Thoughts on Changing to KF Modified Classification

2Jul2014 at 2:34 pm (Cataloguing)

In a 2010 ‘digital white paper‘ released jointly by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and the Information Legal Technology Association (ILTA) there is a short article by Candace Fong (Royal Bank of Canada) who talks about moving from manual to online cataloguing processes to manage the RBC Law Group collection.

In this article she mentions her desire to have their library classified using KF Modified rather than the Dewey Decimal Classification:

“I also wanted to change the classification system from Dewey Decimal to KF Modified. Some of our Dewey Decimal call numbers were so lengthy that users would have difficulty remembering them, and it was very easy to shelve materials incorrectly. I did like the Dewey concept of grouping materials based on subject matter, but the classification system was not granular enough for a predominantly legal collection. Changing to KF Modified would make cataloging faster because we could replicate catalog information from the libraries of Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada and the Osgoode Hall Law School — both of which use KF Modified.”

Candace raises a couple of good points here:

Thanks to Candace for promoting KF Modified!

For a list of other libraries using KF Modified please see Links to Catalogues Using KF Modified.


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Working with Form Division Tables in KF Modified (Part 5)

7Mar2012 at 1:59 pm (Cataloguing) (, )

This is the fourth in a series of posts about using the form division tables in KF Modified. Part 4 is located here.

OK, it’s been a while since I promised to continue this series on form division tables in KF Modified. As Steve Miller once pointed out, “Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future.”

To recap we started with an introduction to the form division tables (pt. 1; pt. 2) then we covered Table VI (pt. 3) and Table V (pt. 4). This time we’ll take a look at Tables III and IV which are both form division tables used with classification numbers that have a range of 5 numbers.

What do I mean when I say a range of 5 numbers? Here’s an example: KF746-750 is the general range of numbers used for Trustees. There are 5 numbers in this classification range:

1. KF746
2. KF747
3. KF748
4. KF749, and
5. KF750.

This is how it appears in the KF Modified scheme:


As you remember from the previous posts the Roman numeral III in parentheses after the caption tells the cataloguer to use Table III.

If we were cataloguing a bibliography on estate planning like Doris M. Bieber’s ‘A bibliography on estate planning 1960-1974’ we would consult Table III and see that bibliographies are found at the beginning of this range of numbers and we should use 1.A1. The first number in this range is KF746 so we’d place this bibliography at KF746.A1.

Casebooks on estate planning used to be found at KF749, which was designated in Table III as the 4th number in this 5 number range (i.e. KF749). This number was discontinued by the Library of Congress in 2007. Cataloguers are now instructed to put casebooks in with treatises and monographs at KF750. If you look in Table III you’ll see that the number 4 is now in parentheses which indicates that generally that number is no longer used.


However, libraries may decide to continue using this number locally if they wish to keep their casebooks together in one place.

Table IV works the same way. So a CLE program by the Law Society of Upper Canada like ‘Commercial priorities for real estate and business lawyers’, which deals with security law in Ontario, would be classed at KF1046-1050. We would use the number for Congresses, symposia, collected papers in Table IV which is 5.A2. Following the same logic that we saw with Table III above we’d use the 5th number in the range, in this case KF1050 and add .A2 arriving at a number like:

KF1050.A2 L39 2011

OK, so I’ll leave you with this little test. Where would you classify ‘Corporate securities laws in Canada’ by Philip Petraglia and Lazar Sarna? I’ll give you a hint: this will fall in the KF1066-1070 range.

I’ll try to get the next installment out in a more timely fashion!

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Library of Congress Announces RDA Implementation Date

28Feb2012 at 2:57 pm (Cataloguing) (, )

Hot off the cyperpresses! (Well, yesterday actually)

The Library of Congress has announced March 13, 2013 as the official date for the implementation of RDA.

We are now sharing our plan broadly to alert our various constituencies. By doing so as early as possible, we hope that this will help others prepare for RDA implementation.”

Are you ready?

