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.
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, the Dewey Decimal System, and the Putnam Classification System (developed while Putnam was head librarian at the Minneapolis Public Library). 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.
In 2007 The Wall Street Journal reported that in the countries it surveyed most public libraries and small academic libraries used the older Dewey Decimal Classification system.
The National Library of Medicine classification system (NLM) uses the initial letters W and QS–QZ, which are not used by LCC. Some libraries use NLM in conjunction with LCC, eschewing LCC's R for Medicine. Others use LCC's QP–QR schedules and include Medicine R.
Class A – General Works
Class B – Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Class C – Auxiliary Sciences of History
- Subclass C – Auxiliary Sciences of History
Class D – World History and History of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
Class E – History of the Americas
- Class E does not have any subclasses.
Class F – History of the Americas
- Class F does not have any subclasses, however Canadian Universities and the Canadian National Library use FC for Canadian History, a subclass that the LC has not officially adopted, but which it has agreed not to use for anything else
Class G – Geography, Anthropology, Recreation
Class H – Social Sciences
Class J – Political Science
- 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
Class L – Education
Class M – Music
- Subclass M – Music
- Subclass ML – Literature on music
- Subclass MT – Instruction and study
Class N – Fine Arts
Class P – Language and Literature
The PN-subclass shelf.
Class Q – Science
Class R – Medicine
Class S – Agriculture
Class T – Technology
Class U – Military Science
Class Z – Bibliography, Library Science
- Subclass Z – Books (General). Writing. Paleography. Book industries and trade. Libraries. Bibliography
- Subclass ZA – Information resources/materials
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.)
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.
"FT MEADE" and "Copy 1" are specific to the Library of Congress collection, where FT MEADE refers to a facility located at Fort George G. Meade. All libraries that use LCC assign call numbers that begin "PZ7.J684 Wj 1982" to their copies of the 1982 edition of this book.
- ^ a b 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.
- ^ Claire Kelley. "A library classification system that’s older than the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress models".
- ^ Andy Sturdevant. "Cracking the spine on Hennepin County Library's many hidden charms". MinnPost, 02/05/14.
- ^ Hickey, Doralyn J. (1969). "The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy". JSTOR 4306016.
- ^ Taylor, A. G., & Joudrey, D.N. (2009). The organization of information. 3rd ed. Englewood: Libraries Unlimited.
- ^ Chan, L. M.(2007). Cataloguing and classification: An introduction. 3rd ed. Scarecrow Press.
- ^ National Library of Canada. "Class FC: a classification for Canadian history" (PDF). PDF publication. National Library of Canada. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
- ^ Rutherford, D. "Canadian History Call Numbers". Queens University Library. Retrieved May 21, 2018.