Four Major Classification Schemes

Source: John Feather and Paul Sturges (ed.) (1997). International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science.

Library of Congress Classification (LCC)

The scheme of classification drawn up by Herbert Putnam in 1897. Although based in some respects on the Dewey Decimal Classification and Cutter's expansive schemes, it does not conform to theoretical rules for classification. It was quite explicitly compiled to meet the needs of the library's huge collection of books and is too detailed and complex for use in small libraries. It has, however, been adopted by research and university libraries throughout the world.

Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)

Devised by Melvil Dewey and first published anonymously in 1876, since when it has been revised nineteen times. Knowledge is divided into the ten main classes, each designated by a numeral from zero to nine, which can then be subdivided by the addition of two numerals before a decimal point and further numerals after it. It has a relative index which shows the relation of each subject that is indexed to a larger subject (or class or division). The published schedules have been extended and modified in successive editions.

Universal Decimal Classification (UDC)

Essentially an elaborate expansion of the Decimal Classification of Melvil Dewey, using various symbols in addition to Arabic numerals to create long and expressive notations for particular documents. This makes it particularly appropriate for use in specialist libraries and collections, and its adoption by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has ensured its worldwide use. It was developed by the Institut Internationale de Bibliographie, now FID, under the direction of Paul Otlet and Henri la Fontaine.

Colon Classification (CC)

Designed by S.R. Ranganathan, it is based on the classification of any subject by its uses and relations, which are indicated by numbers divided by a colon ':'. It was the first example of an analytico-synthetic classification, in which the subject field is first analysed into facets, and class numbers are then constructed by synthesis. Ready-made class numbers are not provided for most topics but are constructed by combining the classes of the various unit schedules of which the scheme consists. It has proved particularly popular in India and has inspired classification researchers in many parts of the world.