LC Classification

As a reminder, we do all of our placement of books by the Library of Congress Classification system. It’s probably easiest to see this when you are in the library and going to the sections of the collection you frequent most often – but perhaps a little less obvious when you are skimming through some of the new book lists (which are also sorted in LC order – to better help you to locate them when you visit!).

Mostly, the Stamps Theological Library utilizes the B-BX range (Philosophy, Religion). A link to the subfields in this area of LC classification is found at the Library of Congress homepage: http://www.loc.gov/aba/cataloging/classification/lcco/lcco_b.pdf  Other classification numbers, particularly in DS (Israel and Judaica materials), PA (Greek and Latin) and PJ (Hebrew and Aramaic), and Z (bibliographies) are found here as well.

A little known fact — the LC Classification system was built upon a system begun by Thomas Jefferson, as the Library acquired his book collection after the Capitol burned down in 1814 (the LC collection was stored there). His classification system had 44 categories and was used by LC until the latter part of the 19th century.

A second little known fact — I have a special connection with the LC Classification tables! In my work-life before APU I was a research analyst at the Library of Congress and served on a team to help to develop the electronic versions of the classification (I worked on the social sciences – H schedule and on some parts of religious law) and authority files (the way you find information on authorship). Amazingly, only about 20 years ago, these massive schedules were still prepared in typewritten form. Librarians and computer scientists at LC worked on the schedules for a number of years to enable them to be easily updated and automated. One of my lasting reminders of the work — I worked on the cover artwork for the printed schedules to include an image of the ceiling of the main reading room (pictured above) to distinguish it from any others. You can see what it looks like here as the design is still in use.

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