Universal Decimal Classification 2: auxiliary tables 
20. Faceted classification  
21. Managing classification

"Essential Classification might be optimised for the LIS student or novice practitioner, but others engaging with classification and subject indexing are likely to find this book an invaluable working tool. It is, as the title predictably suggests, essential."
- Library Review

Vanda Broughton MA DipLib is a Lecturer in Library and Information Studies at the School of Library, Archive and Information Studies, University College London. She has taught, written and led training courses on classification for many years. She is joint editor of the new edition of the Bliss Bibliographic Classification scheme, is a member of the UDC revision working group, and also of the UK Classification Research Group

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