Thursday 30 October 2008

CFP: International UDC Seminar 2009 "Classification at a Crossroads", The Hague, 29-30 October 2009

Following the success of the first International Seminar on UDC, the second in a series of biennial conferences entitled Classification at a Crossroads: Multiple Directions to Usability will take place on 29-30 October 2009 in the UDC headquarters at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague.

The 2009 Seminar aims at exploring how new developments in information standards and technology influence and affect applications and services using classification, Universal Decimal Classification in particular, and its relationships to other systems.

The Seminar programme will highlight many ways in which the use classification can be improved. Attention will be paid to the applications of classification in supporting multilingual access, user-friendly representations of classification in resource discovery and semantic searching expansion and classification application across distributed systems.

Papers are now invited on the following topics:
    Classification and semantic technologies, e.g. experiences with vocabulary standards for expressing and porting classification data into the Semantic Web, vocabulary registries, terminology services
    Classification in supporting information integration, e.g. classification use in alignment of vocabularies, classification as a common subject language in co-operative systems, experiences in multi-database systems, classification mapping to other subject languages, classification enhancement with social tagging
    Verbal and multilingual access to classification, e.g. textual searching and display, management of subject-alphabetical indexes, extraction of thesauri from classification schemes
    Classification authority control and library systems, e.g. issues with MARC formats, authority file development, maintenance and sharing of data
    Visual representations/interface to classification, e.g. issues in classification browsing and faceted representation in classification tools and information systems
    Experiences with classification outside the traditional library environment, e.g. use in different types of digital repositories (eprints, VLE), resource discovery on the Web, alerting services, specialised bibliographic services and databases (images, sound), organization of physical objects (museums, archives)
To read more about conference theme and to submit your abstract visit the event's website.

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Document form in UDC - what about Website/Webpage

Recent discussion on the udc-forum discussion list pointed to the fact that we do need a concept of website/webpage as a simple form number in UDC Table Id - Common Auxiliaries of Form.

The specific question was whether it was satisfactory to denote 'webpage' with a form number for digital documents with alphabetical extensions for HTML:

(0.034.2HTML) Webpage

and whether we can class e.g. Scottish Parliament website as follows:

328.1(410.5)(0.034.2HTML) Parliament - Scotland - Webpage

Which raised question whether it was better to combine document form with the main number for website:

004.738.1 Site. Service node. Sites by type of service

Thus enabling us to say more precisely e.g.

328.1(410.5)(0.034.2:004.738.1) Parliament - Scotland - Website content

328.1(410.5)(0.034.2PDF:004.738.1) Parliament - Scotland - PDF document on the website


(0.034.2JPG:004.738.1) Digital document - JPG image - Website

In relation to the above Miguel Benito commented:
"I am not still satisfied with the proposals of using the auxiliary (0.034.2) for web pages. For me the auxiliaries (0.0...) are complementary auxiliaries to other form auxiliaries. Even if they can be used separately by themselves we should be very restrictive in this.
We have to find a solution giving web pages a own form auxiliary between (01) and (09). The problem is that the subdivision of the auxiliary (08) where it should be more appropiate is used for a lot of forms while the other numbers as (01) and (02) are used very little and have very few subdivisions.
Maybe (00), or (001) could be a new form subdivision for electronic materials >with posibilities of subdivisions in the future.

The Form table in UDC is very important and it is well worth making the effort to put this right. If we try to place the new concept in the table there are some things to take into consideration.

These are top classes in the form table (with 362 sub-classes).

