2016 Quarterly Updates

27Mar2017 at 11:58 am (Updates)

A quick update an KF Modified updates.

The updates for the 4th quarter of 2016 were submitted to CALL/ACBD last week and should be distributed to subscribers shortly.

The 3rd quarter updates were completed in mid-November and a combined 1st/2nd quarter update was finished tardily in August.

Work on the 2017 updates will begin next month.


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KF Modified Linked Data Project: Final Report

27Mar2017 at 11:50 am (Classification) (, )

The final report of the KF Modified Linked Data Project was submitted to the CALL/ACBD Committee to Promote Research last fall and is available on the CALL/ACBD website.

This project began shortly after the CanLII Law, Government and Open Data Conference and Hackathon held in Ottawa, Ontario, September 13-14, 2013, where I had the opportunity to speak about “Linked Data and Canadian Legal Resources.” Inspired by the potential of the work done during this hackathon Sarah Sutherland[1] and I decided to work together and developed this linked data classification project. We subsequently submitted a research proposal to the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD) and were awarded a modest research grant that allowed us to begin work on this initiative.


[1] Manager, Content and Partnerships, Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)

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Library of Congress Classification is Online

29Nov2016 at 11:33 am (Classification) ()

The other day I discovered that the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) schedules are now freely available online. Amazing!

And pretty current too. At the time of this writing these files are update as of March, 2016. If you’d like to check for newer class number additions you could also do a search on the recent LCC Approved lists.

KF Modified users without access to the KF Modified schedule can consult the PDF of the classification that KF Modified was originally based on: KF United States (General)* [pages 1-205]. You’ll also find an index in this document starting on page 551 (note that this index refers to federal and state law).

Thank you Library of Congress.

Happy cataloguing!


* This link will download the PDF file.

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KF Modified Committee Meeting, Draft Agenda

9May2016 at 2:56 pm (General) (, )

Hello KF Modified enthusiasts!

We will soon be making our way to Vancouver for the annual Canadian Association of Law Libraries conference. The KF Modified Committee will be meeting on Sunday, May 16 at 1:00pm in the Seymour room at the Westin Bayshore Hotel.

I’ve prepared a draft agenda for your consideration, but please let me know if there is something you would like to add.

KF Modified Committee Agenda

  1. Succession Planning
    • General lack of Committee members
    • Future development and ongoing maintenance of KF Modified?
  1. KF Modified and Linked Data Project
    • Report submitted to CALL/ACBD Committee to Promote Research
  1. KF Modified Electronically Accessible
    • PDF version could be made available immediately
    • Should KF Modified be made available open access and free of charge?; print subscriptions are declining and OA to classification is a public good
  1. International Promotion of KF Modified Classification
    • KF Modified goes to Jamaica
    • Promotion of KF Modified to common law libraries outside of Canada
  1. Other Business

See you in Vancouver!




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KF Modified Committee 2005

18Dec2015 at 2:54 pm (History)

Hello all,

I’ve been going through some old files as part of my year end back up/clean up me files process and discovered this photograph of the members of the KF Modified Committee. This was taken at the CALL/ACBD conference in 2005, St. John’s, Newfoundland. Pictured here are from L-R: Ann Marie Melvie, Janet Moss, Judy Ginsberg, F. Tim Knight and Rashid Humayun.

KF Modified Committee 2005

KF Modified Committee 2005

All the best for the holidays and a healthy and productive new year to all!

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Judy Ginsberg on KF Modified

27Nov2015 at 11:26 am (History)

Judy Ginsberg, Librarian Emerita, York University

Judy Ginsberg, Librarian Emerita, York University

As many of you know, Judy Ginsberg, Librarian Emerita at York University, was a member of what I’ve called the “group of 5,” that is, the group of academic law librarians who came together at the University of Manitoba in 1968 and decided to modify the newly available Library of Congress KF classification for American law. That momentous decision made a major impact on the organization of Canadian law libraries and informs the work of Canadian law librarians to this day.

Judy was involved with KF Modified in one way or another for many years. She was the Chair of the, KF Classification Modified Users’ Group, a support group of sorts operating under the Canadian Association of Law Libraries. She was also Chair of the KF Editorial Board from 1982 until the mid-2000s. Judy ensured the long-term continuity of KF Modified when she successfully pitched the idea that the Canadian Association of Law Libraries take on the role as “institutional home” for the production and distribution of the classification schedule.

I am pleased to report today that Judy’s writings on KF Modified are now available via the Osgoode Digital Commons.

These articles provide a wonderful window into the history and application of KF Modified by one of the original proponents of the classification. You’ll also find some of her additional papers on cataloguing, bibliographic utilities, legal research and a proposed national virtual academic law library.

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2nd Quarter Updates Coming Soon

30Sep2015 at 10:20 am (Updates)

The updates for the 2nd quarter of 2015 have been sent to CALL/ACBD headquarters and should be sent out to you sometime this week.

Happy cataloguing! 🙂

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KF Modified Linked Data Project

11Sep2015 at 12:33 pm (General) ()

Update: November 25, 2015: Just discovered that the video for this session is available. As promised below, here’s the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6isTtCcilGE.


Oh, it’s been very quiet on the KF Modified Blog. So here’s a quick update.

Sarah Sutherland and I have been diligently working away on the KF Modified linked data project. As you may recall CALL/ACBD provided us with some seed money to work on a proof of concept and although we haven’t got a finished project to show at this point, we did deliver a presentation this morning at Access 2015.

I’m posting the slides from that presentation along with a link to the XML schema we’ve developed for KF Modified.

Updated 21Sep2015: Here are the links to the XSLT Stylesheet that was used to convert a small example of KF Modified XML to HTML (also uses this HTML stylesheet).

We presented with Christina Harlow from the University of Tenessee who talked about how she’s using linked data to augment authorities with a locally created vocabulary.

The session was live streamed and I’ll share that link when it becomes available.

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Shih-Sheng Hu Led the Creation of KF Modified in 1968

29Apr2015 at 10:15 am (Uncategorized)

I am sad to report that Shih-Sheng Hu, who organized and led the development of KF Modified, passed away on Sunday at the age of 88. In the summer of 1968 Hu gathered together a group of 5 librarians to discuss issues surrounding the classification and organization of their law library collections. It was that meeting that led to the development of the KF Classification Modified for Use in Canadian Law Libraries.

There’s an obituary available with more about his life.

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KF Modified: A Law Classification for the Small American Law Library?

22Jul2014 at 2:50 pm (Classification) (, )

In the June issue of Technical Services Law Librarian Karen Wahl talks about Kristen M. Hallows‘ article called “It’s All Enumerative: Reconsidering Library of Congress Classification in U.S. Law Libraries” published in the Winter issue of the Law Library Journal.

In her review Wahl says:

The major thesis is that a subject classification scheme, rather than a jurisdictional classification scheme, may better support the needs of users because it will collocate related materials better, leading to better browsability for the patrons. It implies that the hyper-specificity of LCC makes this more difficult for a smaller law library.

The remainder of Wahl‘s comments provide support for her self proclaimed bias for the jurisdictional approach to law classification found in the Library of Congress Classification (LCC).

This reminds me of Philip Wesley‘s comment writing in the Law Library Journal in 1968:

the decision is not which is the best classification, but which is the best system for a given library. Scholars have argued for years about the relative merits of one classification vis-a-vis another; and I think it is safe to say that the arguments concerning law classification will continue for many years, inconclusively.

I wonder then if KF Modified might be useful for the smaller American law library?

KF Modified is modelled on LCC’s KF classification and provides a browsable topical arrangement of the common law.  Jurisdiction can also be specified in some topic areas using what is known as the Geographic Division (G.D.).  For example, Canadian materials on domestic relations would be classed at KF505.ZA2 where ZA2 is the G.D. for Canada.

There has been no G.D. for American law in KF Modified instead the number is used on its own, i.e. KF505.  However, a G.D. for each state could be easily devised. For example domestic law for New York state might end up something like, KF505.ZU33 where ZU33 is the GD for New York.

Wahl also points out practical time related reasons for sticking with LCC.  I considered this in an article I wrote for the Canadian Law Library Review a few years back, “KF Modified and the Classification of Canadian Common Law.”

The irony here is that KF Modified can actually save time and money in law library cataloguing departments. It is much easier for cataloguers to consult only one schedule for all common law jurisdictions. The result is that cataloguers can really learn the system well, enabling them to make better and more consistent classification decisions. The cataloguer can focus on analysing the intellectual content, determining the main subject area, and applying a geographical division (GD) where appropriate. A few topical areas have been ‘modified’ to handle constitutional law, taxation, etc. and there are a handful of additional tables that can be applied to collocate bibliographic formats. That’s it. Consulting one classification schedule with one approach to information organization saves cataloguers’ time.

And more specifically on copy cataloguing and KF Modified:

… even if a cataloguer is faced with only a Class K number, it is a relatively simple task to convert this number to an equivalent KF Modified classification number. It is a simple matter to find the corresponding subject area and, if appropriate, add a geographic division (GD). For example, a book on family law in Ontario would use KEO213 in Class K; the corresponding topical area in KF Modified (something KF Modified cataloguers will know intuitively) is KF505; and the appropriate GD for Ontario, ZB3, is added to create KF505.ZB3. People familiar with KF Modified (including law library users) will know that Ontario family law will be found in KF505.ZB3. And, as an added bonus, they will also find grouped together in KF505 other resources on family law in England, Alberta, Nunavut, Queensland, etc., that they can also consult.”

With some slight additional modification KF Modified might be a suitable choice for the smaller American law library.

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