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Basic Terminology
and Historical Perspective






Classification Terminology: Historical Perspective

1.2.1 Relation to other Terminologies in Library Science
1.2.2 Nature of Terms


Classification Terminology: Indian School of Thought


Sources of Classification Terminology



Meaning of "Classification"
Universe and Entity
Group and Class
Attributes and Characteristics
Kinds of Library Classification
Disciplines and Subjects
Categories, Facets and Isolates
Arrays and Chains
Classification Schedules
Species of Classification




Answers to Self Check Exercises


References and- Further Reading

This Unit explains the importance of terminology for a scientific subject like
classification. It also familiarises you with the fundamental concepts/terms associated
with the discipline of classification. After reading this Unit you will he able to:

understand the importance of technical terminology in a scientific subject; and

grasp the meaning of terms and their use in the theory and practice of library classification.

A term may be defined as a standardised name for a. given entity or concept which is precise.
Terminology, in its turn, is defined as a system of terms used to denote the classes or ranked
isolates in a scheme for classification. There should always be a one to one correspondence
between the concepts and the terms used. It means that each concept will be denoted by one
word or phrase, and conversely a word/phrase will denote one concept only.
In a scientific/academic/legal communication, precise terminology is not only important
but most essential. Effective communication cannot take place unless concepts and terns
representing them are precisely defined. Predefined words are also known as technical
terminology. Paradoxically the ordinary language that the common man speaks is both
rich and poor. It is full of homonyms, i.e., one and the same term is often used with two
or more meanings. For example, "bridge" and "cricket" have two meanings each. The
word "order" has more than 200 meanings in the Oxford English Dictionary? Further, a
word may connote different meanings in different contexts' A line of poetry has different
meanings for different people. It (language) is also full of synonyms, i.e., one concept
may be denoted by more than one word in the same language, e.g., wages, salary, and pay
denote the same concept. Thus ordinary language is not

Elements of Library

a perfect tool of communication. If this is used without modifications in a scientific

discipline, it will lead to problems in communication and ultimately hinder the development
of the discipline. A Tower of Babel will lead only to chaos and confusion instead of any
understanding and progress. The solution is to have a precisely defined terminology. No
discipline can progress without its technical terminology.
In other words, there should be an organised attempt to:
delimit the vagueness of words and eliminate ambiguity;
establish an agreed standard terminology free from homonyms and synonyms
for each subject-field; and
iii) lay down methodology to coin new terms, when new ideas come into being or
an old term has to be replaced.
S.R. Ranganathan (1892-1972) was of the view that scientific terminology is of dual
importance to librarians. Firstly, librarians and information scientists have to learn
the technical terminology of other disciplines to communicate with and serve library
users effectively. Secondly, we have to understand the terminology of our own
discipline to discuss technical matters with colleagues for research and, development
of our discipline and profession.


Library classification as an academic discipline is about 125 years old. Its teaching and
research has gained momentum comparatively recently. It must be admitted, however,
that the terminology is not well settled.
One of the principal contributions of Professor S.R. Ranganathan (1892 -1972) to library
classification, besides his intuitive and intellectual contributions, is the terminology for
expression of ideas. The development of the terminology of library classification in
India came along with the development of the theory and practice of classification. It
grew at a faster pace between the sixties and eighties. This is due to intensive
developmental research in the field.
The spread of jargons in classification to an international circle can said to be fostered by
the CRG (Classification Research Group) in London. The CRG members have had very
close contact with Ranganathan and critically analysed each of his terms. They refashioned
some of them and retained many of them as such and provided explanatory notes to the
definitions and then spread them to library schools in Britain and other countries.
Textbooks began to appear using many of the concepts, which Ranganathan had
The First International Study Conference held at Dorking principally supported by CRG
saw to it that a comprehensive glossary of terms was developed for use at the international
level. The glossary was compiled by B.C. Vickery for the benefit of the new audience.
This movement was very well complimented by the FID (International Federation for
Information and Documentation/Federation Internationaled' Information et de
Documentation) congress, and FID/CA (Committee on Classification Theory) in which
Ranganathan himself was very much involved in the propagation of ideas. The growth of
the terms in the second, third and fourth study conferences indicated a steady
improvement in classification research.
Today, we can find that the contribution of Ranganathan to classification terminology
is almost an integral part of any classification research, teaching, learning or writing.

1.2.1 Relation to other Terminologies in Library Science

Classification is a vital discipline in the field of library and information science and pervades
all the other sub-fields of library science. Thus, the terminology of library classification is an'
interactive terminology. The symbiotic nature of classification and cataloguing has taken a
common link in relation to subject indexing terms. Many of the verbal plane rules of
classification terminology can also act as rules for cataloguing terminology.
In relation to reference service, classification provides the analytic and synthetic framework
for; efficient handling of reference work and service. Many of the classification terms can be
used! in more or less the same fashion in reference and information work. Thus, a streak of
symbiosis' can be seen between the two sub-fields of library science. To a certain extent,
management aspects of libraries can be explained using classificatory terminology.

