James Duff Brown.

Manual of library classification and shelf arrangement; online

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to some extent minimise the evil.

52. Proposals have been made at various times for classi-
fying Fiction otherwise than in broad national or alphabetical
divisions such as are adopted in various schemes, but so far
none of them have been carried into actual practice. In 1881
Mr. A. P. Massey, of Cleveland, Ohio, published ^ a plan for
numbering the surnames of novelists to facilitate shelving and
charging, in a manner very similar to that used by Mr. Cutter
in his author tables. Several librarians have given in their
catalogues, under various historical headings, lists of novels
dealing with particular periods or events. Historical novels
have also been classified and tabulated in Bowen's Historical
Novels and Tales (1882), and elaborately catalogued by the
libraries of Boston (U.S.), San Francisco, Los Angeles (U.S.),
Clerkenwell, Peterborough, etc. But no attempt has been
made to extinguish the class entirely by distributing its
contents among the other classes of the library. A jocular
proposal to this effect was made in an article on " Fiction
Classification " contributed to the Library of 1896 by the
present writer. In this it was pointed out that Fiction is only
a method of " instruction by parable," and that novels generally
had subject matter sufficiently definite to enable them to be
classed like formal treatises on sciences, history, or philosophy.
Didactic poetry also lends itself to the same kind of treatment,
and no doubt the day will come when books will be classified
only according to their subject matter, and not by the particular
form in which they are written. Metrical chronicles, like those
of Wyntoun, can only be called poetry by a very wide stretch
' In the Library Joitrna I, Vol. VI. (1881), = " Classification of Fiction."

Classified Libraries and Catalogues — 53 95

of indulgence ; and there are hundreds of other works in rhyme
which are equally devoted to other prosaic subjects. But
difficulty arises when a rule has to be rigidly applied all round.
Charles Reade's // is Never Too Late to Mend is a contribution,
of a sort, to the literature of prison management ; and Scott's
Qite7itin Dunva7-d may be regarded as a masterly sketch of the
crafty Louis IX. Yet to many minds it would seem an out-
rage to class the former in .Social Science and the latter in
Biography or History. And would it not be a frightful strain
upon one's reverence for literary art and sympathy with
traditional usages to class imaginative works like Thomson's
Seaso7is as Physiography, Falconer's Siiipwi-eck as Navigation,
Milton's Paradise Lost as Theology, or Goldsmith's Deserted
Village as Irish Topography ?

53. To avoid some of the difficulties of classification,
especially in regard to overlapping classes or topics, attempts
have been made at national divisions, of which Mr. Cutter's
" local " list may be mentioned as an instance. There is a
considerable attraction about the plan of adopting nationality
as the basis for classification, and in many cases a real con-
venience would result. An ingenious mind could very easily
elaborate such a method by starting with the assumption that
all literature is divisible into two main classes, the Abstract and
the National. Books which treat of sciences or arts in the
abstract without particular reference to geographical areas could
be classified according to any minute scheme as at present.
Books treating of sciences or arts with reference to nationality
could be classified under each country in the order of the
abstract main classes. Thus a result would be obtained like
this :

Abstract. Class A, B, C, D, E, F, G, etc.

National. England. Class A, B. C, D, E, F, and so on.

We have never seen a classification proposed or carried out
on this basis, but the suggestion is worth consideration. So
far as real saving of numbers or places is concerned, we think
there would be none, because, if the Botany of England did

96 Manual of Library Classification — 53

not appear in Abstract, Class A, it would have to appear in
National, England, Class A ; and so with every other country.
We recommend this system to young librarians for considera-
tion and study.

Our descriptions of book arrangement on the shelves have
been mainly confined to those by authors, numbers, subjects,
and sizes ; but other proposals have been made from time to
time. It will be sufficient to briefly refer to Mr. W. S. Biscoe's
" Chronological Arrangement on Shelves," which was proposed
in the Library founial (1885). For certain subjects or special
collections a chronological arrangement has decided advan-
tages, but for general libraries it cannot be recommended.
Mr. Biscoe's proposal is to assign a letter for certain groups of
years thus :

A ^ Before Christ J = 1830 to 1839

P, = o to 999 K ■= 1840 to 1849

C = 1000 to 1499 L = 1850 to 1859

D = 1500 to 1599 M — i860 to 1869

E = 1600 to 1699 N — 1870 to 1879

F = 1700 to 1799 O = 1880 to 1889

G = 1800 to 1809 P — 1890 to 1899

li = 1810 to 1819 Q = 1900 to 1909

I = 1820 to 1829 R = 1910 to 1919.

