Over the next 18 months to two years from January 2019, Senate House Library will be undertaking a project to re-classify most of the open access Library stock into the Library of Congress Classification scheme.
There are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, as Library users will have already experienced, for historic reasons the Library collections are currently classified in a range of different classification schemes – including Bliss, Dewey, Library of Congress and Garside. In addition the Library is currently laid out in sequences according to specific collections – History, Music, Art, English and so on. Both of these factors can sometimes add to the difficulty of Library users navigating the Library and finding materials. With the intention of moving most open access materials into one standard sequence running from floor to floor it is hoped that this will improve the accessibility of Library materials for users.
Secondly, by moving into a commonly used classification scheme such as Library of Congress, in future it will be possible for the Library to receive many of its new acquisitions mostly already catalogued, classified and processed – “shelf-ready” – from our suppliers. This will aim to reduce the length of time between new book stock arriving in the Library and being available on the shelves and thereby increase the availability of new materials. In addition, as less cataloguing resources will be required for new acquisitions it is hoped that more resources can be diverted into improving the cataloguing and identification of some of the Library’s historic stock, acquired prior to the use of electronic and online catalogues and thereby improve the accessibility of these important legacy materials.
Re-classification will be a long process (up to two years) and more information and updates will be provided once the project commences and as it progresses.
“New Acquisitions” in the 4th Floor Periodicals Room
While this re-classification process takes place, from December 2018 newly acquired materials from all collections with the exception of Book Studies and Palaeography will be classified into Library of Congress and will be shelved together in the Periodicals Room. There will be one sequence for regular-sized books and a separate “Folio” sequence at the end for oversized materials.