To conclude, classificatory terminology is crucial to the development of the discipline of

library science. It can be considered, so to say, that the intellectual framework of library
science lies in classificatory terminology.

Basic Terminology
and Historical Perspective

1.2.2 Nature of Terms

In an analysis of classification terminology, Prasad (1986) had identified three types of
terms - normative, fundamental and associative. Normative terms are operative in nature
and prescribe the procedure and help identify the expected quality of the operations that
would result from such prescriptions. Example: Canon of Differentiation.
Fundamental terms, on the other hand, define the basic concepts which are germane
to the very nature of classification process. Examples: Division, Characteristics.
In their turn, associative terms are those which extend the, meaning of the
fundamental terms into different contextual levels for discussion and operation in
classification research. Example: Open-ended array.
This table presents a census of terms, which are grouped according to their nature:

Nature of Terms

No. of Terms

% of the Total No. of Terms


Normative terms




Fundamental terms
Associative terms


21 4

Thus, there are in all 514 technical terms used in the three editions of the Prolegomena.
These terns have been distributed in the three planes of work- Idea Plane (298 terms),
Verbal Plane (35 terms) and Notational Plane (181 terms). In addition to the terms, many
new terms and refinement of old terms have resulted due to the work undertaken at DRTC
(Documentation Research and Training Centre) by Ranganathan and his followers.
Further, the interdisciplinary nature of classification called for coordination of
epistemological, logical, psychological, mathematical, linguistic and sociological
concepts and terms in papers and discussion at the Third International. Study
Conference on Classification Research held at Bombay in 1975. The universality of
classification concepts, then- capability to interconnect several diversified approaches
to classification and ordering of knowledge were discussed at the conference.
"International Classification" (now called Knowledge Organisation), a periodical
publication from Frankfurt, West Germany began work pertaining to the
consolidation of terminology occurring in classification literature. Classification
vocabulary started getting refined further and made extensive use of concepts
pertaining to Systems Theory, Computer Science, Communication Theory, etc.
FID/CR (Committee on Classification Research) brought out several country reports
at this juncture and Bliss's Classification Group brought out several depth versions of
the scheme.


During the last 100 years, a number of schemes of library classification have been
designed in the world. At its meeting held in Brussels on 16 September 1955 the
General Assembly of FID adopted a resolution to the effect that necessary steps
should be taken to prepare a glossary of classification terms. As a first step in this
direction, it was recommended and agreed to in 1957 that each school of thought on
the theory of classification should prepare the glossaries of terms used by it and
finally these glossaries should be collated to arrive at a Universal Comprehensive
Glossary of all the classification terms.
Further, with increase in Iiteracy and the phenomenal expansion and increase in
number of libraries in the country, there was a need to have an authoritative and
comprehensive glossary for the guidance of technical staff engaged in libraries. The
Documentation Sectional Committee of, he Indian Standards Institution (now known
as Bureau of Indian Standards) took up the preparation of a glossary of classification
This glossary of classification terms current in the Indian School of Thought has been
arrived at through three stages.

Elements of Library

In the first stage, not only terms of the Indian School but also of all other schools of
thought in English speaking countries were taken. The definitions included in the first
draft were taken from the ALA Glossary and the works of Henry Evelyn Bliss,
Donker Duyvis, S.R.Ranganathan, W.C. Berwick Sayers, B.C. Vickery and Frand S
Wanger, Jr. In the second stage, the draft included only those terms that were
considered by the Sectional Committee as fit for retention. These included some
alternate terms and some alternate definitions. At the third and final stage,
suggestions received as a result of wide circulation of the second draft were
considered and the final standard was prepared.
This standard IS: 2.550-1963, contains 23 chapters under three broad headings :
classification in general, universe for library classification, and classification of the
universe of knowledge.
These core/basic concepts of classification are enumerated under the following

Universe and entity

Group and class
Attributes and characteristics
Disciplines and basic subjects
Categories, facets and isolates
Arrays and chains
Schedules for classification
Species of classification for subjects

In the succeeding sections, an attempt is made to familiarise you with some of the
core or basic concepts/terms of classification in general. Other classification terms
are explained in the section Key Words of Units of Course BLIS- 03: Library
Classification Theory and Course BLIS- 03P: Library Classification Practice.


The following are sources for classification terminology :

ALA Glossary of Library Terms; 1956


BLISS (H E), Bibliographic Classification; 1-11, 1952



Classification and Communication; 1951


The Series on Common Isolates (Review of Documentation, 23-25; 1956-57)

iii) Prolegomena to Library Classification; Ed 2, 1957

iv) Classified Catalogue Code; Ed 5, 1964

Library Classification Glossary (Annals of Library Science, 5; 1958; 76-112)

vi) Colon Classification; Ed 6, 1959 and Ed 7, 1987

vii) Elements of Library Classification; Ed 3, 1961
viii) Notational Plane: Interpolation and Extrapolation. (Annals of Library
Science. 10; 1963; 1-13)

SAYERS (W C Berwick)

Manual of Classification; Ed 3, 1955


Introduction to Library Classification; Ed 9, 1958


VICKERY (B Q. Faceted Classification.