Undated books to be approximately placed and marked with
the letter of the supposed date. Thus M would indicate a
book issued between i860 and 1869. All other books receive
letters and numbers in this manner: 1623 = E 23 ; 1814 =
H 14; 1898 = P 98, and so on. The letter represents a
century or decade, and the figures the actual year of the



54. This method of classification has been compiled largely
in response to a demand for an English scheme with a notation
enabhng continual intercalation of divisions and single topics
or books to be carried on. The Quinn-Brown method
(Section ^iZ) ^"^^ been used as a basis, but suggestions have
been freely adopted from every important classification described
in this Manual.

The name "Adjustable" has been taken to distinguish the
system from all others and to describe its principal feature.

The main classes are distinguished by the first eleven
letters of the alphabet, excluding I, and are arranged thus :

A. Sciences

B. Useful Arts

C. Fine and Recreative Arts

D. Social and Political Science

E. Philosophy and Religion

F. History and Geography

G. Biography and Correspondence
H. Language and Literature

J. Poetry and Drama

K. Prose Fiction

L. Miscellaneous
Should it be thought desirable to have more main classes, or
to divide any of those already fixed, double letters can be used
for the purpose, as shown below :

A. Natural Sciences D. Social Science
AA. Mathematical Sciences DD. Political Science

B. Useful Arts E. Philosophy

C. Fine Arts EE. Religion
CC. Recreative Arts And so on

98 Manual of Library Classification — 54, 55

When this is done, it will be necessary, or at least desirable,
to renumber the divisions under each main class, and change
the reference numbers in the index.

In each main class the class letter alone is given to general
works covering the whole or a considerable portion of the
subject matter of the class at large. Thus B would mark
all the general treatises or dictionaries on the Useful Arts ;
G general collections of Biography. The letters from M to
Z can be reserved for special or local collections which are
kept separate. It has not been thought advisable to provide
for an elaborate system of sub-classes, divisions, and sub-
divisions, but simply to number in one sequence of even
numbers each sub-class or division in its order. This enables
the class of most books to be easily expressed by the plain
notation of a letter and a figure or two — G 2, B 30, F 196, etc.
The odd numbers are reserved for fresh divisions of the main
classes, and it is thought this feature will be found useful in
most libraries where new subjects are continually cropping up.

If it is absolutely necessary to use more divisions than the
scheme provides, even when the odd numbers are all appro-
priated, this can be done by adding letters thus :










55. Minute sub-division to any extent may be carried out
by simply adding to the divisional numbers, after a hyphen,
a fresh series of odd numbers from i onwards in each case.
Thus one might get this progression :

G 12. Scottish General Biography G 12-5. Scottish Covenanters
G 12-1. ,, Artists G 12-7. ,, Monarchs, etc.

G 12-3. ,, Authors

which seems minute enough and clear enough for all ordinary
purposes. Further sub-division is quite unnecessary in most
public libraries 3 but should it be deemed absolutely indis-

Adjustable Classification Scheme — 56, 57 99

pensable, it can be carried out with a little extra complication
and trouble by starting another series of odd numbers after
a colon, so :

G 12-3. Scottish Authors, G 12-3:3. Scottish Novelists

General G 12-3:5. ,, Poets
G 12-3: 1. ,, Historians

But the plan of wide sequential numbering adopted in each
class should render the use of wearisome sub-division almost
needless in the majority of cases. As in the case of
divisions, alternate numbers only need be used, the even series
being available for additional sub-divisions.

56. In applying the system it is recommended that the
class letter and number be used for shelving and cataloguing
only, and that charging or other necessary registration be done
by means of the accession numbers. Each book as received
should get the usual progressive accession number, and in addi-
tion the class letter and number showing where it is to be located.
For this system it is not necessary to number alcoves, presses,
or shelves, as the books will stand in the order of the classifica-
tion herein tabulated. Additions can be made at any time
and at any point, and each book takes its place, if correctly
marked, among all the other books on the same subject.