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Links to Catalogues Using KF Modified

14Dec2011 at 12:01 pm (Cataloguing) ()

Sarah Sutherland, Library Services Manager over at McMillan, recently asked about sources for KF Modified cataloguing copy. I sent her the following list and thought others might benefit from this information as well:

Also note that if you have Library of Congress classification numbers for either KD or KE you might be able to convert them to KF Modified using Rashid Humayun‘s KD/KE/KF (Modified) Concordance Chart.

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Working with Form Division Tables in KF Modified (Part 4)

13Dec2011 at 5:44 pm (Cataloguing) (, )

This is the fourth in a series of posts about using the form division tables in KF Modified. Part 3 is located here.

I hope you had a chance to work on the exercises posted in Part 3. Here are the answers for those exercises.

KF8950 Table VI
KF1629.S8 Table VII
KF841-850 Table II
KF501-505 no table use G.D.
KF7701-7710 Table II

In this post we’ll take a look at Table V for classification numbers with 2 numbers. This will set us up to consider the remaining titles for class numbers with 5, 10, and 20 numbers.

Table V begins on page F20 of the KF Modified schedule. If you compare this to Table VI you will see some familiar form divisions listed there:

  • Bibliography;
  • Periodicals;
  • Looseleaf services;
  • Form books;
  • Dictionaries;
  • Congresses;
  • Treatises;
  • etc.

The difference here is that these form divisions are now spread across a 2 number range. For example, the form division for Periodicals is found at 1.A15 and Congresses is at 2.A5.

So let’s look at an example.

Here’s an Ontario Bar Association CLE title from March of this year:

This is a collection of papers dealing with construction liens, which is referred to in the Library of Congress Subject Headings and Classification scheme as ‘mechanics’ liens’ for the purposes of classifcation.

In KF Modified this is found under Contracts at KF899-900:

We know from last time that collections of CLE papers are put into the form division for ‘Congresses. Symposia. Collected papers, addresses, and essays’ which in Table V is 2.A5.

The class number for Mechanics’ liens has 2 numbers:

Number 1 KF899
Number 2 KF900

If collected papers are associated with 2.A5 in Table V then we would use the second number (i.e. KF900) and apply the form division to that number. So this title will go in KF900.A5. Adding the cutter number for the main entry and the publishing date gives us a finished number of KF900.A5 O583 2011.

Here’s another example, this time we have a general treatise on international trade dealing with the law in Great Britain.

This would be classed in KF Modified at KF1975-1976.

Because this is a general title we need to locate the form division for general monographs. This is always found toward the end of the form divisions:

This form division tells us to use the second number and to then cutter by the main entry or in RDA terms the “preferred access point.”

So our 2 number range in this case consists of:

Number 1 KF1975
Number 2 KF1976

We are instructed to use the second number, so KF1976 and then cutter for the preferred access point between A7 and Z8. In this case the number will be KF1976 C37 and adding the publication date of 2010 give us KF1976 C37 2010.

This is an area of the form division tables that the cataloguer needs to watch out for. You are only permitted to cutter general works between A7 and Z8. If the author’s name had been John Adams there would be a conflict.

Adams would normally be cuttered at A32, but this falls outside of the prescribed range available to the cataloguer. A cutter number for a name beginning with ‘A’ cannot fall before A7. The cataloguer must therefore construct the cutter number a little differently.

The easiest way to do this is to start with A7 and then add to that the cutter number the number usually applied for the name Adams, i.e. A32. Putting these two numbers together (i.e. A7+32) will give you a new cutter number of A732 that will not conflict with the specified range.

Although less likely, the same thing would apply for authors whose last name ends in ‘Z’, for example a name like one of our faculty members Peer Zumbansen. There would be no conflict in this case though because this name would normally receive the cutter number Z86 which is within the given range.