WANGER (Frank S). Dictionary of Documentation Terms. (American

Documentation 11'; 1960; 102-119).


Basic Terminology
and Historical Perspective

Most of the terms with definitions were used for the first time in the first edition of
Prolegomena to Library Classification (1937). The definitions, in this section 'have been
taken from Ranganathan's Prolegotrena to, Library Classification, 3rd ed. Vol..1. 1967.

1.5.1 Meaning of Classification


In popular usage, the term "Classification" is used in two or more senses. In other
words, the term `Classification' is a homonym".
To facilitate correct communication, this homonym should be resolved. Classification
in Sense 1

"Process of sorting the entities of a universe into sub-aggregates on the basis of a

preferred characteristic, or putting like entities into the same sub-aggregate and
unlike entities into different sub-aggregates".


"The result of division in the Sense-1 - that is, a set of sub-aggregates" formed
by the division of the entities of a universe.

The alternate terms for divisions are classification in Sense I and specification.
Classification in Sense 2
"The process of the division of a universe into groups plus -that of arranging the
groups in a definite sequence --- that is, of Ranking that is, assigning a Rank to each
resulting group".
The result of the assortment of a universe in the first sense.
The alternate term is classification (Second Sense: Common Use) - classification, in
the first sense and arrangement of the resulting groups in a preferred sequence.
Classification in Sense 3
Classification in Sense 2 plus Representing each entity by an ordinal number taken
out of a system of ordinal numbers, designed to mechanise the maintenance of the

Either when an entity has to be replaced after having been taken out of its


Or when a new entity has to be interpolated or extrapolated in the correct place

in the sequence'".

1.5.2 Universe and Entity

There are substantial terms in the Theory of Classification" which are assumed
terms. While "some of them are given some explanation, some are defined by being
linked together in a statement.
"Any existent, concrete or conceptual -that is, a thing or an idea" is an entity for
"example: A boy,-A book, Sweetness, A system of philosophy, A subject of study".
"An aggregate under consideration in a given context", aggregate, in its turn, "is a
collection of entities, without any special arrangement among them".
Universe may be of three types:
Finite Universe

:A universe with a finite number of entities, e.g., Students in a


Infinite Universe

:A universe with an infinite number of entities, e.g., Universe of


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Growing Universe :"A universe with new entities added to it or emprging,in it from
time to time, e.g., Subjects of study

1.5.3 Group and Class

Any sub-aggregrate of the entities formed by the division of the entities of a
universe is a group.
Groups, in their turn, are of two types:
Unitary Group

Group consisting of one and only one entity.

Multiple Group

Group consisting of two or more entities.

Class is a ranked group and ranking is "arranging in a definite sequence the groups
formed by the division of the entities of a universe, so as to arrive at an- assortment
of them".
Classes are of two types
Unitary Class

"Class comprising one and only one entity".

Multiple Class

"Class comprising two or more entities".

1.5.4 Attributes and Characteristics

Attribute is any property or, quantitative measure or quality possessed by or inherent
in an entity. Ranganathan has cited the following examples in the Prolegomena.
The following are some of the attributes of a book:
Form of expression, such as catechism, drama, prose, narrative, pictures, etc.
Year of publication
The following are some of the attributes of a system of philosophy:
Number of ultimate principles assumed, such as monism, dualism and pluralism;
attitude towards reality, such as idealism and realism; country of origin.,
On the other hand, a characteristic is "an attribute, or any attribute-complex with
reference to which the likeness or unlikeness of entities can be determined and at
least two of them are unlike".
"Height is a characteristic of boys. But, possession of a face is not. Possession of a
face is an attribute shared equally by all boys".
Characteristics, in their turn, can be of different types.
Natural Characteristic: A characteristic possessed in common by all the entities in
the universe considered and inherent and inseparable from the entities For example,
height or age or ability of a person,
Artificial Characteristic: A characteristic possessed in common by the entities in
the universe considered but not necessary for -their being included in the universe.
Examples Clothe; worn by a person, Mode of dressing hair.

