Thursday, June 17, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 24 - Library Classification System - ACPL

The challenge for week 24 of 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy by Amy Coffin is:

Read about the differences and understand the different ways of classification. You may have heard of the Dewey Decimal Classification system, but do you really know its nuts and bolts? What about the Library of Congress system? Check out some web sites for summary information on Dewey Decimal Classification, Library of Congress Classification (including Understanding LoC Call Numbers). Don’t worry if it seems confusing. Just look at the categories and ways library items are organized. Do you see other areas that may include books of genealogy interest? Explore those areas of your library for other materials. Bloggers are encouraged to share their experiences with this challenge.

I thought I would take this time to explain the classification system that is used at the Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Center. They use a system that makes it very easy to find genealogy books based on place.

Each region in the world is given a three digit number. For example western states in the US are given the number 978. The 978 books include books on Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

Then each a decimal number is added to break that region into smaller pieces (like states or provinces). For example, Kansas books are 978.1, Nebraska books are 978.2, South Dakota books are 978.3.

If you want to find books that cover the entire state of Kansas or large regions of Kansas you would find those books in 978.1. If you are looking for books on one county, you would look under 978.101 followed by a letter-number sequence. Allen county, Kansas books are found in 978.101 AL5. Greenwood county, Kansas books are under 978.101 G85. All counties are in alphabetical order in the 978.101 section.

If you are looking for a book on a particular city in Kansas, you look under 978.102. Madison, Kansas materials are found in 978.102 M26. Eureka, Kansas is under 978.101 EU72.

So to review, states are dot something. Counties are dot something 01. Cities are dot something 02.

If you are looking for military books, they have their own call numbers. General US military books are in 973 and divided further by wars. But World War One and Two books are in 940. All family histories are in 929.

Once you learn the system, you can easily find your materials when you are browsing the shelves (as long as you can find the stack).

If you ever visit ACPL, make sure to look at the reference desk and pick up the handouts on how to use the library. The pink "Finding Your Way in the Book Stacks" sheet will tell you what call number and stack to find each location (as long as they don't change the color). And the map will tell you where to find the stacks are located.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like the numbers for the regions and states are right out of the Dewey Decimal System.