In the catalogue it will be advisable to print both accession
and class numbers, one series on each margin, so that the
system can be applied to libraries using indicators, cards,
ledgers, or open access. Where an indicator is used the
accession numbers must be kept in one sequence, and in the
case of Cotgreave's variety the class letters and numbers must
be written into the indicator books, while in the case of Chivers'
variety the same must be done on the recording tabs, as a
direction to the assistant. Or a brief application form may be
used, giving both class and book numbers, as will be necessary
in the case of the ElHot or any other indicator having numbered

57. The arrangement of divisions on the shelves will be
by authors alphabetically. There is no absolute need to mark

100 Manual of Library Classification — 58

individual books further if this is done properly. The accession
number being used for charging, renders any system of author
marks unnecessary. In open access libraries the shelves should
be plainly marked with labels specifying their contents. Presses
should also be marked with the names of the main classes
shelved. It is further recommended that in such libraries the
books on all shelves be differentiated by means of coloured
labels, such as are generally used in British open access
libraries, in order to aid the eye in detecting misplacements.
The presence of a mere class or notation mark on the back of
a book is not sufficient in itself to prevent misplacement, owing
to the uniformity of the general appearance. It should be
possible to detect instantly such a transposition as G 10 for
C 10, without scanning each shelf carefully and separately.

58. Composite Books. When a book treats of two or
three different classes, in whole or part, it is not to be put in
Class L or L 34, but with the books in the class most fully
covered by the preponderating subject (see Section 51). The
author's description on the title-page is to be accepted as the
authority for the relative importance of classes, the first subject
word being always taken ; but where this is vague, bulk must
be taken to represent values. Thus a book entitled Hints on
Chemistry^ Engravings and Building Co7tsfrtiction, if put with
Class L or L34, is completely separated from all related
subjects ; but if marked A 250 x C 104 x B 60, and placed
after A 250, its composite character is at once indicated, and
the book shelved with the class of which its most important
section treats. Luckily main classes are very seldom mixed
like our example, unless in encyclopaedic works, and it will not
often be necessary to insert composite works Hke the one
mentioned. The main value of this composite marking will
be found in single main classes, in which examples frequently
occur of books treating of two or three distinct divisions.
YoTtunt^s Journey to the Capitals of Japan and Chi?ta (1863),
if put in F 454, " Asia, General," is widely separated from all
the other literature of both China and Japan ; and though the
catalogue would no doubt bring such scattered articles together,

Adjustable Classificatioji Scheme — 59 10 1

it is just as desirable that the shelves should give the same
information as far as physically possible. If, therefore, Fortune's
book is marked F508 x 470, the local section will be
strengthened, and the general section, always a dumping
ground for the vague or the complex, will be made less
unwieldy and overcrowded. One of the best descriptions of
the arid plains of Queensland will be found in Boothby's 0?i
the Wallaby, which contains a preliminary tour through Ceylon,
the Malay Peninsula, Java, and New Guinea. The title gives
some idea of this ; but a very brief examination of the book
will show the exact ground covered, and also bring out the fact
that Queensland is the preponderating subject. If marked
F 86, a valuable contribution to the descriptive topography of
Queensland is separated from all other books on that topic ;
but if marked F 1290 x 86, it at once takes its place with the
geographical division of which it principally treats, while at the
same time it is qualified in such a manner as to indicate that it
deals with other areas.

Three separate topics in one composite book seems a fair
limit for the " General," which is not general enough to be
separated from some alHed class or division. When more than
three independent classes are included in one book, it is best
that it should be treated as an encyclopedic composite, and
put in Class L 34. In the case of works treating of more than
three independent divisions of a main class, the same rule is
to be observed, the " General " number in each case being the

59. As indicated above (Section 54), special collections
of all kinds can be marked by the unused class letters M to Z.
It is generally best not to incorporate such collections in the
ordinary classification, but to shelve them apart. The books
in a special collection, of whatever nature, are to be classified
the same as other books ; but a qualifying letter can be used
to distinguish them. A collection of books on the county
of Northampton could be indicated by the additional class
letter N put before the ordinary class letter and number. For
example :

I02 Manual of Library Classification — 59, 60

NA 8. Scientific Societies, Jour- NG 8. Local Biography, General

nals, Reports, etc. NH 158. Glossaries

NA 62. Local Fauna NH 384. Libraries

NA 106. Ornithology NJ 14. Poetry
ND 434. Schools— Histories and And so on

Reports, etc.