However, a name like Adan Zye would cause a conflict because this will normally fall in a Z9 number which is outside of the range that should be used. Again applying the same logic as above. Take the usual cutter number, in this case Z94 for Zye and apply it to the last number in the given range Z8. This would result in a cutter number that will neither clash with the number for Zumbansen nor run into Z9: i.e. Z894.

With the holidays approaching I won’t include any exercises this time. We’ll continue with our look at the form division tables in KF Modified after the holiday break.

Hope you have a great holiday and all the best for you and your family in the new year!

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Working with Form Division Tables in KF Modified – (Part 3)

2Dec2011 at 10:01 am (Cataloguing) (, )

This is the third in a series of posts about using the form division tables in KF Modified. Part 2 is located here.

So, first things first. Here are the answers to last week’s little quiz:

KF1423 Table VI
KF318 Table VIII
KF841-850 Table II
KF3566-3570 Table IV
KF1290.F4 Table VII

So let’s take a closer look at one of the more frequently used tables, Table VI.

I’ll use a recent Law Society of Upper Canada continuing legal education volume of proceedings as our first example:

Example 1

This is a CLE collection of papers dealing with probate law and practice. General works on probate law and practice are found at KF765 in the KF Modified schedule.

Once we’ve established the classification number for the title a form division can then be assigned using Table VI. CLE programs are considered to be conferences/congresses in terms of classification so we’ll want to apply the form division for conferences/congresses to KF765.

The listing for the Table VI form divisions begins on page F25 in KF Modified. If you work your way through this list you’ll find this form division number for conferences/congresses:

Adding the form division to the classification number will give you this: KF765.A75. Now add the cutter number for the main entry and the date of publication to create the finished number:

                KF765.A75 L393 2011

OK, here’s another example again using Table VI.

This title is an annotated bibliography dealing with Canada and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Example 2

The subject ‘children’s rights’ is classed in KF Modified under KF479:

This is a bibliography so we need to go to Table VI and look for the form division number for a bibliography. Which is actually pretty easy to find because ‘bibliography’ is the first form division listed in Table VI.

So the class number for this title with the form division will be KF479.A1.

Add the cutter for the author and the date of publication and the final number for this title will be:

                KF479.A1 T35 1999.

OK, so let’s stop there.

Try to work out the class number and form division numbers for the following titles. These will all use Table VI.

And finally, a few more identify-the-form-division-table-to-be-used exercises:


Have a great week!

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Working with Form Division Tables in KF Modified – (Part 2)

23Nov2011 at 2:49 pm (Cataloguing) (, )

This is the second in a series of posts looking at the use of the form division tables in KF Modified. If you missed the first post please see the introductory remarks in part 1.

As previously mentioned there are 9 form division tables available for use in KF Modified. Each table is identified using a Roman numeral and most are meant to be used with classification numbers that contain a specific range of numbers or single numbers with special characteristics.

Table II for example is used with classification numbers that span 10 numbers. KF3861 to KF3870, the classification number for resources about ‘Food. Drugs. Cosmetics’, is an example of a classification number that contains 10 numbers.

Here are the 9 available tables along with their corresponding number ranges:

Table I 20 numbers
Table II 10 numbers
Table III 5 numbers
Table IV 5 numbers
Table V 2 numbers
Table IV 1 number
Table VII topics represented by Cutter numbers
Table VIII form divisions under single-numbered captions for general works
Table IX modified form divisions for state law

At this point don’t worry about Tables VII, VIII and IX. As you can see they are to be used in special situations and we’ll come back to those after we’ve mastered the first 6 tables.

When looking at these first 6 tables the first question that comes to my mind is: why are there two tables for classification numbers with 5 numbers? I’m not sure about the history behind these two tables so I don’t have a good answer. They are different though with Table III having fewer available form divisions to choose from than Table IV. So let’s park that question for now.

I would say the most frequently used tables in KF Modified are Table VI for single classification numbers and Table II for 10 numbers. You’ll also encounter Tables I, III and IV in the schedule, but less often.

