Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Classification System of the Blegen Library

Former Head Librarian of the Blegen Library, Camilla MacKay, wrote an article on the chassification system. With the kind permission of the author and publisher we are distributing the article digitally and free-of-charge

Camilla MacKay PhD MSI MA
Classification of a Classical Studies Library in Greece and the Changing Nature of Classical Scholarship in the Twentieth Century.
Cataloging & Classification Quarterly (ISSN: 0163-9374)
Volume: 36 Issue: 2
Cover Date: 2003
Publication Date: 2003
Copyright Date: 2003
Page Range: 31 - 43

The Carl W. Blegen Library of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens contains one of the most comprehensive collections of books on classical philology and the archaeology of Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. Early in its history, an amateur librarian, Theodore Woolsey Heermance, created an independent, highly detailed classification system, which encompassed classical studies in all its facets. His system is still used in the Blegen Library today. However, the discipline of classics has changed considerably, especially in the last couple of decades, and while the breadth of Heermance's system (and, indeed, Heermance's foresight) is such that monographs in all areas of classical studies can be accommodated, the system as a whole also serves a unique document of classical scholarship a century ago. Moreover, because the letter designations have not changed since 1903, it is possible to track trends in scholarship and publication within fairly narrow subject headings. This article addresses not only Heermance's impressive classification system, but also the means by which this static classification system can be used to draw conclusions about the state of classical scholarship and the humanities in general in the twentieth century.

See also: The Blegen Library Classification System

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