ISKO Italia. Documenti


Bibliographic classifications
Dewey, Colon and linked data

Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Institute of Information and Library Science
Address: Prof. S. Lojasiewicza Street 4, Krakow, Poland
Secretariat: Room 3.208

January 16-17, 2018

a joint event of ISKO Poland and ISKO Italy


prof. Carlo Bianchini
(University of Pavia, Department of Musicology and Cultural Heritage)


Wednesday, January 16

Introduction to bibliographic classifications

Start: 8.00. End: 9.30
room 2.122/123 (help: prof. Babik, contact: room 3.301)


lecture, scientific meeting
From the semantic web to faceted class number: a case study on and CC

Start: 13.45. End: 14.30
room 3.228 (help: prof. Sapa, contact: room 3.209)

Thursday, January 17

A laboratory about the comparison between enumerative and analytical classification (exemplified by Dewey Decimal Classification and Colon Classification)
The laboratory will be repeated three times for three different groups of people

Group 1 laboratory
Start: 8.00. End: 9.30
room 3.120 (help: mgr M. Deja)

Group 2 laboratory
Start: 9.45. End: 11.15
room 3.120 (help: dr P. Korycinska-Huras)

Group 3 laboratory
Start: 11.30. End: 13.00
room 3.120 (help: dr M. Wójcik)


Dewey Decimal Classification is well known and widespread all over the world. Created by Melvil Dewey (1851-1931), it is the most diffused classification in the world, used in more than 130 countries and in more than 60 national bibliographies. A large part of its success is due to the use of the decimal notation, that is a hospitable notation, able to host continuous progresses and changes in knowledge, and to manage relative location (Gnoli 2018), facing more and more pressing issues in American libraries at the end of the XIX Century.

Colon Classification was the first fully analytico-synthetic classification scheme, created in 1993 by S.R. Ranganathan in order to overcome the limits of the hierarchical-enumerative classification schemes in the precise representation of subjects of more and more specialized documents published at the beginning of the XX Century. Even if not largely used, its interest is not just historical, as its design makes it a useful tools nowadays too. Two examples of this are its potential use in shelf organization of resources in small libraries, where it is difficult to assure man power to create a modern online catalogue (one-person libraries), and its effectiveness and worth in training subject cataloguing librarians, as conceptual analysis required by Colon Classification stimulates and facilitates the conceptual analysis required by any subject indexing language. For example, the deep roots of Nuovo Soggettario (an Italian general thesaurus) in Ranganathan's studies facilitate the simultaneous use of Nuovo Soggettario and Colon Classification. Finally, the creation of full CC call numbers allows the organization of resources on the shelves in a "filiatory sequence", that is the most useful linear sequence for the final user, compliant to FRBR and capable of grouping resources per Works, Expressions, Manifestations, and Items.


The seminar aims to present and compare the main characteristics of Dewey Decimal Classification, 23rd edition, and Colon Classification, 6th edition. It also aims to highlight benefits connected to the use of facets within the classification process. Finally, it has the objective to give participants the basics to start using both systems and to appreciate the advantages of using Colon Classification for a book collection (in whole or in part).

Teaching approach

The seminar will be held in the first part as a direct lecture, and in the second part (repeated three times in the second day) by means of teacher guided instructional tasks for students.

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:


Basic knowledge of English language.


  1. Introduction to bibliographic classifications
  2. Main characteristics of Dewey Decimal Classification
  3. Main characteristics of Colon Classification
  4. Classification process (in both systems)
  5. Creation of CC class number from LOD

Educational material

Information and contacts


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