A study reported in 1974 of U.S. libraries that had switched to the National Library of Medicine classification system between 1959 and 1973 (survey size: 25 libraries; responding: 25 or 100%) showed that, of 23 respondents, 18 (78.3%) reported using regular cataloging staff to reclassify, 1 (4.3%) reported they did not use regular cataloging staff to reclassify, and 4 (17.4%) reported they used regular staff “but with additional help.” Further, of 24 respondents, 10 (41.7%) libraries reported they reclassified all the older material, while 14 (58.3%) reported they did not.                         (Source)

        Ibid…. showed thatthe effects of switching to NLM classification were minimal. For example, of 23 libraries, 8 (34.8%) libraries reported patrons had expressed a preference for the NLM classification system, none had expressed a preference for the previous system, and 15 (65.2%) libraries reported patrons had not expressed a preference.                  (Source)

        Ibid…. showed thatthe 3 main reasons given for switching were (multiple responses allowed): to take advantage of the NLM cataloging service (13 or 52%), to provide better shelf arrangement for the library’s books (11 or 44%). and found classification easier with the NLM system (10 or 40%).                         (Source)

        Ibid…. showed that23 (92%) libraries reported switching to MeSH subject headings when they switched to NLM classification, while 2 (8%) reported they did not adopt the MeSH subject headings.                  (Source)

A study reported in 1974 of classification systems used in 941 libraries, as reported in a series of U.S. national and regional medical publications as well as an international survey conducted by Dave Remington of 470 health science libraries, showed thatin 23 years a substantial shift toward use of the National Library of Medicine classification scheme had taken place in Medical Library Association libraries. Between 1950 and 1959, 15 libraries had switched to NLM classification, while between 1959 and 1973, 69 libraries had switched to NLM classification.                        (Source)


A study reported in 1962 at Stanislaus State College Library (Turlock, California) concerning reclassification of library materials (1,829 titles involving 2,032 volumes reclassified, including remarking volumes and changing catalog cards) showed thatthe amount of time required was as follows: professional staff, 446 hours; clerical staff, 269 hours; student staff, 152 hours. Together, the average number of volumes per person-hour was 2.34, while the average number of titles per person-hour was 2.11.               (Source)

A 1967 survey by the Institute of Higher Education at Teachers College, Columbia University of innovative programs in libraries in academic institutions with liberal arts programs (sample size: 1,193; responding: 781 or 65%) showed thatthe main innovative change in administrative practices was adoption of LC classification. 336 libraries (43%) used LC classification with 243 (31%) having used it since 1961. A further 79 libraries (10%) were planning to adopt it at the time of the study.                (Source)

A survey reported in 1968 of all junior colleges (sample: 837; responding: 690 or 82%) concerning their use of classification systems showed that532 (77.1%) used Dewey, 92 (13.3%) used LC, 58 (8.4%) were changing from Dewey to LC, 4 (0.6%) were planning on changing from Dewey to LC, and 4 (0.6%) used other classification schemes.                      (Source)

Dr. David Kohl

 "Libraries in the digital age are experiencing the most profound transformation since ancient Mesopotamian scribes first began gathering and organizing cuneiform tablets."

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