In the KF Modified schedule the cataloguer will be instructed to use one of the tables using the following type of notation:

3124 Interference practice (VI)

This tells the cataloguer that when classifying a title in KF3124 you would use Table VI when applying the applicable form division.


Road traffic. Automotive transportation
2201-2210         Motor vehicles in general (II)

tells the cataloguer to use the Table II form division table when the title covers motor vehicles in general.

Recall that when a number is eligible for the Geographic Division the form tables are not used. So for something like this,

Business corporations
1396-1415         General (I) (G.D. 1415 [1396-1415])

the G.D. takes precedent and the form division Table I is not used.

So a conference dealing with Australian business corporations in general would be classed in KF1415.ZD4 not KF1414.A2 (the form division for Congresses, Symposia, Collected papers, addresses, and essays). However, if you were classifying a collection of papers dealing with the law of U.S. business corporations in general you would use Table I and KF1415.A2 would be the correct number to use.

OK, so try this quick exercise:

Which form division table would you use for the following classification numbers or range of numbers in KF Modified?


We’ll review the answers and look at the form divisions in more detail in the next post.

Have a good week!

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Working with Form Division Tables in KF Modified – (Part 1)

11Nov2011 at 3:25 pm (Cataloguing) (, )

One of the areas that can be challenging when working with KF Modified is the application of the various form division tables. The general idea is carried over from the form division tables used in the Library of Congress Classification (LCC). The form divisions bring together similar resources based on the form in which they were published. For example, bibliographies, periodicals, conference publications, etc., will be grouped together within a particular classification number.

The form divisions are intended to do the same thing in KF Modified. However, there are a couple of things to be aware of right off the top when using these tables in KF Modified.

  • Form division tables are not used with numbers that use the G.D. (Geographic Division)
  • There are a number of categories listed in the form division tables that are only to be used when cataloguing U.S. federal resources (these are marked with an asterisk in the tables); otherwise they are not used

Keep this in the back of your mind. We’ll return to these two points later as we work our way through this series.

The form division tables where completely revised in the LCC in 2007. Many subdivisions were discontinued at that time and reassigned to some of the other existing form division numbers. The discontinued form division numbers appear in parentheses in the tables and include a note indicating which number should is now applicable.

For example:

(14.5)        Encyclopedias
                           The Library of Congress discontinued use of this form
                           subdivision in 2007
                           see 17

17              Dictionaries. Encyclopedias

There are nine form division tables available for use in KF Modified. Gone are the days when most of these form division tables were laid out in one large table in KF Modified with each table appearing in its own column. It was a rather confusing set up. Each table is now presented on its own making it much easier to read and determine which of the form divisions should be used.

Over the next little while I’ll take a closer look at these form division tables, provide some general practice information and tips, and work through a few examples.

* Thanks to Joanne Berent, Reference Librarian at Gowlings in Toronto, for suggesting this series.

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Implementation of the new KF Modified Quebec civil law enhancement at the Department of Justice Canada Library in Ottawa

28Oct2011 at 2:45 pm (Cataloguing) (, )

This is a guest post from Alain Rochefort, Law Cataloguer at the Department of Justice Canada Library in Ottawa. Thanks for sharing your experience with us Alain!

Since the mid-seventies, the law book collection at the Department of Justice Library in Ottawa was organized according to an old edition of the LA County classification scheme, in conjunction with Library of Congress classes. By 2005, this unique in-house classification scheme which proved to be more and more difficult to maintain, was deemed outdated and inadequate by the library management. A few years went by, and following the request of Fiona McPherson, Director, Library Services, I was requested in my capacity as Law Cataloguer to come up with a new viable and alternative classification scheme to organize our law book collection.

After examining the options available to Canadian law libraries, I recommended that we adopt the KF Modified classification scheme in conjunction with LC classes as our alternative scheme. It must be noted that a similar classification system was already in place at the Supreme Court of Canada Library in Ottawa. Since our law book collection was comprised in large part with publications from Canadian and other common law jurisdictions (i.e. British, American, Australian, New Zealand publications), it seemed a natural choice.

