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Cataloging and Metadata Management: Fundamentals of the NLM® Classification

Fundamentals of the NLM® Classification_index

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Finding the Appropriate Class Number

  • Always check the main schedule for further instructions
  • Read all annotations in the schedule (Note: Some general annotations appear at the beginning of the schedule)
  • Take into account factors that may influence the classification (e.g., form, age group)

Specific Concepts

  • In the NLM Classification index, some subjects may be indexed to a specific number (e.g., Reticulocytes to WH 150)


    Screen capture of Reticulocytes to WH 150 in the NLM Classification index.


  • Always refer to the main schedule to verify the number to be certain there are no annotations directing the cataloger to use another number in specific circumstances

General Concepts

  • Subjects of a general nature are usually indexed to:
    • a section of the class schedule (e.g., Mental Disorders to WM)


      Screen capture of Mental Disorders to WM in the NLM Classification index.


    • a range of numbers (e.g., Kidney Diseases to WJ 300-378)


      Screen capture of Kidney Diseases to WJ 300-378 in the NLM Classification index.


  • Refer to the section of the class schedule to which the primary subject is indexed and select the most appropriate number
  • Select the class number annotated "General Works" if:
    • the subject is very general
    • the primary focus of the work includes several subjects within the schedule

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