(0.0...) Physical features, etc.
(01) Bibliographies
(02) Books in general
(03) Reference works
(04) Non-serial separates. Separata
(05) Serial publications. Periodicals
(06) Publications of societies, organizations
(07) Documents for instructions, teaching, study, training
(08) Collected, polygraphic works. Forms. Lists. Illustrations. Business publications
(09) Historical form. Legal and historical sources

Looking into the scope of top classes and knowing what is underneath class (0.0...) documents by physical features seems to me the only appropriate place.
However, this is not about 'slotting' notation for webpage as document form numbers need to meet the following requirements:
    1. express attributes/characteristics of the inner form of presentation such as (091) historical, (092) biographical form
    2. distinguish primary, secondary and tertiary sources (documents, bibliographies, encyclopaedias)
    3. distinguish monographic publications and periodicals
    4. express document types by different criteria: by purpose, by type of outer presentation (text, sound, image still, image moving)
    5. express carrier and give a full taxonomy of document carriers: printed, digital etc.

    but most importantly

    6. allow free and unlimited combination of all above (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) as every document can be described by attributes from all first five facets.
It is this 6th requirement that makes the whole task more complicated on the plan of classification notation.

Specifically when it comes to webpages/websites we may need to say encyclopaedia (038) that is on the web, periodicals (05) on the web, (02) book on the web and of course different digital files (pdf, doc, dataset) on the web. So we have to pay attention to the fact that website or webpage is not a document form as such but rather a way in which a document in any form can be published and that this class number will have to be combined with everything that is already in Table Id - Common Auxiliaries of Form.

To express combinations in notation UDC has the following mechanisms

a) parallel division i.e. taking the beginning part of the first number and second part of the second number and amalgamate them together e.g. substituting = in =111 English language with 821 Literatures of individual languages to express English literature 821.111.
This amalgamation produces shorter numbers but it poses problems as it disguises the fact that the number is combined of two concepts both of which we have to manage and access. Hence parallel divisions are something UDC revision tries to eradicate as much as and whenever possible.
In form numbers we have this principle applied in (0.05) documents for a certain kind of audience. To express intended audience of the document the form number has to be 'extended' by numbers for persons.
E.g. -053.2 children should be amalgamated with (0.05) like so
(0.053.2) Documents for children
(0.056.262) Documents for partially sighted persons, blind persons [using -056.262]

Here again we have parallel division principle of amalgamation which causes that e.g number for children -053.2 or for blind persons -056.262 cannot be easily discerned, managed or searched for. The option is to change this to (0.05-053.2) and we are now considering of introducing this change in the E&C 30.

So in principle UDC numbers should be expressive with respect to syntax and numbers that are combined should look so. We have three options in achieving this:

b) introducing attributes/characteristics that may be shared by all document form as special auxiliary table, most preferably -1/-9 - this way every attribute we add will begin with - dash

c) combine two form numbers with : colon within parenthesis like so
(05:0.034.44) Periodicals - CD ROM

d) when it comes to form auxiliaries which are enclosed in () it is possible and possibly even desirable that they are listed as a sequence of distinct numbers e.g.
39(05)(0.034.44) Ethnography - periodicals - CD ROM

So when introducing number for webpage/website we have to think through all these scenarios and see which one works the best.

Last but not least - we have to make sure that we maintain a distinction between website/webpage as a subject of study in 004 Computer science as distinct from website/webpage as form of publishing.

Needless to say comments are welcome.

Tuesday 30 September 2008

On presenting UDC summary on the web

This is in relation with Dan's comment the other day. This made me think that it may be good to make UDC 1000 numbers summary available as exports for various kind of interfaces and experiments. He mentioned Library of Congress Subject Headings presented as linked-date using SKOS vocabulary. I think it was Ed Summers who did this interesting application. Anyway I have hardly been at any vocabulary event this year without someone using this as an example. Alistair Miles showed the view of the full data set at SKOS workshop in July in London - viewing LCSH as a canvas with minuscule dots and zooming into the nodes showed labels and links between concepts.

Subject heading systems do not have hierarchical structure but rather many associative linking hence SKOS made LCSH look as if it makes sense semantically - that is at least at first glance. I am curious how a classification scheme (UDC or any other) would look presented graphically in this fashion in comparison. Each class in classification contains all its subordinated classes and is contained in the class above. In this kind of graphical representation it appears that hierarchy has to be represented as concentric circles. Classifications are completely structured, they have larger amount of paradigmatic/vertical relationships, smaller amount of associative relationships and smaller amount of syntagmatic relationships than this is the case with subject headings.

