Enhanced Section on Law and Indigenous Peoples

6Nov2019 at 2:35 pm (Classification, Updates) ()

Hello KF Modified users!
Just a quick note, after quite some time, to let you know that KF Modified is alive and well.

I also, wanted to announce that the 3rd Quarter update, just released to subscribers, includes a revision to the section that covers law and Indigenous peoples. KF8210 has been reorganized and enhanced by adding and removing terms and cross-references to provide a more respectful representation of Indigenous peoples in the classification scheme.

The revised table of cutter numbers under KF8210 incorporates some elements found under the recently introduced Library of Congress classification for Indigenous peoples. The objective of the Library of Congress when they developed this new classification was to provide a more equitable treatment of legal subjects relating to Indigenous peoples. The sub-section KIA-KID covers Canadian regional and comparative aspects of the law of Indigenous peoples.

As an alternative to using this separate LC classification the KF Modified Committee decided to expand the existing classification within KF Modified to reduce the need to reclassify law library collections and keep the materials together. The resulting KF Modified enhancement made every effort to improve and include variations in terminology including additional cross-references wherever possible.

The general heading in KF Modified has also been modified from ‘Indigenous peoples. Indians. Native peoples. Aboriginals. Inuit,’ to a broader and more inclusive scope, ‘Indigenous peoples. First Nations, Métis, Inuit. Native peoples. Aboriginal peoples. Indians (North America).’

Many thanks to Humayan Rashid who prepared the initial draft of this enhancement and to other members of the KF Modified Committee who provided valuable input in the preparation of this enhancement.

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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: 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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Class K is Now Available as Linked Data

14Apr2013 at 9:45 am (Classification) (, , )

Fantastic to learn that the Library of Congress has made class K of the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) scheme available as linked data. Kevin Ford, from the Network Development and MARC Standards Office at the Library of Congress, made the announcement on Wednesday and noted that K is likely the “largest class” bringing over two million additional resources to the collection of data found at ID.LOC.GOV.

Like the other classification schemes available at ID.LOC.GOV the K class has been released as beta. The Library of Congress “encourage[s] the submission of use cases describing how users would like to utilize the LCC data” and look forward to “working out issues with the data.”

Tina Gheen, the Emerging Technologies Librarian at the Law Library of Congress, talked about this linked data initiative last July and provides a nice overview that demonstrates the potential value of making LCC part of the Web. She also wrote about some of the challenges that come with expressing class K as linked data:

“… as any legal cataloger will tell you, Class K is full of all kinds of interesting tables needed to create a complete classification number. All these tables will need to be extrapolated into linked data as well. Semantic experts at LC have already devised a way to generate URIs and resources for the schedules and tables needed to create a classification number for the smaller classes like B and N. But duplicating that process for Class K is going to require a different level of processing power entirely. Can you feel that heat? It’s our poor servers endlessly churning away at the mountains of data and relationships buried in Class K!”

Such a great initiative and a perfect opportunity to see how we can use this to create a linked data version of KF Modified!

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New Classification Schedule on Law of the Indigenous Peoples in the Americas

18Jul2011 at 1:42 pm (Classification) (, )

There is a new subclass of the Library of Congress K classification in the works dealing with the Law of the Indigenous Peoples in the Americas. The drafts were posted toward the end of June and will remain on the LC Cataloging and Acquisitions website until August 15th, 2011.

As Jolande Goldberg notes the following motivations for the development of this classification in the introduction to Class KIA-KIP,

The rising interest and marked increase in studies on contemporary indigenous law, environment, protection of cultural property and language is documented by steadily growing course offerings in U.S. and Canadian universities – as well as by inter-institutional collection development
projects that give presence and visibility to the “heritage” of Indigenous peoples. All generated great demands for bibliographic keys to the hard to find materials on a broad and varied number of subjects.

She adds, “Even LC Class KF (Law of the United States), which has a section on American Indian law and law-related materials (KF8220+), does not reflect the sovereign status and autonomy of the Indian nations, nor does it reflect current Indian law making and law developments.

Comments, suggestions and questions are welcomed by Jolande Goldberg (jgol@loc.gov) at the Policy and Standards Division.

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