Individual versus shared knowledge organizing systems (KOS)

Some libraries use classification systems or other kinds of KOS designed only for their own collections, while other libraries use systems which are also used by other libraries.


For example uses the Royal Library in Copenhagen UASK (and most Royal Libraries in the world use their own individual systems). Library of Congress Classification (LCC) was original intended for use only for the Library of Congress, while the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) from the start was designed for use for different libraries.


An argument for individual solutions is related to the principle of literary warrant: Systems should be designed on the basis of the literature as reflected in the collection. An argument for shared systems is economic: There are more libraries to share the costs of developing and maintaining the system.


Also bibliographic databases may use individual or shared systems. Here are individual systems the most common.


See also: Standardization in KO





Birger Hjørland

Last edited: 21-06-2006