An abridgment is a reduced form of a work produced by condensation and omission, but retaining the general sense and unity of the original. Summary, synopsis, epitome, condensation are all to be considered synonyms. An abridgment should not be confused with an adaptation, the latter consisting of a rewritten form of a work modified for a purpose or use other than that for which the original work was intended, such as a simplification for juvenile readers, or a change in form from fiction to drama. The subject cataloger is responsible for identifying an abridgment as such as requesting the shelflister to provide the required special treatment. This instruction sheet provides guidelines for classifying separately published abridgments, summaries, etc. of individual works. For the classification o f collections of abstracts, see F 480.


1. If the schedule has explicit provisions for abridgments, follow those provisions. For example, class abridgments of the Bible in BS418, which has the caption Epitomes. Summaries.

2. If the schedule does not have explicit provision for abridgments, class abridgments with the original work. The book number of the abridgment should be based on the book number of the original work, and should normally not be independently formulated.

3. Provide the shelflister with the complete call number, not just the class number, of the original work. To alert the shelflister as to the nature of the publication, write below the call number the term (abridgment). This term, however, will not be used in the formulation of the call number by the shelflister.

4. No original call number. In some cases there may not be a complete LC call number for the original work, such as when the abridgment is received before the original work. In such cases provide the shelflister with a class number appropriate for the original work, as well as a Cutter letter based on the main entry heading of the original work. Add (abridgment) below to the class number and letter.

See also:

Special Topics, Categories of Material, Etc.