Mapping the knowledge covered by library classification systems

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Zins, Chaim
Santos, Plácida Leopoldina Ventura Amorim da Costa [UNESP]

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This study explores, in 3 steps, how the 3 main library classification systems, the Library of Congress Classification, the Dewey Decimal Classification, and the Universal Decimal Classification, cover human knowledge. First, we mapped the knowledge covered by the 3 systems. We used the 10 Pillars of Knowledge: Map of Human Knowledge, which comprises 10 pillars, as an evaluative model. We mapped all the subject-based classes and subclasses that are part of the first 2 levels of the 3 hierarchical structures. Then, we zoomed into each of the 10 pillars and analyzed how the three systems cover the 10 knowledge domains. Finally, we focused on the 3 library systems. Based on the way each one of them covers the 10 knowledge domains, it is evident that they failed to adequately and systematically present contemporary human knowledge. They are unsystematic and biased, and, at the top 2 levels of the hierarchical structures, they are incomplete.



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Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Malden: Wiley-blackwell, v. 62, n. 5, p. 877-901, 2011.