In addition, given that our collection was also comprised of a large section of civil law documents, mostly from the province of Quebec, but also notably from France (and other civil law jurisdictions) as well as a substantial number of international law books, the LC classes were a perfect fit to complete this combined classification scheme.

The only inconvenience at the time was the fact that the KF Modified scheme only provided a small section to house the Quebec civil law section publications (e.g. general civil law books, civil law reform reports, and Quebec civil codes). This meant that all books on specific civil law aspects such as family law, property law, etc. had to be classed and shelved together with other common law books on these topics.

Needless to say, we realized early enough that our Civil Law Section lawyers would not accept this arrangement since they were used to having all the Quebec civil law materials classed and shelved together under the old LA County classification scheme. Initially, as a solution to this problem, I recommended that we derogate from the use of KF Modified scheme for these books and that we use LC’s KEQ sub-class instead to class and shelve all Quebec civil law documents. However, this option was not accepted by our local library management.

Since we wanted to keep all Quebec civil law publications in the KF Modified scheme along with all other Canadian materials, it was deemed preferable instead to modify and enhance the existing Quebec civil law classification provisions in the KF modified scheme. After meeting with F. Tim Knight, Head of the CALL KF Modified Classification Committee in Quebec City (at the IFLA Satellite Meeting on RDA), in August 2008, and discussing this matter with him, he referred me to consult H. Rashid, law librarian at the University of Toronto, and an experienced and longstanding KF Modified Editorial Committee member.

In the fall of 2008, Mr. Rashid and I started our work on the Quebec Civil law section enhancement. After a few options were discarded, we resumed the work in the spring of 2009, just as we, at the DOJ Library, were involved in a major reclassification project. In August 2009, we came up with the new Quebec Civil Law enhancement based on LC’s KEQ class (Quebec law). The new enhancement was accepted and approved officially by the CALL Committee, and by December 2009 it became an updated part of the KF Modified Classification scheme.

In September 2009, after obtaining the approval of our library management, I reclassified our Quebec civil law publications by using the new enhancement. Subsequently, in October, these books were all reprocessed as a part of our on-going reclassification project at the DOJ Library, in which we managed to reclassify our whole law book collection (approx. 14,500 titles). As a result, we were the first library to apply in its collection, the new Quebec Civil law enhancement of the KF Modified Classification scheme.

Two years have passed since then, and we can honestly say that we are very happy and satisfied with our new library classification arrangement. Once applied in a collection, the KF Modified Classification scheme is really advantageous in the sense that it allows staff and clients to search, retrieve and access the requested documents in a much quicker, economic and timely fashion (by subject instead of repeated searches by jurisdictions). And the fact that we were able to develop and enhance the Quebec Civil law section in the KF Modified scheme has proven how accommodating the system really is. It has allowed us at the DOJ Library to develop (amongst other things) our Quebec civil law collection (which is substantial enough), and at the same time, respect and maintain the jurisdictional integrity, unique terminology and specific character of the Quebec civil law. And all this by means of a classification system conceived as a common law library classification scheme from the start.

Alain Rochefort
Law Cataloguer
Department of Justice Canada
Ottawa, Ont.

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Resource Description and Access: From AACR to RDA

7Feb2011 at 12:31 pm (Cataloguing) (, )

My introductory article about the new cataloguing rules, Resource Description and Access: From AACR to RDA, was recently published in the Canadian Law Library Review. It’s available on YSpace if you’re interested in reading it <>.

Abstract: The new cataloguing guidelines Resource Description and Access (RDA) have recently been released and are set to replace the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. An evaluation period led by the Library of Congress is currently underway and it is likely that the implementation of RDA will begin sometime in mid-2011. This paper looks briefly at the origins of RDA, provides a high level overview of RDA and reviews some of the major differences that cataloguers and library users can expect to find between RDA and AACR2.

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