In this paper and a second part (to appear in the next issue of Library & Information History), an historical account is provided of the origins and development, since the 11th century, of Nordic systems for library classification — i.e., schemes for the classification of the subjects of books and other library resources, both so that those resources may themselves be arranged in orders that are helpful to readers, and so that the entries and records that describe those resources in catalogues and bibliographies may also be arranged in helpful ways. The focus of the account given in the two papers is on the structure and content of the top level of each system; it is assumed that such structure and content serve as direct evidence, both of the thinking of system constructors about the ways in which fields and disciplines are related to one another, and of the constraints under which library users reach an understanding of the nature and scope of the ‘universe of knowledge’ represented by their library's collections. The history of library classification may thus be treated not only as a central aspect of library and information history, but also as an important branch of both intellectual history and cultural history. In this first part, the history of library classification in Denmark, Norway, and Iceland is outlined; the second part covers Sweden and Finland, and presents a synthesis of findings that focuses on a dichotomy between the plurality of classification schemes existing prior to the ascendance in the 20th century of the American Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and the uniformity that characterizes current conditions.
About this Journal
Library & Information History (formerly Library History) was established in 1967 under the aegis of the Library History Group of the Library Association, now the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals. It is the only British periodical devoted exclusively to the history of libraries and librarianship and to the burgeoning field of information history.
Throughout history, libraries have been the repositories of knowledge of all kinds. In recent times library history has been enhanced by the flourishing scholarly interest in provenance research and the history of reading. As we have entered the information age, these histories have broadened into a history of information, with historians reconsidering the fundamental concepts and manifestations of information in society.
Library & Information History is a fully-refereed journal publishing articles of a high academic standard from international authors on all subjects and all periods relating to the history of libraries and librarianship and to the history of information, in its broadest sense. Issues include substantial articles as well as book reviews, occasional surveys of recent publications, and guides to relevant sources.
Library & Information History is a journal for anyone interested in the social, cultural and intellectual history of libraries and of information.
Editors and Editorial Board
Dr Jill Dye, St Hilda’s College, Oxford, UK
Professor Nadine Kozak, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA
Book Reviews Editor
Dr Karen Attar, University of London, UK
Dr Karen Attar, Senate House Library, University of London, UK
Dr Sara Barker, University of Leeds, UK
Professor Alistair Black, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Dr James W Cortada, IBM Institute for Business Value, USA
Dr John Crawford, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK
Mr Peter Hoare, Salisbury, UK
Julieanne Lamond, Australian National University, Australia
Dr Brendan Luyt, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Dr David McKitterick, Trinity College, Cambridge, UK
Dr James Raven, Essex University, Colchester, UK
Professor Peter Reid, Robert Gordon University, UK
Laura Skouvig, Royal School of Library and Information, Copenhagen, Denmark
Professor Mark Towsey, University of Liverpool, UK
Dr Luke Treddinick, London Metropolitan University, UK
Dr Julian Warner, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK
Dr Toni Weller, De Montfort University, UK
CILIP is the UK library and information association, the only chartered body in the world dedicated to uniting, supporting and advocating for information professionals and librarians – the people who help the world make better decisions.
Membership is open to everyone working in libraries, information or knowledge management, data science and analytics or a related professional role.
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