The purpose of this publication is to provide to the subject cataloging staff of the Library of Congress guidelines for establishing Library of Congress classification numbers and assigning them to library materials. The work is not intended to be a comprehensive work on classification theory nor an exhaustive explanation of the Library of Congress classification system. Rather, it is an accumulation recurring questions that arise when using the LC classification.

The decision to publish this work was made because it was felt that these guidelines would be of use and of interest to the large number of practicing catalogers who use the LC classification and wish to assign classification numbers in the spirit of LC’s own policies and practices. This manual provides guidelines for formulating only the classification portion of the LC call number. It should be used in conjunction with the Subject Cataloging Manual: Shelflisting, which provides guidelines for formulating the unique book number portion of the call number.

The complete Subject Cataloging Manual used by LC subject cataloging staff is in four parts, each consisting of individual instruction sheets that are assigned alphanumeric codes. The four categories of instruction sheets and their corresponding code letters, are as follows:

image\POINT_BL.gif D General Cataloging Procedures

image\POINT_BL.gif F Classification

image\POINT_BL.gif G Shelflisting

image\POINT_BL.gif H Subject Headings

Only the portion that deals with classification (F) is included in this publication. The shelflisting portion (G) and the subject headings portion (H) are available separately under the titles Subject Cataloging Manual: Shelflisting and Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings. Since the general cataloging procedures (D) portion deals only with internal workflows at the Library of Congress, there is currently no intention to publish it.

The manual begins with a historical note on the Library of Congress Classification that includes a listing of the dates of the original editions of the schedules. This historical information is followed by the individual instruction sheets that are listed in the table of contents in the order of the code number assigned. Gaps have been left between many numbers, allowing other topics to be added as necessary. A typical instruction sheet consists of a background statement that provides historical perspective or theoretical considerations, followed by a list of procedures to be carried out when dealing with a particular situation or topic. As an aid to better understanding the procedures, examples are frequently provided of actual titles selected from the MARC bibliographic data base or invented to illustrate the point. An alphabetically arranged index is located at the end of the manual.

See also:

Subject Cataloging Manual - Classification: Contents