A role for classification: the organization of resources on the Internet

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Matveyeva, Susan J.

Matveyeva, Susan J. (2002) A Role for Classification: The Organization of Resources on the Internet. MLA Forum, no.1:2.


The author explores a number of theoretical and practical issues concerning classification of remote electronic resources. The necessity to catalog electronic resources has raised questions regarding including and classifying them in library catalogs. Analysis of current cataloging decisions indicates that there is no single standard that has been formed. Some libraries assign classification numbers to remote electronic resources and others do not. Theoretical discussions of cataloging librarians show that there are a number of important issues related to using classification for the cataloging of electronic materials. The traditional purpose of classification for locating physical objects on the shelves loses its function in the case of remote electronic resources. The other function of classification, categorization, is more useful in the case of electronic resources, as it promotes the role of classification as a subject-organizing tool. Attempts at using library classification schemes in order to organize electronic resources has moved beyond the realm of libraries and their catalogs. Information scientists, database developers, and specialists in information retrieval have explored library classification abilities in organizing information on the Internet, in order to improve browsing and subject searching. Several projects have proven that such classification systems as Dewey Decimal Classification, Universal Decimal Classification, and Library of Congress Classification can be useful in describing, organizing, and retrieving electronic resources.

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