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Classification October 1, 2007

Posted by Mia in Collections.

LC classification is a useful thing; it isn’t just a shelf locator device for physical items, although certainly it was (and still is) very useful for that purpose. I hope that we are not rushing to throw the baby out with the bathwater by abandoning LC classification (along with the much maligned LCSH).

If you think of LC classification – not the author cutters – as a notational system, then it isn’t hard to see why it serves as a useful cross-index to LCSH, and vice versa. In the ClassificationWeb product, this type of cross-index already exists. Look up a subject, and get LC class ranges of possible clusters; look up a class number, get the subject approach. These are Useful Things.

Both systems, LCSH or LC classification, can be used as pivot points to indicate certain clusters of subjects.

There are many complaints about the biases (culturally) of LCSH and that these biases are built into the classifications; though that may be true, there isn’t any reason for not expanding any chunks of the notation.

I am a fan of both LCSH and LC classification because they are well-developed handles.