Division Characteristic: A "characteristic used as the basis for the division of the
entities of a universe. For example, the aggregate of boys in a classroom is a
universe. If we sort them on the basis of their height, then the Division Characteristic
is height and the boys of the same height form a sub-aggregate". (Vide. See 1.5.1

Basic Terminology
and Historical Perspective

Assortment Characteristic: A "characteristic preferred as the basis for the assortment

of a universe
1.5.5 Kinds of Library Classification
When entities are books or other items of information, their classification is called
Library Classification. Library classification has also been defined as classification of
knowledge as contained in the books and other reading material. Library
classification is ostensibly utilitarian in the sense that it has an immediate purpose.
Library classification has got many meanings. It is Book Classification when it is
used to arrange books and other macro documents on the library shelves. When it is
used to arrange not the books but records to them, i.e., catalogues, or bibliographies it
is called Bibliographic Classification. The Dewey Decimal. Classification (DDC)
was designed to be a book classification, whereas the Universal Decimal
Classification (UDC) was designed to be a bibliographic classification. The term
bibliographic classification is also used for depth or detailed classification., Detailed
classification required for micro documents is known as Depth Classification. Library
of Congress Classification is relatively a depth classification. A classification which
is not too detailed and meets the requirement of small libraries is called Broad
Classification. 'Rider's International Classification. (1961) and early editions of the
DDC are broad classifications.
Classification for a smaller area of knowledge, say for economics, occupational
safety, environmental engineering, or leather technology, is known as Special
Classification. Special classification of the entire universe of knowledge is known as
General Classification. Some call it Universal Classification:
Library classification, whatever its kinds, may be defined comprehensively as:
A systematic arrangement by subject of books and other learning resources and/or
similar systematic arrangement of catalogue or index entries in the manner; most
useful to those who are seeking. either a definite piece of information or the display
of the most likely sources for the effective investigation of the subject of their choice.
- Rita Marcella and Robert Newton
The purpose is to facilitate the optimum use of library resources. It is a tool for
information retrieval both in manual and automated retrieval systems.
Self Check Exercise

Name the different kinds of library classification.

Note : i) Write your answer in the space given below.

ii) Check your answer with the answers given at the end of this Unit.
1.5.6 Disciplines and Subjects
In a modern library the arrangement of documents is usually by subject. Thus, subject
is the characteristic of division for arrangement, of books. A Subject is a
systematised, homogeneous and cohesive group of thought or a chunk of knowledge
whose depth and breadth are comfortably within the intellectual competence and; the
field of specialisation: of a normal intellectual person. But in library classification we
are mostly concerned with what is known as a specific subject. A specific subject is
always in the context of a. document. A specific subject of a document is defined as
the subject of the document "whose extension (scope/breadth) and intension
(depth/specificity) are equal to the thought content of the document.


Elements of Library


Knowledge has been divided into major areas called Disciplines.

A Discipline is a major continuous area, of knowledge formed on the basis of either the
similarity of the objects of study (i.e., whether natural objectives, or social issues); or,
obtained by a similar mode of study or method of acquiring knowledge (i.e., whether
imaginative, or empirical). Broadly speaking there are three major disciplines of the
universe of knowledge:
Sciences (study of natural objects)
Social Sciences (problems of society)
Humanities (by imagination/perceptions)
However, connotations of a discipline vary from time to time. Nowadays all classifications
are by disciplines - a breakthrough made by Melvil Dewey (1851-1931). A topic may fall
under various disciplines.
Disciplines are further divided into basic subjects or main classes. A main class is,
conventional but very cohesive area of knowledge. In library classification it is more or
lens the first line of division of the universe of knowledge. A traditional subdivision of
an old main class is known as a Canonical Class. For example, heat, light, magnetism,
electricity are canonical classes of the main class physics. Similarly algebra, geometry,
analysis are canonical classes of the main class mathematics. Obviously the canonical
classes are only of an ancient or traditional main class. A new main class such as
library science, journalism, computer science does not have canonical classes. Main
classes expounded from a school of thought; say Marxian economics, or Newtonian
physics or Homeopathy medicine, are known as System Main Classes. A main class
studied from a specialised viewpoint, say aviation medicine, child medicine, sports
medicine, or small scale economy are known as Special Main Class. Similarly a main
class expounded from a physical or social milieu or environment is known. as
Environmental Main Class. For example, war economy, high altitude engineering,
tropical medicine are examples of environmental main classes. Main classes as such,
canonical, systems, special and environmental main classes, when taken together, are
known as Basic Subjects..
Ranganathan postulates that there are three kinds- of subjects:
Basic subjects
Compound subjects
Complex subjects
Basic subjects are subjects which:
a) are enumerated in the schedule of-basic subjects;
b) cannot be expressed as the compound subject of any of the existing basic subjects;
c) are evolved through one full cycle of the spiral of scientific method as
propounded by Ranganathan.-They also exhibit different modes of formation of
subjects; and
d) call for schedules of Special Personality Isolates, Matter Isolates and Energy Isolates.
Library Science, Physics, Algebra; Ayurvedic Medicine, Marxian Economics,
Psycho-analysis are some of the basic subjects. The concept of a basic subject is
social. The total number and connotations of a basic subject vary from age to age and
also from society to society. For example, the number of basic subjects in the sixth
edition (1960) of the CC was about 150 but in .the seventh edition (1987) it has risen
to more than 750.
A Compound Subject is a basic subject when it has at least one focus, or has at least
an aspect, i.e., it has a basic facet and one or more isolate facets. Agriculture is a
basic subject, but agriculture of wheat or diseases of wheat plants are compound
subjects. Psychology is a basic subject but child psychology, or personality disorder
are compound subjects. The number of compound subjects in this universe is infinite.
A Complex Subject, on the other hand, is a two phased subject and is formed by the
combination of two or more basic or compound. subjects, and made to express the
relation between them, but excluding, the case when one of the subjects forms an isolate
of the other, formed by subject device. Examples: psychology for nurses; comparative
study of Indian and British constitutions; or influence of geography on history, or relation
between anatomy and physiology. Such subjects are mostly interdisciplinary. The process
of analysing a complex subject into its constituent phases is known a. Phase Analysis.
(For a full discussion on Phase Relation, see Unit 8 of Block '3 of Course BLIS-:03).

