Library of Congress Classification

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The Library of Congress Classification (LCC) is a system of library classification developed by the Library of Congress. It is used by most research and academic libraries in the U.S. and several other countries; in these countries, most public libraries and small academic libraries continue to use the older Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC).[1]

LCC should not be confused with LCCN, the system of Library of Congress Control Numbers assigned to all books (and authors), which also defines URLs of their online catalog entries, such as "82006074" and "http://lccn.loc.gov/82006074".[a] The Classification is also distinct from Library of Congress Subject Headings, the system of labels such as "Boarding schools" and "Boarding schools—Fiction" that describe contents systematically.[b] Finally, the classifications may be distinguished from the call numbers assigned to particular copies of books in the collection, such as "PZ7.J684 Wj 1982 FT MEADE Copy 1" where the classification is "PZ7.J684 Wj 1982".[c]

The classification was invented by Herbert Putnam in 1897, just before he assumed the librarianship of Congress. With advice from Charles Ammi Cutter, it was influenced by his Cutter Expansive Classification (developed in the 1880s) and by the DDC, Dewey (from 1876). It was designed specifically for the purposes and collection of the Library of Congress to replace the fixed location system developed by Thomas Jefferson. By the time Putnam departed from his post in 1939, all the classes except K (Law) and parts of B (Philosophy and Religion) were well developed.

LCC has been criticized for lacking a sound theoretical basis; many of the classification decisions were driven by the practical needs of that library rather than epistemological considerations. Although it divides subjects into broad categories, it is essentially enumerative in nature. That is, it provides a guide to the books actually in one library's collections, not a classification of the world.

The National Library of Medicine classification system (NLM) uses the initial letters W and QSQZ, which are not used by LCC. Some libraries use NLM in conjunction with LCC, eschewing LCC's R for Medicine. Others use LCC's QPQR schedules and include Medicine R.[clarification needed][2][3]

Classification[edit]

Java programming books in the QA subclass.
Letter Subject area
A General Works
B Philosophy, Psychology, and Religion
C Auxiliary Sciences of History
D General and Old World History
E History of America
F History of the United States and British, Dutch, French, and Latin America
G Geography, Anthropology, and Recreation
H Social Sciences
J Political Science
K Law
L Education
M Music
N Fine Arts
P Language and Literature
Q Science
R Medicine
S Agriculture
T Technology
U Military Science
V Naval Science
Z Bibliography, Library Science, and General Information Resources

Class A – General Works[edit]

Class B – Philosophy, Psychology, Religion[edit]

Class C – Auxiliary Sciences of History (General)[edit]

Class D – World History (except American History)[edit]

Class E – American History[edit]

Class F – Local History of the United States and British, Dutch, French, and Latin America[edit]

Class G – Geography, Anthropology, Recreation[edit]

Class H – Social Sciences[edit]

Class J – Political Science[edit]

  • Subclass J – General legislative and executive papers
  • Subclass JA – Political science (General)
  • Subclass JC – Political theory
  • Subclass JF – Political institutions and public administration
  • Subclass JJ – Political institutions and public administration (North America)
  • Subclass JK – Political institutions and public administration (United States)
  • Subclass JL – Political institutions and public administration (Canada, Latin America, etc.)
  • Subclass JN – Political institutions and public administration (Europe)
  • Subclass JQ – Political institutions and public administration (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.)
  • Subclass JS – Local government. Municipal government
  • Subclass JV – Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
  • Subclass JX – International law, see JZ and KZ (obsolete)
  • Subclass JZ – International relations

Class K – Law[edit]

Class L – Education[edit]

Class M – Music[edit]

  • Subclass M – Music
  • Subclass ML – Literature on music
  • Subclass MT – Instruction and study

Class N – Fine Arts[edit]

Class P – Language and Literature[edit]

The PN-subclass shelf.

Class Q – Science[edit]

Class R – Medicine[edit]

Class S – Agriculture[edit]

Class T – Technology[edit]

Class U – Military Science[edit]

Class V – Naval Science[edit]

Class Z – Bibliography, Library Science[edit]

  • Subclass Z – Books (General). Writing. Paleography. Book industries and trade. Libraries. Bibliography
  • Subclass ZA – Information resources (General)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ LCCN also covers authors, which LCC does not. For authors (people), the letter 'n' accompanies the number, and they too define URLs in a parallel catalog, such as "n83160096" and "http://lccn.loc.gov/n83160096". (So LCCN may be called alphanumeric.)
  2. ^ LCSH too is developed by the Library and assigns alphanumeric IDs. A closer look at this example shows refinements defined in 2004, 2007, and 2009. LCSH: Boarding schools.
  3. ^ "FT MEADE" and "Copy 1" are specific to the Library of Congress collection, where FT MEADE refers to a remote building or campus. (A United States Congressman cannot get this boarding school fiction by a short walk during lunch break.) All libraries that use LCC assign call numbers that begin "PZ7.J684 Wj 1982" to their copies of the 1982 edition of this book.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lavallee, Andrew (July 20, 2007). "Discord Over Dewey: A New Library in Arizona Fans a Heated Debate Over What Some Call the 'Googlization' of Libraries". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 May 2013. Some 95% of U.S. public libraries use Dewey, and nearly all of the others, the OCLC says, use a closely related Library of Congress system. 
  2. ^ Taylor, A. G., & Joudrey, D.N. (2009). The organization of information. 3rd ed. Englewood: Libraries Unlimited.
  3. ^ Chan, L. M.(2007). Cataloguing and classification: An introduction. 3rd ed. Scarecrow Press.

External links[edit]