Free Blogger Templates

Classification Number


Classification Number is a number (numbers or a combination of letters and numbers) that represents the subject or form of an item being cataloged, selected from a classification schedule or classification system. Classification Number is also called class number or class mark. It is the first part of a call number which is used to classify library resources by subject area.

In a Relative location, Classification Number also shows the place of the item on the shelves and in relation to other subjects. It translates the name of its specific subject into the artificial language of the notation of the scheme of classification. 

The use of classification number enables library users to browse on shelves to find its materials and also additional items on the same or related subjects, and, to find out what documents the library has on a certain subject.

Library Classification or Classification or Book Classification or Bibliographic Classification is the process of arranging, grouping, coding, and organizing books and other library materials (e.g. serials, sound recordings, moving images, cartographic materials, manuscripts, computer files, e-resources etc.) on shelves or entries of a catalog, bibliography, and index according to their subject in a systematic, logical, and helpful order by way of assigning them call numbers using a library classification system, so that users can find them as quickly and easily as possible. The call number serves a dual purpose: it determines the place of a book on the shelf and colocates books on the same topic next to each other.

Janis L. Young and  Daniel N. Joudrey¹ describe Library Classification as below:

What is Classification?
  • The use of a system of notations or symbols to categorize the contents of resources
    • Used to provide logical shelf arrangement (i.e., call numbers), but also can be useful in searching the catalog
    • Organized by disciplines, they begin with broad general topics which give way to more specific subtopics

According to Joudrey, Taylor & Miller, classification is “the placing of subjects into categories.”

It is the process of determining where a resource fits within the classification’s structure, and then
assigning the notation that most closely approximates the aboutness of the resource.

Classification is more than finding the right notation or category; it is about relationships. It provides a logical arrangement of topics and subtopics from the general to the specific that can be translated into a linear arrangement for materials in a library. Classification traditionally provides formal, orderly access to the shelves, but it is also a mechanism by which to collocate materials in the catalog. It’s what makes browsing possible.


Following are some examples of Classification Number in LCC:

1. A history of Hindi literature by K.B. Jindal, published in 1993.

PK2031 .J56 1993
Class Number
PKIndo-Iranian philology and literature
2031Hindi literature – History – General works
Item Number
.J56Cutter for the author in the main entry (Jindal, K. B.)
1993Year of publication

2. Statistics for management, by Richard I. Levin and David S. Rubin, published in 1998.

HA29  .L48  1998
Class Number
29Theory and method of social science statistics – General works – English
Item Number
.L48Cutter for the author in the main entry (Levin, Richard I.)
1998Year of publication

3. An autobiography: the story of my experiments with truth, by Mahatma Gandhi, 2004. Autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi translated into English.

DS481.G3 A313 2004
Class Number
DSHistory of Asia
481India (Bharat) – History – By period – Biography and memoirs
.G3Gandhi, Mahatma, 1869-1948
Item Number
A313A3 for autobiography and 13 for English translation
2004Year of publication

4. Fostering e-governance: compendium of selected Indian initiatives, edited by Piyush Gupta, R.K. Bagga, and SrideviAyaluri, published in 2009.

JQ229.A8  F67  2009
Class Number
JQPolitical institutions and public administration (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.)
229Special topics
.A8Automatic data processing. Electronic data processing. Including use of the Internet for delivery of government services
Item Number
F67Cutter for title (Fostering …)
2009Year of publication

5. Walking with the Buddha: Buddhist pilgrimages in India, edited by Swati Mitra, published in 1999.

BQ6450.I4  W35  1999
Class Number
6450Pilgrims and pilgrimages
Item Number
W35Cutter for title (Walking …)
1999Year of publication

    • Class Number
    • Class Mark



    1. Janis L. Young and  Daniel N. Joudrey, Library of Congress, "Library of Congress Subject Headings: Online Training," (accessed March 17, 2020).


    Article Title
    • Classification Number

    Website Name
    • Librarianship Studies & Information Technology


    Last Updated
    • 2020-03-22

    Original Published Date
    • 2020-03-22

    • Help us improve this article! Contact us with your feedback. You can use the comments section below, or reach us on social media.

    Some important comments and feedback received from our users are given below:
    • Sally Robertson, Librarian at at Nashville State Community College, United States -- Yes, classification systems in libraries are very important in libraries so that people can find what they need. That is one reason that I no longer think journals/magazines should be arranged on library shelves alphabetically by their titles, sometimes change. They should be put on the shelves by their class number just like the books.