Self Check Exercises


Define the terms Discipline and Subject.


What are the three kinds of subjects according to Ranganathan?

Basic Terminology
and Historical Perspective

Note: i) Write your answers in the space given below.

ii) Check your answers with the answers given at the end of this Unit.

1.5.7 Categories, Facets and Isolates

A solitary, unattached idea, which cannot be further, subdivided, and by itself it
cannot form a subject, is called an isolate. For example, the terms wheat, child, India
are isolates as by themselves they are vague. These have meanings only in the
context of a main class. For example, wheat diseases, child psychology or India:
history have meanings. An isolate is the ultimate division of knowledge. Going back
a little, Ranganathan defines a compound subject as a basic: subject forms a
compound subject having one or more isolates, An isolate is the context of a basic
subject forms a compound subject and a Basic Subject is a basic subject without an
isolate idea.
Isolates are grouped in what are called facets on the basis of-common characteristics. A
facet is thus a totality of isolates obtained on the basis of a single train of characteristics
of a given entity. As a matter of fact, Ranganathan defined facet as "A generic term
used to denote any component- be it a basic subject or an isolate - of a compound
subject, and also its respective ranked forms, terms, and members". We may speak of
Basic Facet, Isolate Facet, Geographical Fact,Language Facet, Educational Facet
Property Facet, Organ Facet, Cultivar Facet, etc.
The totality of the facets having a common characteristic form a category. For example,in library science all the facets pertaining to the kinds of library, j-.e., academic, public,
special, form a category named personality category, in this 6ase. Yet; another "category
-is the library activities, i.e., acquisition, processing, servibes, preservation, called
energy category in this case. A category is a highly, generalized division of knowledge.
Ranganathan postulates that a subject is constituted of at the most ' five fundamental
categories, namely, Personality, Matter, Energy, Space and Time (see Unit 7, Block 3 of
Course BLIS-03). In other words all the concepts of the universe of knowledge belong
to five and only five fundamental categories

1.5.8 Arrays and Chains

Isolates are arranged in what are called arrays and chains. ,An array is a sequence of
coordinate (equally ranked) classes arranged in some definite order. Ranganathan
defines array as "a set of classes arranged in the proper sequence and derived from a
universe, on the basis of a single characteristic at any step in the progress towards a
complete assortment of the entities of the universe". For example, all the student of
BLIScoutse, when arranged in some order, say by roll number, or alphabetically by
name or in order of merit, form an array.' Similarly, the sons and daughters of the same
parents are said to form an array. All th4 continents of the world form an array; and all
countries of the world when arranged in some order form an array. The army of classes,
in its turn, can be an open array when admitting of extrapolation and a closed array
when. not admitting of extrapolation. A systematic or utilitarian arrangement of
members of an array is called Helpful Sequence. This arrangement is called helpful,as it
is helpful to the majority of the classification users though not to all. Broader groups in
an array are arranged in what is called a Filiatory Sequence. It means placing together
closely related .classes. The order of main classes in J.D. Brown's Subject Classification
(1906) is in the evolutionary order of matter 7 force - life - mind - record.


Elements of Library

A chain is the sequence of class6s of a universe consisting of a class and of its universe of
successive removes, carried backwards to any point desired-that is, all the members are of
unequal rank and are arranged in the order of constantly decreasing extension and
increasing intension. The order in a chain is from general to specific or in the reverse order
of specific to general. For example, the World, Asia, India, Maharashtra, Mumbai form a
chain of classes in this or reversed order. Similarly social sciences, economics, finance,
money, banks form another chain of classes. Your grandfather, your father, and you form
a chain of classes, but all your brothers and sisters form an array of classes. The
arrangement of entities in a chain is always hierarchical.

