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The Library World Volume 12 Issue 1

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Publication date: 1 August 1909


THIS scheme of exact classification has now been long enough upon trial to justify the publication of a few explanatory notes, adjustments, and revisions which may be useful to present and future users of the system. For an entirely new scheme, which to some extent broke fresh ground, its reception has been extremely kind and flattering, and although it has not escaped criticism, nothing has appeared which has been anything but reasonable and helpful. A surprising circumstance has been that, notwithstanding the very controversial nature of much of the subject, so few points of difference have appeared. These are all more or less directed against the mere placing of certain topics and do not to any extent reflect upon the theory or structure of the system as a whole. One mistake has been made, however, of a more important nature, but this must have arisen either through misapprehension or carelessness. It has been assumed that the Subject Classification claims to be thoroughly scientific, and that each class is arranged in a logical and evolutionary order, so as to modulate or merge naturally into its successor. Any modest claim which may have been made to an attempted logical order is invariably qualified by a statement in the “Introduction” to the effect that such perfect order is only to be expected to a very limited extent. On page eight it is stated that—“The departments of human knowledge are so numerous, their intersections so great, their changes so frequent, and their variety so confusing, that it is impossible to show that they proceed from one source or germ, or that they can be arranged so that each enquirer will find the complete literature of his special subject at one fixed place.” All through the tables and the introduction the same kind of limitation is insisted upon, and it can only be due to misunderstanding to say that I have made such a preposterous claim to sequential perfection. No librarian who has attempted to compile a system of exact classification would ever dream of claiming that he did more than get as near as possible to an ideal arrangement in accordance with his basal plan.


(1909), "The Library World Volume 12 Issue 1", New Library World, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 40-80.




Copyright © 1909, MCB UP Limited