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library work. If a general rule may be stated it would be as follows: the more knowledge one has of a classification system, and the more thoroughly one examines the subject matter of each book the more nearly will the classification be correct.

After one has examined the title page, the preface and subject matter of a book and has determined the predominant subject the next step is to turn to the index of the classification and locate the subject and the corresponding number or letter. Then the classifier should turn to the number or letter in the system in order to make certain that the place selected is the most suitable. The index to the Decimal Classification refers to two or more places for some subjects; the different references indicating where different phases of a subject should be classed. If a book is devoted to two different subjects as physiology and hygiene it is usually classified under the first subject treated in the book, but it may also be classified under the general subject which includes the two subjects of the book. If it treats of three or more subjects it should be classed under the general subject including all of them. Some books, however, treat one subject from the standpoint of another, as for example physiological chemistry, social psychology, mathematical philosophy. In such cases the book is usually classified under the last subject, but there may be books which should be placed under the first subject. A social psychology may treat the subject of sociology more fully, and more definitely, than that of psychology, if so it should be classified under sociology, but there are few books of this kind.

The classifier should aim to do exact work. That is to determine the predominant subject of each book and to place it under the the corresponding subject in the scheme of classification. There are certain local problems, however, peculiar to almost every library, some of which may have some influence in determining where books shall be classified. In a college library, for example, a professor may think that every book ordered for his department should be classed in the department whether it properly belongs there or not. In such instances the classifier may have to make some concessions.

In many of the medium sized and smaller libraries of the country novels are not classified according to any system but arranged on the shelves, in alphabetical order, by author's names, and individual biographies indicated by using the letter "B". In the case of biography the book number is selected from the name of the subject and thus the volumes are arranged in alphabetical order.

Book classification is not an exact science. Books are not written with a view of fitting into a scheme of classification, although most of them do fairly well. While the number is not great, some are very general in scope and do not fit any subject exactly, and again others treat two or three subjects which are widely separated in a scheme of classification. Then again some books and pamphlets are published each year on new subjects, that is on subjects for which no provision has been made in a system of classification. In such cases the classifier must select the topic in the system of classification most closely related to the subject of the book. In order to meet the demands for new subjects a system of classification should be frequently revised. The foregoing facts have been mentioned in order to indicate why book classification is not an exact science; nevertheless the method of procedure is scientific and is not very unlike the method employed in the classification of plants and animals.

Questions and References.

Give examples (five) of books classified by means of form

tables illustrating geographical sub-division of subject; as for example classification of Report on Education in Ohio, or Plants of Kentucky. Explain how the notation

is formed in each case. What is meant by close classification? Give a brief account of the lives of the authors of the

Decimal, Subject, and Expansive Classifications. Explain

the basis of classifying poetry, the essay, the novel? What is meant by "fixed" classification?

How should a set of books, each on a different subject, be classified?

Brown, James D. Subject Classification, pp. 7–20.
Sayers, W. C. Berwick. Canons of Classification, Chapter 2.
Dewey, Melville. Decimal Classification. Introduction,

pp. 7-21.
Hanson, J. C. M. Library of Congress classification for

college libraries. Library journal, 46: 151–52. Cutter, Charles A. Suitability of the Expansive classi

fication to college and reference libraries. Library

journal, 24: C 41–49. Tandy, F. D. Some suggestions in regard to the use

of the Decimal classification. Public libraries, 4:

139—41. Martel, Charles. Library of Congress classification.

American Library Association, Bulletin, 5: 230—32.

Arnett, Elements of Library Methods.



On account of the large number of books published each year it is necessary for librarians to exercise more or less care in selecting them. From 8000 to 9000 volumes are published in the United States, about the same number in Great Britain, and from 6000 to 8000 each in Germany and France, besides those published in Italy, Spain, Japan, and other countries. The largest libraries may purchase, or otherwise obtain, a majority of the books published but the small library can purchase only a small fraction of the annual production. The number has become so large that it is doubtful whether any library no matter what size really wants all of them.

In selecting books the three things to take into consideration are the present resources of the library; the present demand, and possibly the future demand, for books; and the funds available for purchase. Unless the library is a special one devoted to a few subjects, the aim is to have a fairly well balanced collection. This aim, however, is not absolutely necessary, for if books on some subjects are not used, and are not likely to be used in the future, it is a waste of funds to buy on those subjects. While demand is the chief guide the number of books selected for purchase on any one subject should not be determined entirely by present demand. Two reasons why this should not be followed exclusively are that the demand for novels is always persistent and if entirely satisfied would lead to the purchase of too many books of this class; and that the librarian can, to some extent, direct the reading by means of advertisements and thus create a demand for new subjects.

Every library is limited in its purchases of books by available funds. There is a relationship between the size of the library and the size of the book fund, the large library having a fairly large sum while the small library has only a small amount. Care in selection should be exercised by every librarian in order to

the books most needed, and most suitable, and to avoid the purchase of those that will never be used. The task, however, is more or less difficult in any library but in the face of so many new books each year, and with a small book fund, it is most difficult in the small library.


By Whom selected.

Books are selected not only by the librarian but by committees, professors, teachers and other patrons — depending in part upon the kind of library. For school and college libraries teachers and professors select most of the books; for public libraries the library staff and patrons select most. Selections are made by the librarian and others as a result of favorable book reviews; upon recommendation of persons who have read the books; because of the reputation, scholarship and experience of author; and from selected lists of books compiled for the use of librarians. For the public library most of the books are actually selected by the librarian and library staff but lists must usually have the approval of a book committee before purchases are made.


Advertisements and Book Reviews.

The advertisements and books reviews the first sources of information about new books. Advertisements in the form of announcements are frequently in print before the book is off the press. The announcements set forth the good qualities of the book, name its purpose, and often give table of contents. Advertisements in magazines and journals are somewhat similar except briefer in form. They frequently include an abstract from some review of the book. Neither

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