In ordinary libraries the sub-division of countries can be carried
out by adding sub-divisional numbers to express the classifica-
tion thus :

F 750. Northamptonshire, Generally
750-1. Scientific Societies, Journals
750-3. Fauna and Flora
750-5. Geology

Special collections of a certain author's works can also
receive an independent letter ; but in this case the following
arrangement is recommended. In a collection relating to
Shakespeare, Scott, Burns, or other great author, proceed
thus :

Si. Collected Editions in Chrono- S 7. Musical Settings of Works

logical Order. Author s S 8. Dramatic Versions of Works

S 2. Collected Editions in Chrono- S 9. Pictures suggested by Works

logical Order. Editors' S 10. Biographies

S 3. Selections S ii. Correspondence, including

S 4. Single Works in Chronologi- Autographs

cal Order of Publication, S 12. Portraits

Originals and Reprints to- S 13. Criticism, History, and Aids
gether, and Parodies to Study of Works

S 5- Translations of Collected S 14. Periodicals and Societies

Works S 15. Ana, Scraps, etc.

S 6. Translations of Single Works S 16. Bibliography

Other varieties of special collections can be arranged in any
order to suit local conditions ; but as we have said before, it is
best to keep such collections separate, as there will always" be
a tendency to distort classes or divisions by including specially
fostered subjects.

60. In all schemes of classification the question of the
sizes of books crops up as a disturbing or qualifying factor.

Adjustable Classification Scheme — 60 103

It would be an extravagant waste of space to shelve Owen
Jones's Grammar of Ornament alongside Lewis Day's little
books on the same subject, or to place the huge atlases of
Johnston and Stanford cheek-by-jowl with pocket varieties.
Convenience, considerations of appearance, and even tradition,
all point to the separation of the great from the small as
inevitable. New libraries should therefore provide adequate
storage room for quarto and folio books in addition to ordinary
octavos, and this is best done by erecting special cases with
space for folios below and quartos above a projecting ledge
about three feet from the floor. The classes will run in three
separate sequences — one for demy 8vos and under, one for
royal 4tos and under, and another for folios larger than the
largest 4to and above that size. In the catalogue these can
be indicated thus :

Octavos, etc. No mark other than the class letter and number
Quartos By an asterisk before the class letter, *F90

Folios By a small cipher befo)-e the class letter, °F 90

Experience proves that qualifying letters or signs put after
numbers are generally overlooked. For staff purposes it is not
needful to put guides, dummies, or directs on the shelves
where folios and quartos ought to be. For the public, if open
access is allowed, a general statement explanatory of the triple
arrangement posted Hberally about will be found ample ; or
class location books can be used. In Lending Libraries it
will seldom be necessary, unless as regards Music, to provide
much folio or quarto space. There are several good varieties
of adjustable shelving now to be had, which greatly diminish
the difficulties connected with size classification.

It only remains to state, as regards the classification itself,
that the divisions " General " and " Special " provided all
through the tables are intended to render sub-division easy
when the library has attained very large dimensions. B 90
will probably contain every variety of complete general work on
Civil Engineering; while for years to come the division B 92
will serve to mark works on single parts of the main topic, as

104 Manual of Library Classification — 60

Bridges, Canals, Docks, Harbours, Roads, etc. When the
time arrives, the only fresh mark necessary will be a simple
figure added to the existing divisional number :

B 92-1. Bridges B 92-7. Harbours

B 92-3. Canals B 92-9. Roads

B 92-5. Docks

or whatever the subjects may be. There is no complication
about this, and the sub-divisional numbers may be kept from
the very first if thought necessary. The " Adjustable Classi-
fication " is not put forth as either perfect or complete, nor is
the index more than a fair selection of likely subject words.
Suggestions for improvement and notifications of errors or
omissions will gladly be received by the author.









SCIENCE, General


Theory and Philosophy



Biology, General

Theory and Evolution

Periodicals and Societies

Methods of Research

Microscopy and Laboratory

General Collectors' Manuals,

Systematic, General

Popular [Essays and Sketches
of Animal and Plant Life]
Zoology, Man, General
Periodicals and Societies

Ethnology and Anthropology
Natural History and Homo-
Anatomy, General


Periodicals and Societies
Physiology, General

Special Organs
Expression, Temperament
Zoology, Animal, General.

History, Theory











Systematic, General

Classification and Distribution

Local Fauna

Comparative Anatomy and


Popular [Essays and Sketches
of Animal Life]

Vertebrates, General

Mammalia, General


Primates (Monkeys, etc.)

