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Introduction and General Principles

The classification of Literature (Belles-lettres) at the UIUC Library utilizes abbreviated or modified Dewey classification numbers, with a few exceptions. The Library adheres to DDC for the classification of Shakespeare, as well as for very general works falling within the 800-809 range. The rationale for maintaining abbreviated or modified numbers for individual literatures (rather than changing with the ever expanding Dewey schedules) is primarily due to the need to maintain collocation of materials on the shelves, particularly with regard to literary authors, philosophers, artists, composers, and the like. The UIUC Library attempts to bring together all the works by or about an individual author, as well as works by or about more than one author who are writing either in one particular language or within one designated national or regional literature.

The UIUC Library constructs call numbers for individual literatures in two distinct ways:

  1. The first group of literatures uses an abbreviated or modified Dewey classification number, followed by a standard book number to complete the call number. These literatures include American; English; Germanic (other than German proper); South/Central American; Iranian/Persian; Celtic/Gaelic; and Afro-Asiatic.
  2. The second group of literatures (which includes many major Western European literatures) also uses an abbreviated or modified Dewey classification and an author cutter number, but this is followed by a locally devised UIUC Book Number scheme for Individual Authors (often referred to as the UIUC Literature Schemes). The UIUC Book Number schemes were devised in the early twentieth century (pre 1937) in order to hold together all the works by or about an individual author for the major Western European literatures: the decision was made to use a Dewey type of number, but to use a Library of Congress type of citation order. The citation order which Dewey provides is form (i.e., genre) first, followed by collections, which scatters the works of an individual author writing in more than one genre. The citation order which the Library of Congress employs is this: the works by an author are gathered first, followed by form (i.e., genre), so that an author who writes in both poetry and prose is not dispersed. The UIUC Book Number schemes are based on a Library of Congress type of citation order. These literatures include German (proper); Romance literatures; Ancient Indic; Modern Indic; and Slavic.

These two primary methods of constructing complete call numbers make classifying literary works at the UIUC Library somewhat complex. Refer to the appropriate individual literature schedule when constructing a call number in order to determine which method should be applied, as well as to determine the appropriate arrangement of the alpha-numeric call number into a two or three line construction.

There are special Classification Schedules and Author Tables for the English poet John Milton, as well as for Greek and Latin authors. Consult the senior cataloger when attempting to classify Greek and Latin literature.

In practice, call numbers have been constructed in various ways over time, thus it is essential to verify both class numbers and accompanying book numbers in the online catalog for purposes of unique identification of an author and collocation of works. Always check the online catalog first in order to determine whether an individual author has been established, as well as to maintain consistency of classification numbers between individual authors within each literature.

Generally, classify an individual author's work first by the language used for the work, and only secondarily by an author's country of residence. However, American literature in English, and American literatures in Spanish or Portuguese are classed beginning with both language and country of residence.

NOTES on Literature Classification:

Genre refers to the distinctive class or category of literary composition of a work (note that the phrase "literary form divisions" was previously used by Dewey). For classification purposes at the UIUC Library, a particular genre is identified by a single numeric digit, as illustrated below (note that some literatures are not distinguished as to the individual genres):

Poetry 1
Drama 2
Fiction 3
Essays 4
Speeches 5
Letters 6
Satire and humor 7
Miscellaneous writings 8

When constructing call numbers for the second group of literatures, the UIUC Literature schemes are only used for individual authors (i.e., not for more than one author). The UIUC Literature schemes contain variations from literature to literature: it is essential to verify the appropriate scheme.

For Works about an individual author (i.e., for Bibliographies; Biographies or Criticism and interpretation; and Concordances of an individual author), it is appropriate to use "V" "Y" or "Z" respectively (These may only be used for single works of an author classing in the UIUC Literature schemes [Group two]):

Literatures Group one Group two
bibliography (V) = 813
biography (Y) = 813


criticism (Y) = 813
concordance (Z) = 813

Criticism of primarily one-book authors (i.e., Dante, Manzoni, Proust, etc.) classing in the UIUC Literature schemes, is being increasingly classified using D, rather than O_Y_.

Generally, a criticism of a literary work (a criticism of a work which includes the text of the original work) is classed as an edition of that original work.

Consult the index to the Manual for further memoranda concerning the cataloging of biographies or criticisms.

For Works by or about more than one author (no matter which of the two methods of call number construction are used), add, as appropriate, the form divisions -01-09 from Dewey 19 (the precursors to the current Standard Subdivisions), but do not extend beyond the first digit (What has been used in the past are the form divisions prior to their expansion in the 17th or 18th edition of Dewey):

Philosophy and theory -01
Dictionaries, etc. -03
Serial publications -05
Organizations and management -06
Study and teaching -07
Collections -08
Criticism, history, and interpretation -09

For Works about literary critics who do not produce literature (this applies to all critics of any literatures):

For an individual critic -0092
For collections about more than one critic -00922

For example:

A biography of an individual literary critic of German literature 830.092
A collective biography of more than one literary critic of German literature 830.0922
A biography of an individual literary critic of French literature 840.092
A collective biography of more than one literary critic of French literature 840.0922
A biography of an individual literary critic of Mexican literature 869.10092
A collective biography of more than one literary critic of Mexican literature 869.100922

If a work deals with literature classifying in both 81x and 82x, classify in 82x (A collection of British and American poetry: 821.08).

Generally, work mark from the main entry. Past practice indicates that the main entry has most often been used.