1.5.9 Classification Schedules

Library classification invariably requires written has of damps and their subdivisions
arranged in a systematic way along with corresponding symbols denoting classes. This
systematic and elaborate list of classes is known as Schedules. Schedules along with an
alphabetical index of classes referring to their symbols, and with some auxiliary
concepts called common subdivisions, is known as Classification System. There are
various systems of classification, e.g., the Dewey Decimal Classification,
Ranganathan's " Colon Classification, and the Library of Congress 'Classification.
There are about half a dozen living general classification systems. An index is an
alphabetical approach to the systematic schedules. Topics which are scattered by
discipline in the schedules are collocated in the index.
In addition to the schedules which are the core of a classification' system, there are some
auxiliary tables ' of some recurring concepts, say geographical isolates, time isolates;
language isolates, form of presentation of the document (e.g., whether a dictionary or a
cotiferenc6 proceeding) or to "physical format, say book, journal, floppy, maps, CDROM or 4 videotape. These recurring concepts are issued once and for. all along with
their given symbol. These auxiliary concepts are known as Standard Subdivisions in the
DDC; Common Isolates in the CC and Common Auxiliaries in the UDC. These usually
represent the various non-subject aspect of a document or some peripheral but recurring
subject aspects.
The schedules may be either in print form or in electronic form, say, on a floppy or CDROM. The DDC, 21st edition (1996), is available in a CD-ROM format entitled Dewey
for Windows.
A designer of a classification system is known as classificationist. S.R. Ranganathan,
Melvil Dewey, H.E. Bliss, C.A. Cutter are a few outstanding names of classificationists.
A person who operates these systems is known as classifier. Through BLIS-03P Course
you are learning to be a classifier. The majority of the librarians are; classifiers, too.

1.5.10 Species of Classification


There are broadly speaking two species of classification systems - enumerative and faceted.
Enumerative classification is that in which all classes and their corresponding
symbols are enumerated, i.e., listed. It "consists essentially of a single schedule
enumerating all subjects of the past, the present and the anticipatable future". In
'other words, the symbols or series of symbols for a, class are available readymade
and the classifiers do not, have any. need or authority to construct a number. The
Library of Congress Classification System, the Rider's International Classification
and the early editions of the Dewey Decimal Classification are examples of an
enumerative classification system. Enumerative classifications are contemptuously
described as mark and park systems.
An Almost Enumerative scheme for classification, consists of a large schedule
enumerating most of the subjects of the past, the present, and the anticipatable future,
and in addition a few schedules of common isolates. Subject Classification of,
Brown and Dewey Decimal Classification are good examples.
On the other hand, the other species of classification is known as Faceted classification
which consists of schedules of basic classes, common isolates and special isolates only
and includes the Almost-Faceted, Rigidly-Faceted and Freely Faceted classification. By
definition, "an Almost-Faceted scheme for classification consists of a large schedule
enumerating most of the subjects of the past, the present and the anticipatable future; and
in addition a few schedules of common isolates and also, some schedules of special
isolates". For example; Universal Decimal Classification and Bibliographic Classification
of Bliss. In the next type, the "Rigidly-Faceted scheme for, classification, the facets and
their sequence, are pre-determined for the entire subject

going with a Basic Class". The first three editions of Colon Classification which have
given a facet formula for each basic class are good examples of Rigidly-Faceted
schemes. But, "in a Freely Faceted Scheme for Classification, there is no rigid, predetermined Facet Formula for the Compound Subjects going with a Basic Subject". It,
essentially is an, Analytico-Sythetic Classification guided by postulates and principles.
While, editions 4, 5 and 6 of CC can be described as almost-freely faceted schemes for
classification, edition 7 of CC can be considered as a fully freely faceted scheme for

Basic Terminology
and Historical Perspective

Self Check Exercise

Name the different schemes of classification.
Note - i) Write your answer in the space given below.
ii) Check your answer wit le answers given at the end' of this Unit,




It is well known that subjects should be arranged in a helpful filiatory sequence on the
basis of a scheme of successive characteristics. Further, there is a need to mechanise the
arrangement, To "mechanise". means to eliminate the need to remember or consider the
exact connotation or denotation of the classes in their mutual relation. These two aids
make the, following additional concepts necessary: 1) Terminology;, and 2) Notation.
The importance of terminology has already been highlighted in Sec-1-1.,
As regards mechanising an arrangement of subjects in a preferred sequence, one
possibility is alphabetical arrangement. But, alphabetical arrangement, of subjects by
their names, as 4 means of mechanising their arrangement must, be ruled, out:

as the sequence it gives is not helpful

as the names of subjects are not stable
as the names of subjects are not unique
as the alphabetical position of a subject would vary with the language from
which the name is taken
as the subjects denoted by a term are not unique.

