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Title:Classification in a Special Library
Author(s):Howell, Isabel
Subject(s):Classification --Books
Abstract:A paper which is to be read before an audience of librarians and students at a conference held as one of the activities of a distinguished Graduate Library School should doubtless begin with a definition of terms. This would be fine, but this paper is scheduled near the end of a three-day session, and it seems likely that a great deal of defining of terms will have taken place already before this combatant takes the field. Already many a shower of word-arrows will have darkened the sky before this knight-errant thunders over the turf. In which quarter the battle will have been fought to a pale, pink finish and where the refugees may have fled before this Don Quixote is wheeled into position for the charge, there is no way to predict. But this paper has a specific title, and the writer has a specific purpose and even at the risk of repeating what is already well-known to everybody, I feel obliged to begin With a few general remarks, call them definitions, if you please, for the sake of the record. The simplest definition of a special library is this: A special library is a collection of books devoted to a special subject. But for purposes of organizing a discussion of classification this simplicity is misleading. In 1953, the Special Libraries Association had a membership of 2,489. 1 In the Special Collections index found in the American Library Directory, there are several thousand special collections listed. Many of the special libraries in the Association are very large research libraries; many of the special collections are found in very large general libraries. There are far too many subjects involved for me to attempt to deal with them, but out of the whole dilemma, several points finally emerge, which I would like to note in passing: The special libraries seem to revolve around about seventy-five subjects, no more. The libraries devoted to Law, Medicine, Theology, Music, and the Theater have formed large associations of their own; libraries serving the other subjects make up the membership of the Special Libraries Association.
Issue Date:1959
Publisher:Graduate School of Library Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Citation Info:In F.T.Eaton and D.E.Strout (eds). 1959. The role of classification in the modern American library : papers presented at an institute conducted by the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library Science, November 1-4, 1959. Urbana, Il: Graduate School of Library Science: 103-115.
Series/Report:Allerton Park Institute (6th : 1959)
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Rights Information:Copyright owned by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1959.
Date Available in IDEALS:2007-07-16

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