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The University Library uses industry standard schemes to organise and describe the collections of our libraries.

This includes employing three classification schemes, which are chosen to suit the materials being organised, and two subject heading schemes, which are chosen to best describe the materials in the collections.

Classification Schemes

A classification scheme is utilised in a library to decide the shelf order of the physical materials, regardless of format (e.g books, journals, DVDs, etc). The scheme provides a ‘address’ for each item (known as a call number). The Library catalogue will provide a call number for each physical item in the collection, as well as telling which collection and which library the item is housed in.

Electronic Resources do not have a ‘call number’ or ‘collection’ as they have no physical location and ‘belong’ to all libraries.

The University Library uses three Classification Schemes to organise materials in the Library Collections.

They are:

  • Dewey Decimal (Broome Campus, St Benedict’s and St Teresa’s libraries)
  • Moys (Craven Law and St Benedict’s libraries)
  • National Library of Medicine (NLM) Classification Scheme (Benedict XVI library and St Teresa's Health Collection)

Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) scheme

The DDC scheme, the most widely used library classification system in the world, divides the entire world of knowledge into ten main classes according to disciplines or fields of study. Each of these main classes is further divided into ten divisions, and each division into ten sections. Each of these levels of the system is given a unique three digit number.

These numbers are then used to place the library materials in numerical order on the shelves for easy retrieval. The structure of the system means that books on the same or similar subjects will be shelved near each other (that said, it is worth remembering that a book may cover more than one subject and may therefore be classified so that multiple copies appear in more than one discipline area).

Moys Classification Scheme

The law collections are classified according to the Moys Classification Scheme, 5th edition. Unlike other disciplines, the study of law is usually approached in terms of its jurisdiction. The scheme splits law materials into primary materials (statute and case law) and secondary materials (treatises, reference materials and journals).

Under Moys, countries whose legal systems are based almost entirely on the English Common Law, i.e. England and Wales, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United States and the former British West Indian colonies are treated as one unit Territorial jurisdictions with Civil Law systems or legal systems not wholly based on the Common Law e.g. those in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe, are treated as separate units.
Moys numbers begin with the letter K. They are arranged by alphabetical and followed by numerical order.

K Journals and reference books KM Public law
KA Jurisprudence KN Private law
KB General and comparative law KR Africa
KC International law KS Latin America
KD Religious legal systems KT Asia and Pacific
KE Ancient and medieval law KV Europe
KF-KN Common law KW EC

National Library of Medicine (NLM) Classification Scheme

The NLM Classification covers the discipline of medicine and related sciences. The NLM Classification is a system which employs alphabetical letters to denote broad subject categories and then further subdivides these catagories by numbers.

The headings for the individual schedules are given in brief form (e.g., WE - Musculoskeletal System; WG - Cardiovascular System) and these headings are interpreted broadly and include the physiological system, the specialty or specialties connected with them, the regions of the body chiefly concerned and subordinate related fields. The Classification is hierarchical, and within each schedule, division by organ usually has priority. Each main schedule, as well as some sections within a schedule, begins with a group of form numbers ranging generally from 1-49 which are used to classify materials by the type of publication (e.g., dictionaries, atlases, laboratory manuals, etc).

The main schedules QS-QZ, W-WY, and WZ (excluding WZ 220-270) are used to classify works published after 1913; the 19th century schedule is used for works published 1801-1913; and WZ 220-270 is used to provide century groupings for works published before 1801 and Americana.

Subject Headings

Subject Headings are applied to each item within a library’s collection, and help library user’s locate to items in the library catalogue that cover a specific subject as well as helping them to find other items that cover similar subject matter. They are searched anytime the Library catalogue is searched using a ‘subject heading’, ‘subject keyword’ and ‘general keyword’ search.

Increasingly the subject headings are being supplemented in catalogue records by additional data such as ‘tables of contents’ and ‘abstracts’. These also contain ‘subject’ information but are less consistent and well chosen than formal subject headings.

The Subject Headings are drawn from established schemes that are maintained by a parent organisation on behalf of libraries worldwide.

The University Library employs two such schemes:​

LCSHeadings are applied to all items in the Library catalogue and MESHeadings are applied to items with a medical aspect. Both sets of headings will be searched in the catalogue when using the ‘subject heading’, ‘subject keyword’ and ‘general keyword’ search. These headings can also be searched in some of the subscription databases.

Electronic Resources such as ebooks and ejournals have Subject Headings applied to them by the vendor who provides them to the University Library.