Hence, there is a need for a notational system for mechanising the arrangement of subjects
in the preferred helpful sequence. The core/basic concepts in the context of a notational
system are discussed below. For definitions, refer to chapter C J of CC 7th ed.
Notational Plane: Terminology
Cardinal Number

The term "number" brings to ones mind the, ten lndoArabic numerals only and the use of them as cardinal
numbers those numbers used in. counting and in
expressing measures;

Ordinal Number

The term "ordinal number'' denotes that the number

is used for fixing the position of an entity in a sequence,

Freedom in Ordinal Number

: It is possible to use any digit other than IndoArabic numbers as an ordinal number by defining its
ordinal, value among other digits. Examples, Roman
smalls, Roman capitals,


Elements of Library

punctuation marks, and some other simple

characters, that is, "distinctive marks".
Use in Colon Classification :

Ordinal Numbers are used in CC.

Notational System

: The term "notational system" denotes the system

of numbers used by a scheme for classification.


: The term "notation" denotes any number in

the notational system.

Notational System of CC

The notational system of CC consists of ordinal



: The term "digit" denotes a single, isolated,

primary symbol, that is, character, that is, a
"distinctive mark", .used in notational system
of a scheme for classification.

Substantive Digit

: The "substantive digit" denotes any of the

digits - Roman small, Indo-Arabic, Roman
capital, Greek letter - enumerated in CC.

Number of Substantive Digits

The total number of substantive digits used in

the notational system of CC is sixty.

Digits used in CC
Roman Small

: The term "Roman small" denotes each one

of the digits a b e d e f g h j k m n p q r s t u v
w x y z.. It may be noted that i, 1 and o have
been excluded from this list, as they give
difficulty in writing, typing and printing taken

Indo-Arabic Numeral

:The term "Indo-Arabic numeral' denotes each

one of the digits 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9.

Roman Capital

: The term "Roman capital" denotes each one

of the digits A B C D E F G H I L M N 0 P Q
R S T V W Z, excluding "I" and "C' except
when used to represent the Main Subjects
"Botany" and "Literature", respectively.

Greek Letter

: The only Greek letter used is `A' (Delta).

Ordinary Indicator Digit

: The term "ordinary indicator digit" denotes each

one of the digits mentioned below:

Anteriorising Digit

(Arrester Bracket)



(Single inverted comma)

(Equal to)
--> (Forward arrow).
+ (Plus)
(Semi Colon)
( (Starter Bracket)
: The term anteriorising digit" denotes each 'of the
digit (Backward arrow) and " (Double inverted

Number of Indicator Digits

: The total number of indicator digits used in the

notational system of CC is fourteen.

Species of Digits

: The term "species of digits" denotes the digits used

in the notational system of CC.

Number of Species of Digits

: The total number of species of digits used in the

notational system of CC is six.'

Base of the Notational System: The base of the notational system of CC consists of
sixty substantive digits.
Mixed Base

: The notational system of CC has a mixed base, as it

consists of more than one species of digits.,

Capacity of the Base

: The capacity of the base of the notational system of

CC is sixty.

Mixed Notation

: The notational system of CC is a mixed one, as it

has a mixed base and further includes the fourteen
indicator digits,' forming altogether two different

Total Number of Digits

: Thus, the total number of digits used in the

notational system of CC is seventy four.

Ordinal Value of Digit

: The ordinal values of the digits used in the

notational system are indicated below:

Basic Terminology
and Historical Perspective

The digits of each of the first three species, mentioned in CC, stand arranged in their
respective sections, in the ascending sequence of their ordinal values; these are
traditional ordinal values.
Arranged in the ascending sequence of their ordinal values, the first three species of
digits will stand as follows:
Roman smalls, Indo-Arabic numerals, and Roman capitals.
The ordinal value of the digit "A (Delta) lies between those of the digits '"M" and "N".
The digits of the species "ordinary indicator digits", stand arranged in that section, in
the ascending sequence of their ordinal values.
'Obviously, the ordinal value of the digit ")" (arrester bracket) is the lowest of those
of all the digits, and that of the "(" (starter bracket) is the greatest.
The ordinal sequence of the ordinary indicator digits should be taken as postulated in
order to get helpfulness in the sequence-of the class number (CN) using them.
When arranged in the ascending sequence of their ordinal values, all the digits,
mentioned above will stand in the following sequence:
) & ` . : ; ,-=- + a b...y z 0 1...8 9 A B... M A N...Y Z (
Digits with Anteriorising Value: The digits * (asterisk), +(plus) " (double inverted
comma), - (backward arrow) have anteriorising value. On account of this, their
ordinal values need not be prescribed in relation to the digits of other species. The
ordinal values of these digits among themselves in ascending sequence of ordinal
values is as follows:
* +
Example of double inverted comma:
B"a B Ba, is the correct sequence. Because the digit " (double inverted comma) has
anteriorising value, B"a precedes B. In fact, any host number followed by the digit "
(double inverted comma) will precede - that is, Will be anterior to the host number.
This is the significance of saying that the digit " (double inverted comma) by the term
"anteriorising digit
Example of backward arrow:
V,2;1`M92 History of India brought upto 1892
V,2;1`M94 +- M92 History of India from 1892 to 1894
V,2;1`M94 ' History of India brought upto 1894, is the correct sequence.
Because the digit F- (backward arrow) has anteriorising value, this correct
sequence is secured.
Place Value of a Digit: The place value of a digit is as in a decimal fraction, unless it
is stated to be part of an integer of two or more digits, in any specific context. A
decimal point is taken as understood before all CC Numbers,
Advantage I of Decimal Fraction Notation: Interpolation' Possible
In decimal fraction notation, any. number or numbers can be inserted between two
consecutive numbers. For example, if 22 and 23 are read as integers, we cannot insert
another integer between them. But, if they are read as decimal fraction, 221,
222,....229 lie between them. Again 2211, 2212,
2218 also lie in that interval. In
fact, theoretically, an infinity of numbers lie in that interval and they can all be
inserted as and when needed.


