Classification of Islamic literature in Pakistani libraries

Haroon Idrees (Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan)
Khalid Mahmood (Department of Library and Information Science, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Publication date: 23 March 2010



The purpose of this paper is to draw an exact and accurate picture of classification problems being faced by libraries having a reasonable amount of collections on Islam. Different classification systems have been developed during the last two centuries to organize library materials. Where these systems provided libraries with better solution for organization of materials, the systems have also some limitations. Religious materials are one of the areas where these systems could not satisfy a reasonable number of libraries. The libraries that have rich collections on Islam are also facing such problems. This study has been conducted with the aim of addressing this problem.


The study comprises a precise review of literature relevant to this problem, along with the collection and analysis of data from such libraries from all the main cities of Pakistan. The data have been collected using the interview technique.


The review of literature and empirical data collected for this study show that the libraries are facing problems regarding the classification of materials where there are rich collections on Islam. The standard classification systems have not provided proper place and enumeration to Islamic topics in their schemes. There is no standard or uniform practice among the libraries to classify materials on Islam. Different libraries are using different systems, which has resulted placement of same materials at different locations. There is no coordination among libraries having rich collections on Islam for some common plan of action to resolve the problem in hand. No work on automated classification has been done in Pakistan so far and this is the area that needs working on in the future.

Research limitations/implications

The paper focusses on materials in libraries in one country only, however highlights issues relevant to other Islamic countries in organizing such materials.


The paper discusses an area of professional concern that has been discussed widely in Islamic countries, but only in a limited fashion outside of Islamic countries. Thus the paper should be of interest to researchers and practioners interested in cataloging theory.



Idrees, H. and Mahmood, K. (2010), "Classification of Islamic literature in Pakistani libraries ", Library Review, Vol. 59 No. 3, pp. 149-164.

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