A Universal Classification System Going Through Changes


  • Victoria Francu




In the early 1990s, subject indexing with classification codes from the Universal Decimal Classification in academic libraries of Europe proved insufficient. With the advent of OPACs for online searching of literature, the possibilities of searching for subjects in natural language, offered by a majority of OPACs, looked much more attractive to the users and as well to the indexers. Thus, a rapid change to indexing with UDC and keywords instead ofUDC numbers alone was decided. Currentness, precision and more importantly, user-friendliness were strong advantages offered by keyword indexing and searching. But the larger the dictionary of keywords, the more problematic are the consequences on information scattering given lack of control on terms. The present paper describes the advantages of the UDC in indexing by presenting some of the devices it is provided with: subdivision by analogy, common and special auxiliaries, use of synthesis, use of connecting symbols. The solution of indexing with both UDC notations and words from a thesaurus based on UDC was prompted by some other characteristics of the schedules: semi-faceted classification system, hierarchically organized, rich in terminology, providing consistency and control ofnotations. The methodology used in building the thesaurus follows the international standards (ISO 2788 and 5964) where some principles have been added, relative to the specific aim of harmonizing a classification structure with that of a thesaurus. Compatibility and translatability issues are also considered, and some problems arising from them are treated in detail. The problems discussed are illustrated with examples.