Chiroptera (Bats)

Insectivora (Insect-eaters)

Carnivora (Flesh-eaters : Lions,
Tigers, Dogs, Cats)
Economic (Dogs, Cats, etc.)

Rodentia (Gnawers : Rats,
Mice, etc.)

Ungulata (Hoofed animals)

Sirenia (Manatees, vtil. Mer-

Cetacea (Whales, Seals, etc.)

Edentata (Sloths, etc.)

Effodientia (Pangolins)

Marsupialia (Pouched mam-
mals : Kangaroos)

Monotremata (Egg - laying
mammals : Platypus)

Birds, General


Manual of Library Classification

1 06

108. Economic Ornithology 180.
110. Raptores (Birds of prey :

Eagles, Owls) 182.
112. Insessores (Perching birds)

114. Scansores (Climbers : Parrots, 184.

Cuckoos) 186.
116. Rasores (Scratchers : Pigeons,

Pheasants, Fowls) 188.

118. Economic (Poultry) 190.

120. Cursores (Runners : Ostriches) 192.
122. Grallatores (Waders : Cranes,

Bustards) 194.
124. Natatores (Swimmers : Swans,

Ducks, Gulls) 196.

126. Periodicals 198.

128. Societies 200.

130. Reptiles, General 202.

132. Crocodilia (Crocodiles) 204.
134. Chelonia (Turtles, Tortoises)

136. Sauria (Lizards) 206
138. Ophidia (Snakes)

140. Amphibians (Frogs, etc.) 208.

142. Fishes, General 210.

144. Special 212.

146. Economic (Fish culture) 214.

148. Minor Classes of Vertebrates 216.

150. Invertebrates, General 218.

152. Crustacea (Crabs, Lobsters, 220.

etc.) 222.
154. Arachnida (Spiders)

156. Myriapoda (Centipedes) 224.
158. Insects, General

160. Economic, General 226.

162. Coleoptera (Beetles) 228.

164. Orthoptera (Grasshoppers) 230.

166. Neuroptera (Dragonflies) 232.

168. Hymenoptera (Bees, Wasps, 234.

Ants) 236.

170, Economic (Agriculture: Bee- 238.

keeping) 240,

172. Lepidoptera(Butterflies,Moths) 242,

174, Economic (Silkworms) 244

176. Hemiptera (Bugs, etc.) 246

178. Diptera (Flies) 248,

Entomological Societies and

Mollusca (Oysters, Snails,

Brachiopoda (Lampshells)
Echinoderma (Starfish, Sea

Bryozoa (Sea Mats)
Vermes (Worms)
Ccelentera (Sponges, Corals,

Protozoa (Animalculas,

Lowest forms of life)
Botany. Societies
General, Systematic
Popular (Essays and Sketches)
Phanerogamia, General
(Flowering plants)
Special (Flowers, Leaves,
Cryptogamia, General
Filicinae (Ferns)

Fungi (Mushrooms)
Algae (Seaweeds)
Local Floras
Economic, General

Special (Coffee, Cotton,
Flax, Tea, Tobacco, etc.)
Geology. Societies and Perio-
History and Theory
Systematic, General
Petrology. Lithology

Field and Popular

Palaeontology, General
, Mineralogy, General

, Crystallography

Tables of Adjustable Classificatio7i


250. Chemistry. Societies and

324. History and Theory


326. Systematic, General

252. Histoiy and Theory

328. Algebra

254. Systematic, General

330. Arithmetic

256. Inorganic

332. Book-keeping

258. Organic

334. Calculus

260. Analysis

336, Geodesy and Surveying

262. Electro-chemistry

338. Geometry, Conic Sections

264. Physics. Societies and

340. Logarithms


342. Mensuration

266. History and Theory

344. Probabilities, Annuity Tables

268. Systematic, General

346. Trigonometry

270. Electricity and Magnetism,

348. Weights and Measures


350. Metric System

272. Special

352. Occult Sciences, General

274. Heat

354. Alchemy

276. Hydrostatics, Hydraulics

356. Astrology

278. Light (Optics), General

358. Magic, Necromancy

280. Special

360. Mesmerism, Animal Mag-

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Online LibraryJames Duff BrownManual of library classification and shelf arrangement; → online text (page 8 of 13)