Phenomenon class

Brown (1914, 8) advocated “One-place” classification: “Concrete” subjects should have only one place, qualified by “standpoints” “Rose” could be qualified by its standpoints, i.e., “Biological, Botanical, Horticultural, Historical, Geographical, Ethical, Decorative, Legal, Emblematical, Bibliographical, Poetical, Musical, Sociological, and so on to any extent” (Brown, 1914, 8).


The Phenomenon class is essentially the same as Brown’s “one-place” system. Allows option of placing all documents related to one phenomenon in one place. The Phenomenon class means a phenomenon need not be scattered by discipline because a literature can be based on. . .“a given concept (entity, attribute, process) which treats it from the viewpoint of several or all disciplines. An example would be a work on the Horse, treating it from the zoological, equestrian, agricultural, military, artistic, etc. viewpoint or, a work on Colour, treating it from the viewpoints of optics, biology, photography, painting, decoration, etc.” (Mills & Broughton, 1977, :52).


“Knowledge classification can be, and often is, TAXONOMIC (sometimes called 'entity classification') like the classification of zoology, classification of plants, or classification of chemical elements (which means that they are going to list one concept in one place only in the classification structure).

    Bibliographic classifications i.e. those one has to use to describe real documents ARE NOT and CAN NOT be taxonomic. They are by all means ASPECT or disciplinary classifications. This means that they will list one concept in all disciplines and fields where that concept might be studied: e.g. 'water' will have to appear under chemistry, physics, in geology, medicine, sport etc.” (Slavic, 2000).





Ahlers Møller, B. (1981). Subject analysis in the library. A comparative study International Classification, 8(1), 23-27.


Beghtol, C. (2004). Exploring new approaches to the organization of knowledge: the subject classification of James Duff Brown. Library Trends, 52(4), 702-718.


Brown, J.D. (1914). Subject classification, with tables, indexes, etc., for the sub-division of subjects. 2nd rev. ed. London: Grafton.


Mills, J. and Broughton, V. (1977). Bliss bibliographic classification. 2nd ed. London: Butterworths.


Slavic, A. (2000). A Definition of Thesauri and Classification as Indexing Tools.



See also: Aspect classification; Bendtsen




Birger Hjørland

Last edited: 18-06-2006