Elements of Library

Advantage 2 of Decimal Fraction Notation: Place Value Constant

In a decimal fraction notation, the addition of a digit on the right does not in any way
affect the place value of the digits existing already. On the other hand, if the numbers
are used as integers, it would completely change their place values. For example, let
us compare the place values of the digits in the integers 2, 25, and 258. In the first
number the place value of 2 is only 2. In the second number, 2 has got the place value
20 and 5 has the place value 5. In the third number 2 has got the place value 200, 5
has the place value 50, and 8 has the place value 8. Consider 2, 25, and 258 as
decimal fractions. In the third number also the place value of 2 is only 2/10; so also
the place value of 5 is only 5/100; and the place value of 8 is 8/1000.
Equivalent to the Terminology in the Idea Plane
Corresponding to the terms such as Basic Subject (BS) and isolate idea in the idea
plane, we can have in the notational plane terms such as Basic Class Number (BCN)
and Isolate Number (IN). We can also have the terms Compound Class Number
(CdCN) and Complex Class Number (CxCN).
Array in the Notational Plane
An array in the notational plane is a set of coordinate single digits or quasi digits
arranged in their ordinal sequence.
Self Check Exercises

List the reasons for ruling out the alphabetical arrangement of subjects by their
ordinal sequence


Define "Notation" and "Notational System".

Note : i) Write your answers in the space given below,

ii) Check your answers with the answers given at the end of this Unit

In this Unit, we have discussed the importance of terminology and traced the
'historical perspective of classification terminology with emphasis on the Indian
School of Thought.
The core/basic concepts of classification discussed pertain to,: Universe and Entity;
Group and Class; Attributes and Characteristics; Kinds of Library Classification;
Disciplines and Basic Subjects; Categories, Facets and Isolates; Arrays and Chain;
Schedules for Classification; Species of Classification; and Notation. In addition,
some of the classification terms have been explained in the section `Key Words' of
Units of Course BLIS-03 : Library Classification Theory and Units of Course BLIS03P : Library Classification Practice.




The different kinds of library classifications are Book Classification,

Bibliographic Classification, Depth Classification, Broad Classification, Special
Classification, General Classification/Universal Classification.


A Discipline is a major continuous area of knowledge formed on the basis of

either similarity of the objects of study (i.e., whether natural objectives or social
issues); or

obtained by a similar mode of study or method' of acquiring knowledge (i.e.,

whether imaginative or empirical). A subject is a systematised, homogeneous
and cohesive group of thoughts or a chunk of knowledge whose depth and
breadth are comfortably within the intellectual competence and the field of
specialisation of a normal intellectual person.

According to Ranganathan, there are three kinds of subjects, namely, Basic

Subjects, Compound Subjects, and Complex Subjects.


The different schemes of classification are:




Enumerative Classification


Almost-Enumerative Scheme of Classification


Faceted Classification


Almost-Faceted Scheme of Classification


Rigidly Faceted Scheme of Classification


Freely Faceted Scheme of Classification.


Scatter of related subjects


Change in subject names through the passage of time


Subjects have more than one name (synonyms)


Names having more than one meaning (homonyms)


Multiplicity of languages

Basic Terminology
and Historical Perspective

Notation denotes any number in a notational system. Notational system, in its

turn, denotes the system of numbers used by a scheme for classification.


Foskett, A.C. (1977). Subject Approach to information. 3rd ed. London: Clive
Bingley. Mills, J. (1960). A Modern Outline of Library Classification. Bombay: Asia
Publishing House.
Prasad, K.N. (1986). Development of Classification Terminology: Contributions of
Prof. S.R. Ranganathan. In : Ranganathan, T.S. (ed.). Ranganathan Philosophy:
Assessment, Impact and Relevance. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House. pp. 246256.
Ranganathan, S.R. (1987). Colon Classification. 7th ed. Edited by M.A. Gopinath.
Bangalore: Sarada Ranganathan Endowment for Library Science.
Ranganathan, S.R. (1967). Prolegomena to Library Classification. 3rd ed. Bangalore:
Sarada Ranganathan Endowment for Library Science.