ASSIGNING LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CLASSIFICATION NUMBERS
J. McRee Elrod
23 June 2011
LCC is built on letters (one, two, and sometimes three), followed by numbers up to four (not shelved decimally), followed by decimals. This class number is sometimes followed by a topic or geographic Cutter, before the main entry Cutter. Monographs then have the year of publication (add in the case of older records). In a few class numbers, the class number is followed by a year rather than a Cutter.
Our customers want a main entry Cutter after the year in that case, although LC does not always do that. Unlike DDC, LCC numbers are not always hierarchical, with numbers reflecting the relation between
broader and smaller subjects. This relationship is shown by indentations in the schedules.
Some LCC numbers are further divided by tables. Be careful to distinguish between tables in which you add the number in the table to the base number, and tables in which you add the number to one less than the base number (i.e., the number in the table is the sequence number in the range). When in doubt, search the first subject heading, or the class number, in the LC online catalogue to see the pattern in the LC shelf list. http://catalog.loc.gov/
For derived cataloguing, you take the number from field 050 of the MARC record (090 of many OCLC records). Note that if there is a second 050$a, you ignore it. It is the monograph class number for an
item LC classes as a series. If you have the policy of always classing as monograph, you would use the 2nd $a and add a main entry Cutter. Note that if there is a Cutter after the 2nd $a, it has no $b; the Cutter is a topic or geographic one, and a main entry one is still required.
We record the series and monographic call numbers in two 050s, and remove the 2nd $a, and put the one the customer wants in our local 090.
050 4 $bAB1234.56.C7$bD89 2002
050 4 $bAB1234.56$b.D89 2002
The "red books" Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) has LCC class numbers after the headings, and can serve as a general index to LCC (which only has individual indexes in each volume, no general
You will need the complete set of schedules which you would order from CDS at LC. The total cost is well over $1,000 (we've only been ordering new editions for over two decades).
The easiest way to determine an LCC class number for an item without one is to search the first subject heading against your database or the LC online catalogue, and look at the 050 in several records.
Do NOT use the Cutter-Sanborn Cutter tables with LCC. Use the practice outlined below.
"A" is Cuttered "2" unless it is the final number in the Cutter by many, in which case it is "3". (In the LCC table A is 3.)
The final number is never "1"; "1" is used with LCC Cutters for a translation followed by a number for the language, e.g. "14" for French, "15" for German. "2" is appended for an accompanying item or critique;
otherwise a Cutter should never end in "2".
Following LCC class numbers, the first two numbers are from the first word of the main entry, (and for SLC) the third number from the first letter of the title (if 1XX) not an article, or the next meaningful word
(if 245 main entry). In congested areas, a fourth and rarely a fifth number may be used.
Biographies are Cuttered by the biographee. Cutter criticism to stand with the work being critiqued. Add the number "2".
Where there are many main entries beginning with the same word in a number, e.g., "Canada", one may use sequential numbers, i.e., 110 1 C24 (government main entry), 110 2 C25 (organization main entry), 245 C26 (title main entry).
For acronyms with spaces, one may code the first space as "1", e.g. UN U15.
SLC continues the earlier practice of Cuttering numbers as if spelled in the language of the text.
Except for open entries (having year as part of holdings), year is always added*. For loose-leaf services SLC appends "+" to the year.
For literary authors where LCC class number represents a certain letter, and no number has been established for the author, use the second letter of the surname, two numbers from the surname, and a third from the first letter of the given name, and a second Cutter based on the title.
A memory trick is that usually a vowel is one less if following another vowel, e.g., "Put" P88 but "Out" O78. Skip "u" after "Q", e.g., "Quit" Q58.
When a letter falls between letters in the tables, use the number of the letter before, e.g., "Story" = S76, "Aaron" = A27.
After initial S
for the second letter: A C E H L R U X
use: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
After initial Qu
for the third letter: A B E I O R U X
use: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
for the second letter: A B E I O R U Y
use: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
for the second letter: B D L N P R S U
use: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
**The year follows the final Cutter except as noted, and for serials (the year forms part of the call number of individual volumes; see below). For monographs add the year from 260$c. For conference proceedings, add the year from 110 $d or 111 $d. For sets published over a span of years, give the span, e.g., 1956-89 (LC gives year of v.1). For sets still being published and loose-leaf services, add a
"+" to beginning year, e.g., 2000+ (LC gives year of v.1 for sets in progress, and no year for loose-leaf services). Some LCC class numbers are divided directly by year with no Cutter. SLC adds a Cutter following the year for such numbers (customers assume they are incomplete otherwise).
Substitute "0" for - and add a "z" for decades in 260$c, e.g., 260$c[199-?] = 1990z.
In giving years in holdings statements (they print on labels), some systems require that a split year have a backward slash, e.g., [1998\99] (a backward slash prints as a forward slash in the SLC label printing program, while a forward slash starts a new line); show a span of years with a hyphen, e.g. [1995-98] (there is a maximum of eight spaces).
In terms of the history of LCC, Judith Hopkins stated:
The first letters were not assigned randomly. The creators of the LC classification had studied earlier classification schemes, including Dewey's Decimal Classification, Cutter's Expansive Classification, and
Otto Hartwig's Halle Schema (a German classification). In the end they adopted none, but did *generally* follow the order of classes in Cutter's EC.
A comparison of the two classification schemes reveals the similarity in order of classes and even in some cases, similarity in first class letter.
Cutter's EC: Class LC:
A General works A
B-C Philosophy and Religion B
D Historical sciences. Eccl.hist. C
E Biography included in C
F History D-F
G Geography and travel G
H Social sciences H
I Sociology included in H
J Civics [Political science] J
K Legislation K
L Natural sciences Q
M Natural history Q
N Botany Q
O Zoology Q
Q Medicine R
R Useful arts. Technology S Agriculture
S Engineering T
T Fabricative arts T
U Art of war U
V Recreative arts. Music G and M
W Fine arts N
X Language P
Y Literature P
Z Book arts Z
The main difference was in the EC classes
V Recreative Arts. Music
W Fine arts
LC placed these classes (LC's M, N, and P) after the social sciences and education and before the sciences (LC's Q)
Since Philosophy and Religion was the first main class (after the Generalia class (A)) it is not surprising that LC assigned it to the letter B. The second letters were assigned randomly after LC had determined the general order of the main subclasses in each class.
This site allows you to search a known item on WorldCat, and see what DDC/LCC numbers it has been given: