LCC, DDC, and Algae

By Markham, James W. | Library Resources & Technical Services, January 1990 | Go to article overview

LCC, DDC, and Algae


Markham, James W., Library Resources & Technical Services


LCC, DDC, and Algae Algae comprise a much more diverse group of organisms than do the flowering plants, but this is ignored by Library of Congress Classification (LCC). Using the family as the basic unit of class - ification for algae, LCC puts all families together alphabetically, as for flowering plants. However, all flowering plant families are in the same botanical division, whereas algal families fall into many fundamentally different divisions. Alphabetical arrangement of families, mixed with higher taxa, results in very peculiar groupings of unlike subjects. Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) uses divisions rather than families for algal literature and follows a hierarchical arrangement that corresponds to botanical classification. DDCS hierarchy is superior to LCCS alphabetical arrangement of habitats, but for applied science aspects, LCC allows for better specificity than DDC.

A large amount of material deals with algae, ranging from comprehensive treatises on algae in general to specific aspects of single species. Both the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) and the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) have schedules for classifying these materials. This paper compares and contrasts the analysis and arrangement provided by the two systems. Others have touched on this as part of a more general commentary (and one rejected both LCC and DDC for botanical materials), but algal literature has not been dealt with in depth.

The term "algae" applies to a large and diverse group of organisms occurring in virtually all habitats, including fresh water, seawater, hot springs, snow, and deserts; and ranging in size from microscopic phytoplankton to giant kelps over 50m long. The only common features distinguishing algae from all other organisms are that they are plants and that they have reproductive features unlike those found in other plants. With in this large group there is great diversity. The plant kingdom has been divided into twenty-eight or twenty-four divisions, equivalent to phyla in other kingdoms. All flowering plants, despite their apparent diversity, are placed in a single division, the Anthophyta or angiosperms. The algae, by contrast, comprise eight to nine of the total plant divisions, indicating the fundamental differences between organisms loosely called algae. Some recent classifications reduce the number of divisions of all plants other than algae to two, but still recognize seven algal divisions. In all there are some 20,000 species of algae in 176 families in 67 orders in nine divisions. the angiosperms there are 300,000 species in 411 families in 111 orders in one division . These features are important in considering how library classification schemes deal with algae. Literature on algae covers many aspects, from general to specific. A general classification that is useful in considering the range of literature on algae is as follows:

  Type of algae                         Discipline
        A.    Algae in general             1.  General
        B.    Phytoplankton                2.  Anatomy, morphology
        C.    Marine algae                 3 . Cytology
        D.    Freshwater algae             4.  Genetics
        E.    Specific divisions           5.  Physiology
        F.    Specific orders              6.  Ecology
        G.    Specific genera              7.  Taxonomy
                                           8.  Geographical treatment
                                           9.  Economic aspects

A term from the type column together with a term from the discipline column should describe most publications and a combination like this or its equivalent should be possible in any workable library classification.

CLASSIFICATION OF ALGAE

In LCC, under QK (Botany), algae begin at QK 564 and go through QK 580.5 (see figure 1). The disciplines for algae in general are presented first. The LCC arrangement does not allow for indication of specific disciplines with specific algal groups below the general algae level, e. …

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