Essential Classification, Second Edition

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author
  • Reviews

Classification is a crucial skill for all information workers involved in organizing collections. This new edition offers fully revised and updated guidance on how to go about classifying a document from scratch. Cataloging authority Broughton leads the novice classifier step by step through the basics of subject cataloging, with an emphasis on practical document analysis and classification.  Her book deals with fundamental questions of the purpose of classification in different situations, and the needs and expectations of end users. The reader is introduced to the ways in which document content can be assessed, and how this can best be expressed for translation into the language of specific indexing and classification systems. Key areas covered include:

  • the need for classification;
  • the variety of classification;
  • the structure of classification;
  • working with informal classification;
  • management aspects of classification; and
  • classification in digital space.

Fully updated to reflect changes to the major general schemes (Library of Congress, LCSH, Dewey and UDC) since the first edition, and with added chapters on working with informal classification, from folksonomies to tagging and social media, this new edition will set catalogers on the right path.

Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.


1. Introduction2. The need for classification3. First principles of classification4. The variety of classification: systems and structures5. The classification scheme: internal structure6. Types of classification scheme7. Order in the classification scheme8. Content analysis 1: document description9. Content analysis 2: practical constraints10. Controlled indexing languages11. Word-based approaches to retrieval12. Library of Congress Subject Headings 1: basic headings13. Library of Congress Subject Headings 2: structured headings14. Classification scheme application15. Library of Congress Classification 1: basic classmark construction16. Library of Congress Classification 1: use of tables17. Dewey Decimal Classification18. Universal Decimal Classification 1: general properties and basic number building19. Universal Decimal Classification 1: auxiliary tables20. Faceted classification21. Managing classification

Vanda Broughton

Vanda Broughton is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Studies at University College London (UCL), and Program Director for the MA in Library and Information Studies Program. She has taught, written and led training courses on classification for many years. She is Editor of the Bliss Bibliographic Classification, Second Edition and Associate Editor of the Universal Decimal Classification. She is the author of two other Facet titles, Essential Library of Congress Subject Headings and Essential Thesaurus Construction.

"The book's greatest strengths are its focus exclusively on classification (i.e. without the descriptive cataloging element), a strong theoretical component, and greater focus on UDC. The additional inclusion of profuse examples, exercises (with answers), and bulleted summaries makes the book useful as an introductory library science text, a self-learning manual, or a refresher."

"An exemplary introduction to library classification. Broughton writes with uncommon lucidity and clearly understands how to make her subject come alive with interesting and engaging examples. An indispensable guide to neophyte catalogers and classifiers, this book is highly recommended for libraries collecting in library and information science."
— Catholic Library World

"A basic yet comprehensive treatment of the subject of classification ... I recommend this book to anyone interested in gaining a strong foundation in classification, but most particularly to those new to the topic. It also would be useful to more seasoned catalogers who simply want to see the whole picture of what classification is and does."
— Technicalities

"Whether the reader is a library science student, an entry level cataloger, or even an experienced cataloger who is looking for a refresher and some new skills, this book gives basic knowledge to begin assigning appropriate headings and call numbers to any resource ... Broughton's book is an essential resource for library science students interested in cataloging and metadata, as well as an asset to librarians and staff in a cataloging or metadata department."
— Technical Services Quarterly