Biography is a factual story about a real person. If it is written by the person himself, it is called an autobiography. Under the biography call number "92", the books are arranged according to the name of the person written about. The first letters of the biographee's name follow "92" as part of the subject number. This subject number is then followed by the author code.
A collection of biographies classes under the subject number "920".
Note that under the decimal classification system the numbers are sorted in decimal order. In other words "92" will follow everything classed as "91x.xxxx", and before "920".
What are some basic principles of subject cataloging?
- The Principle of Specific Entry is fundamental in subject cataloging. The rule is to enter a work directly under the most specific subject heading which accurately represents its content. For example, cataloging a book about "Bridges", the direct approach is to put it under the heading "Bridges", not under the larger topic "Engineering", or even the more restriced field, "Civil engineering".
- Uniformity You must consistently apply one uniform unambiguous term to all works on a particular topic.
The Library of Congress defines Cataloging in Publication as follows:
"A Cataloging in Publication record (aka CIP data) is a bibliographic record prepared by the Library of Congress for a book that has not yet been published. When the book is published, the publisher includes the CIP data on the copyright page thereby facilitating book processing for libraries and book dealers."
This usually includes a Dewey number for the book which can help you in your cataloging decisions.
Works which discuss biography as a form of writing are classed under Biography (as a literary form). However lives of persons should not be in this classification.
These fall into two classes: individual biography and collective biography.
Individual biography usually uses the name of the person entered in the same way as an author entry. For example, a biography of Abraham Lincoln would be cataloged as "Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865". A book written just about the assasination of Lincoln would be cataloged as "Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 Assassination".
Many, if not most, childrens collections in public libraries use the call number "92" for individual biographies - e.g., "92 LINC" for the Lincoln biography. Some (large) collections catalog very famous people or people not associated with a particular subject under "92" and less famous people under the subject number with ".92" at the end. For example, "The man who knew too much : Alan Turing and the invention of the computer" by David Leavitt, would have the subject heading "Turing, Alan Mathison, 1912-1954" and the call number "510.92 T938Le" where "510" is for mathematics, ".92" is for biography, "T938" is the Cutter number for the subject of the book, and "Le" is for the author.
Collective Biography refers usually to works containing more than three biographies.
What is the Dewey Decimal System (Dewey Decimal Classification or DDC)?
DDC - Dewey Decimal Classification is the system used in most libraries for arranging library books and materials on library shelves in a specific and repeatable order that makes it easy to find any book and return it to its proper place.
Libraries in more than 135 countries use the DDC to organize and provide access to their collections, and DDC numbers are featured in the national bibliographies of more than 60 countries. Libraries of every type apply Dewey numbers on a daily basis.
DDC was developed by Melvil Dewey in 1876, and has been greatly modified and expanded through 22 major revisions, the most recent in 2004.
A designation such as Dewey 16 refers to the 16th edition of the DDC.
For example, the collection of Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) is based on DDC 14, the 14th edition of Dewey (1942). When the first books on computers came out they were placed in a mathematics number (510.78) as an extension of books about calculating machines. Newer books about computers continue to be placed in 510.78 for consistency. Whereas a library following a later DDC will place computer books in the Dewey number created for them in later editions. For example, the book, Absolute beginner's guide to computer basics by Michael Miller, classes as 510.78 in the LAPL catalog - but classes as 004 in the Pasadena Public Library catalog which follows DDC 22.
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How do I determine the subject of a book for purposes of subject cataloging?
This is the first step in subject cataloging. Sometimes this is easy. For example:
Japanese for Children: A Beginning Course in Everyday Conversation (Passport Books) by Yoshiaki Kobo, Reiko Mori, and George Okuhara (Audio Cassette - Jun 1987)
would clearly have the subject heading of "Japanese language". The call number for this is found in Sears List of Subject Headings as "495.6".
The idea is to list under one uniform word or phrase all the materials that a library has on a given subject. The subject of a book (or other media) is the main topic treated in the book. Subject entries in the library catalog show what information the library has on a given subject. Subject entries determine the call numbers on items which, in turn, are important for locating where particular items are in the library. By using a standardized list as a base for establishing headings, they will be consistent. (PAL Library Automation System uses the Sears List of Subject Headings as its base.)
Descriptive cataloging is that phase of the cataloging process which is concerned with the identification and discription of an item. The term referes to the physical make-up of the item and to the responsibility for intellectual contents, without reference to its classification by subject or to the assignment of subject headings, both of which are the province of subject cataloging. Questions such as "who is the real author of this item?", "what is the title of this item" (for example, if the title on the title page differs from the title on the cover), "what edition is this", etc.