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Most of the books in the main Reading Room are arranged according to the Bliss Classification Scheme (BC2), which is also used by the following College libraries in Cambridge:

BC2 is named after its inventor, Henry Evelyn Bliss (1870–1955). BC2 builds its classmarks mainly out of letters, rather than the numbers that may be more familiar. See the outline below. For further information about BC2, and about other libraries that use this scheme, see the Bliss Classification Association website.

Haddon Library Bliss classification

Below is an outline of the Bliss classification scheme, as used in the Haddon:

  • In Social Anthropology and Archaeology, most of the time, we shelve books first and foremost according to geographical area.
  • In Social Anthropology., for example, a book about the press in India is going to be somewhere in the range KVO-KVT (Asia and the Pacific); a book about amateur music-making in England is going to be somewhere in the range KVD-KVN (Europe). In Archaeology, a book about Stonehenge will be in the range LAE-LAN (places in Europe [prehistory]); a book about the Zimbabwe ruins will be in OX-OZ (Africa).
  • 'Think of the place' is not an absolute rule. Some books can’t be tied down to particular places. In Social Anthropology, you’ll find most of those books in the range K-KU. In Archaeology, they’ll be at L-LAD.
  • Then there are the anomalies. In Social Anthropology, we stick by the decision of the previous Haddon Librarian, that books on women’s studies go at KNW rather than by country. In Archaeology, there are many complexities with period divisions and country divisions.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact a member of Haddon staff.

The Haddon's reclassification to Bliss was supported by the Thriplow Trust, the John and Ruth Howard Trust, and many alumni. Thanks are also due to Liz Russell for her work on this project, and to Heather Lane, the Secretary of the Bliss Classification Association, for valuable suggestions. And let us remember Martin Joy (1949-1999), who raced ahead with the project through a summer and an autumn, and died too soon.

AX   statistics    
GGE   evolution    
GHT   animal behaviour    
GQQ   primates    
human biology
HBP   biochemistry    
HFN   genetics    
HP   pathology    
K1-K9   theories and methods in social sciences    
KA-KU   topics in social sciences    
KNV   gender    
KPD   ethnicity    
KV   places    
KVD-KVN   Europe    
KVO-KVT   Asia & Pacific    
KVU A   Australia    
KVV   Africa    
KVX-KVZ   The Americas    
KW   folklore and mythology    
history and archaeology
LAA   archaeological generalities and techniques    
LAB C-LAB Q   artefact types (by material, purpose, &c)    
LAB R-LAB Y   site types (by terrain, purpose, &c)    
LAD   prehistoric periods    
LAD D   Palaeolithic    
LAD L   Neolithic    
LAD W   Bronze Age    
LAD X   Iron Age    
LAE-LAN   places in Europe (prehistory)    
LB-LM   other modes of historical study    
LN-LW   Europe, N. Africa & Middle East – from invention of writing to end of Roman Empire    
M-N   Europe since the Roman Empire    
O-OG   The Americas    
OH   Oceania    
OJ   Australasia    
OK-OV   Asia    
OX-OZ   Africa    
social welfare
museum studies