But maybe and for fun once we will have UDC SKOS export it may be interesting to test this.

Because a 1000 data is only a tip of 70000 database - the linking will not be of the same density as it would be with the entire system but would be interesting. Having said that last year MagnaView created a UDC viewer - i.e. a tool that can be used for visual representation of UDC data for desktop applications and that one was rather interesting - and would be worth developing this approach.

With respect to UDC summary interface ... we are getting there. This one will follow good old tree expansion approach something between FATKS project, Swedish/Finnish/Spanish edition online and BSI UDC online. It will be also interesting if we will have time to try subject-alphabetical index and chain index such as the one in FAT-HUM. I think we will add language by language gradually.

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Swedish UDC online moved to a new URL

The Swedish abridged edition of the UDC: "UNIVERSELLA DECIMALKLASSIFIKATIONEN: SVENSK ELEKTRONISK UTGÅVA", containing over 6,000 classes, has been available on the Web for free since 2001.

The edition was translated, prepared and maintained by Miguel Benito and his assistants/students from the Library School in Boras (Högskolan i Borås), Sweden.

The UDC database has now been moved to a new server and the new address is

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Proceedings of the UDC Seminar 2007 - available online

Proceedings of the UDC Seminar 2007 "Information Access for the Global Community", 4-5 June 2007, The Hague were published as an Annex in the Extensions and Corrections to the UDC, 29 (2007). All articles are now available in the dLIST open archive.

You can download the entire Annex from the above address or you can access and download individual articles (pdf format).

Sunday 6 July 2008

Announcement: Cataloguing and Indexing Group Conference, Glasgow, September 2008

CILIP Cataloguing and Indexing Group Conference entitled "Classification and subject retrieval in the 21st century: you can't make jelly without a mould" will take place at the The University of Strathclyde on 3 - 5 September 2008

The CIG conference 2008 web pages are now available at:

Online booking is now open.

135 years after Melvil Dewey first had the idea for his classification scheme and with the exponential growth of new information storage and retrieval systems we are still wrestling with finding the right way to get things in order - on the shelves and in those very systems - and then to enable people to find them when they search. This conference is intended to explore current developments in classification and subject retrieval. The conference programme will cover both the longstanding methods - such as traditional classification schemes - right up to social networking and 'bleeding edge' ideas. The conference will also include the CIG AGM and Annual Standards Forum.

Following a call for papers, the conference programme is now in place. Papers will be considered for publication in Catalogue and Index following the conference. Powerpoint or similar presentation files, that accompany papers, will be published on the CIG website.

The varied programme of presentations and updates on standards will be complemented by opportunities to network with fellow professionals.

Thursday 3 July 2008

New issue of Classification and Indexing Section Newsletter, June 2008

The Classification & Indexing Section Newsletter for June features the Section's programme at IFLA 2008 conference in Quebec entitled "Classification and Indexing Without Language Borders".

This issue also provides a brief information about current work on improving subject access in the Czech National Library Catalogue.

We also read that VINITI (All-Russian Institute of SciTech Information) has published its new, 9th volume of the Russian full edition - Classes 67/68 Various Industries and Trades.

The new Russian CD-ROM edition of UDC is announced to be presented at the CRIMEA 2008 conference.

VINITI's third annual workshop "Universal Decimal Classification - Application Methods" took place 16-17 April 2008 in Moscow.

Sunday 3 February 2008

UDC Editions and translations

This is just to inform that the bibliography of last reported UDC translations and editions is now updated and can be accessed from

Although I have a couple of references still in preparation I think many will find this useful as it is.

I created an overview of various editions by year in a single table for all 39 languages ( while bibliographic references of last reported editions are kept in a separate file at

The new issue of the Extensions and Corrections to the UDC