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Haddon Library

Photo of colourful file folders

If you are curious about how we classify our books and arrange them on the shelves, this page explains the classifications systems that we use in the two main rooms of the library, the Reading Room and the McBurney Room, as well as our locked storage rooms. By and large, these classification schemes were developed a long time ago and therefore organise knowledge in ways that are often considered outdated today. We are aware of the dominant discourses that our classification schemes centre and the many resulting gaps and silences that such schemes produce. We recognise that our classification schemes are complicit in perpetuating structural inequalities and that this is problematic and offensive. Along with the wider library community at Cambridge and beyond, we are engaging in discussions about how to remove such embedded discrimination from our classification schemes. Further information is available on the Cambridge Decolonising through Critical Librarianship site and the Cambridge University Libraries Decolonisation Working Group page. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss changes to classification schemes further. 

Books received 2017 to present

Since 2017, new books at the Haddon have been arranged according to the Library of Congress classification scheme. They are kept, for the most part, on the bookshelves that face you as you enter the main reading room in the north-west corner (up the steps from the lobby office), and on the reverse side of those shelves.

Post-2017 Congress-classified books dealing with the archaeology of ancient Assyria and Egypt are kept in bay 123 of the McBurney Room -- near that room's northwest corner, the furthest corner from you as you enter from the landing.

Books received before 2017

For books received before 2017 we have these arrangements:

Most of the books in the Main Reading Room are arranged according to the Bliss classification scheme. This uses letters (e.g. HFN for genetics).

Most of the Assyriology and Egyptology collection, in the McBurney Room, follow the Ancient Near East classification devised before that collection was imported into the Haddon in 2012.

Finally, a few of the books in the main reading-room, and more in the locked areas, follow the Sayle/Fegan classification scheme drawn up in the 1920s. This uses numbers (e.g. 78 for Scotland).  Most of the books classified according to this scheme are now listed in the online catalogue iDiscover, but not all of them are; you may find you have to use some part of the card catalogue. Library staff would be pleased to assist you with the card catalogue.


Photo by Christina Rumpf on Unsplash