Choosing a Classification System
a classification (call number system) for your library, consider the following
issues: Do you have Judaica only or a broad collection with a Judaica component?
Do you have staff with the time and training to create call numbers or do you
need to find cataloging with a call number included?
this chart to learn about the
advantages and disadvantages of using the following classification schemes in a
- Library of
Congress (LC) (rarely used in synagogues; most often used in academic
- Dewey ( to
learn more about Dewey services from OCLC or to order materials click
- Elazar (to
order the Elazar classification scheme, ask your local Jewish bookstore or click
here to order from Barnes and Noble, or click here to order from Amazon)
- Weine (to
order a print version of this scheme, see the order form under AJL publications
on the AJL website . This item is provided free
online to AJL members)
Weinberg, Bella Hass "Judaica classification schemes for synagogues and school
libraries: a structural analysis," Judaica Librarianship. V. 4:1 pp.
Levy, David B. "Ancient
to Modern Jewish Classification Systems" 2001
Obtaining Cataloging Information from Other Sources
There are a number of ways to obtain cataloging for books and the other items
in your library. The first place to look is in the book for the CIP—cataloging
in publication, which can be copied onto paper or digital format. The web has
made obtaining free cataloging very easy.
The Library of Congress's MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) records,
available from their online catalog, may
be downloaded directly into many library automation systems. Services such as
OCLC and Marcive, Brodart, and local library consortia, can provide cataloging
in both paper and digital format for a fee.
A free system which can be used to catalog very small collections is at
Many Judaica libraries have made their catalogs accessible online. AJL
provides links on its website to many members'
catalogs to facilitate copy cataloging. For new books, library vendors such as
Baker & Taylor and Brodart, will provide cataloging for an additional fee
with your purchase.
If you purchase software capable of z39.50 searches, you will be able to
download cataloging directly from some libraries into your library's own
automation system. One such product is BookWhere.
The cataloging information may also contain classification information, which
is not the same thing. A quick distinction is that cataloging describes an item,
while classification organizes its placement within the collection, summed up as
"what" vs. "where." Classification systems include the Dewey Decimal System,
Library of Congress, Weine, and Elazar. The last two are classification systems for libraries of
Cataloging Service (Sinai Temple Blumenthal Library) helps Judaica
librarians and lay people who need to catalog books into the Elazar
classification systems. It is available electronically. http://www.jewishlibraries.org/main/Resources.aspx
Cataloging Principles presented by Rachel
Glasser at the 2003 AJL Convention.
Classifying & Cataloging Your Library presented by Rachel Kamin at the
2005 AJL Convention.
The Library of Congress has a romanization chart for transliterating Hebrew characters into
Latin letters. Additional information about Hebrew cataloging issues is
available from Rachel Simon, who, in collaboration with Paul Maher and Joan
Biella, has created a useful Hebrew cataloging resource.