Classification column appearing in v. 31, no. 4 (June 2006) of the Technical Services Law Librarian


We have certainly been living in exciting times lately as catalogers: LC’s announcement that it will no longer create series authority records, rumors that the Library of Congress Subject Headings would be eliminated next; RLG’s merger with OCLC; Karen Calhoun’s report for LC on the nature of the catalog; and OCLC finally implementing code i for integrating resources. It’s been hard to keep up with all the e-mail discussions. All of the above has led me to thinking about the practice of Classification and its future. I assume all of us are assigning classification numbers to most physical materials which cross our desks for cataloging. We want these items to be placed on the shelf in a logical and browseable order so that our patrons can retrieve them easily. But what about electronic/virtual materials which are not on a shelf and don’t need a classification number to be retrieved? Do we assign classification numbers to them? When the majority of materials at LC are online and all their stacks are closed (in other words not browseable by patrons) will LC cease assigning LC classification numbers and maintaining the schedules?