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Moys Classification And Thesaurus For Legal Materials


Elizabeth M. Moys (Betty) started work on her _Moys Classification for
Legal Materials_ as a project leading to her becoming a Fellow of the
Library Association (Great Britain). After university graduation,
library training, and experience as a law cataloguer in a leading London
law library, Ms Moys worked in two African countries. The second of
these was as Librarian of the then new and exciting University of Lagos
in Nigeria, where she had the opportunity of classifying the law
collection, while simultaneously building up the schedules of her
scheme. She returned to England and, after many years in academic
libraries, retired and has become a well established legal indexer. She
now publishes a journal for legal indexers under the title: Brief Entry.
She recently died.

At the time of her creation of the classification, there were no LCC
schedules for law. Her scheme arranges common law jurisdictions by
topic (as does the Canadian adaptation of LCC's KF), and non common law
jurisdictions by jurisdiction (as does LCC). It has dual notation: Class
K, as in Library of Congress and 340 as in DDC, so may be substituted
for either K or 34X, as some libraries substitute NLM's W for LCC's R.

The demand for a legal classification in Commonwealth countries lead to
its being published by Butterworths. The 4th edition, published
by Bowker-Saur, is in print.

Moys differs from Canadian KF in that it uses all of K (or 34X), and so
numbers are shorter, two letters and three numbers plus decimals at

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

When building a number using a table, be careful to add one less than
the number in the table, if the table is showing the breakdown of a
series of number.

We use Moys for several of our customers. It was used in the
University of British Columbia Law Library, is used at the British
Columbia Court House Library, and some other libraries in western
Canada. (Eastern Canada tends to use a Canadian adaptation of KF for
common law.) Moys is also used in Australia, England, Nigeria, and
other commonwealth countries.

Our Commonwealth and former Commonwealth country libraries continue to
like and use it. It does require classification of each title as
opposed to LCC or Canadian KF (where KF and non common law jurisdiction
CIP numbers can be used unchanged).

Moys considers fewer countries to be common law than Canadian KF. For
Moys it's England and Wales, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand,
United States, and West Indies. Canadian KF adds India, Singapore,
Hong Kong, South Africa, and former British colonies of Africa.

The common law countries have their own numbers for primary materials.
There is a jurisdiction and a topic index, which can also be used as a
list of subject headings. As you see above, there is a sequence for
the EC/EU as well as Europe as a whole and European countries.

Apart for having to assign numbers to all law titles, it is superior to
either LCC or Canadian KF in terms of the use made of legal materials by
lawyers in the Commonwealth. Lawyers seem to prefer it as doctors
prefer NLM.

The first question to ask yourself, "is this a common law jurisdiction?"
If so class by topic in KF-KN. If it compares two common law
jurisdictions, still class in KF-KN. (We had one customer who
disagreed with this.) If it compares a common law jurisdiction with a
non common law one, or two non common law ones, class in KB. If it is
just "in general" and there is no KA number, class in KB (which is
easier since KB divides by Table IIA unlike KA). If it is international
class in KC. For common law jurisdictions, class *only* source
materials, e.g., Constitution, by jurisdiction. If non common law class
everything by jurisdiction, dividing by the appropriate set of numbers
at Table II.

A lot of topics in the index lack the Table IIA number (if another
letter, look at the A number and go across to the right letter). If you
run into one of those, we probably have one written in our index.

There is an e-list for Moys users: