The Manitoba-Windsor-York Co-Operative Classification & Cataloguing Scheme

1Sep2010 at 10:45 pm (History)

I’ve been working on a bibliography on legal classification for the last little while and I dug up this short document which outlines some of the rational behind KF Modified, or as it came to be known at the time, the Manitoba-Windsor-York Co-Operative Classification & Cataloguing Scheme. Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it does it?

The document is dated May 1970 and provides a valuable historical context on the initial thinking that started what eventually became KF Modified. There is no author indicated, and I’d be curious to know if any reader out there recognizes this and knows who may have written it*.

Although it’s a very short document it provides some interesting tidbits. For example, the initial meeting was held at the University of Manitoba and was initiated by David Wilder the UofM librarian (a name I’m not familiar with) and the UofM law librarian, Shih Sheng Hu. An invitation to all Canadian law libraries resulted in a fairly large response including librarians attending from the universities of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Western Ontario, Sherbrooke, Ottawa, Windsor and York, and the Ontario Legislative library. Also in attendance was Jane Hammond, the law librarian from Villanova University in Pennsylvania, who had been using the KF classification in her library. It appears she was an important influence that led to the co-operative venture that was developed by Manitoba, Windsor and York.

This document also solved a little mystery for me as well. In addition to using the KF schedule the libraries opted to use the Los Angeles County Law Library Class K for foreign and comparative law. The L.A. County numbers where used with ‘XF’ rather then ‘KF’ with the idea being that these numbers would “eventually be reclassed into the L.C. K numbers” when they became available. The author noted that this would be “many years from now”. Many indeed, 40 years and counting in our shop! We’ve got about 500 titles classed in XF with another 700 classed in XG-XJ. At least I now know where they came from! 🙂

Worthwhile reading for anyone interested in placing KF Modified in historical perspective.

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* My copy is a photocopy of the copy held at the Faculty of Information library at the University of Toronto. I’ve taken the liberty of transcribing this document and created a PDF version that I can share with you here. Unfortunately I didn’t copy all of the appendices so I’ll need to make another visit down to the Faculty of Information to get the rest of the text.

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