by Mila Rush
University of Minnesota Law Libray
The major revision project on the Library of Congress classification scheme JX that now covers "International law and relations" is nearly completed. The new schedules JZ and KZ, which are replacing JX, have been distributed to the members of the Advisory Committee in LC Law Classification. After thorough discussion during the annual meeting this month, the Advisory Committee adopted them in concept and principle.
It will be recalled that "International law" was covered in LC subclass JX within the Political Science or J class. This was before any of the Law or K classes were developed. With all of the jurisdictional K classes completed, attention has returned to general or extra-jurisdictional legal topics, primarily international law.
Back in the 1980s a decision was made to abolish the old JX schedule and replace it with two parallel schemes: JZ for "International relations" and KZ for "Law of Nations." Moving to a two-pronged approach responds to the wishes of some libraries (mainly law) that want to classify legal materials in K, and materials pertaining to international relations and diplomacy in J, as well as to the needs of libraries that own JX materials and wish to continue classing them in the J class. These two schedules are designed to be very flexible to also allow easier wholesale reclassification, as wanted.
The design which attempts to be responsive to two fields (international law and international relations) resulted in two schedules that maximize interchangeability. Thus the number structure of the general work areas are identical in the two schedules. Subject specific areas, on the other hand, are separated as appropriate between JZ and KZ; however, blocks of numbers are left open in either schedule to allow migration of materials from one schedule to the other, depending on the library's choice at any one time. (One may imagine a cut-and-paste operation on one's PC. Still glassy-eyed? Come to the meeting then and let Jolande explain.)
This concept of a parallel development of JZ and KZ has led the Advisory Committee to also agree that the law and regimes that govern international commons, i.e., outer space, the moon and other celestial bodies, the high seas are brought together in the sequel schedule KZA (developed similar to KWX, Antarctica). This is so because there is no parallel for this topic in JZ.
The brains behind all these is our own FCIL member Jolande Goldberg, law classification specialist at the Library of Congress. For the last three years, Dr. Goldberg has co-chaired our Education/ Program Committee, has been an invigorating source of fantastic information for our Processing Issues Working Group, and has been, maybe unknowingly, an informal FCIL SIS publicity officer. (Having the fresh-off-the- press draft KL-KWZ schedules on display at the FCIL SIS exhibit in Boston attracted technical services types who may not otherwise have come around.)
The discussion of JZ/KZ, aided by handouts and overhead examples, will take place during the Head Catalogers' Roundtable meeting in Pittsburgh, scheduled for 7:30-8:30 a.m., Monday, July 17. Yes, you can attend this particular roundtable meeting, cataloger of noncataloger, head or foot, whatever. Remember: Classification is not just for classifiers; it can be a powerful reference tool. Be familiar with it and you'll see. Processing Issues Working Group attendees may wish to make extra efforts to come Jolande does not anticipate this being on the agenda of our meeting.
Two other items on the Roundtable's agenda are demonstrations of 1) a wonderful new CD-ROM database that contains both the LC classification schedules and the LC subject headings, and which links each subject heading to the pertinent class number; and 2) the Cataloger's Desktop. Both these products use the Windows-based FolioView search interface and retrieval software.
Please mark this date and time in your Pittsburgh calendar.
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