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Cataloging and Metadata Management: Fundamentals of the NLM® Classification

Fundamentals of the NLM® Classification_index

Page 4 of 12

Classification Preference

  • Works are generally classified in this order of preference:
    • With the disease, or
    • With the organ or region chiefly affected, or
    • With the special form of therapy, diagnostic procedure, or environmental condition as a cause of disease, etc., if disease is mentioned peripherally

Classification by Disease

  • Some organ disease headings have separate class numbers. In addition, some may have additional class numbers for subtopics such as diagnosis or therapy
    • Example:

      Screen capture of class numbers for Kidney Disease.

  • Class general diseases of an organ in the class number for the organ if no separate number is available, unless otherwise instructed
  • Exception: Diagnosis of diseases of famous persons, derived from records, memoirs, letters, portraits, etc. is classed in WZ 313

Classification by Region/Organ

  • A work dealing with a particular region of the body or an organ is classified with the region or organ system, depending on the emphasis of the work
    • For example:
      • General works on the head and neck are classed with the musculoskeletal system in the WE schedule
      • Works related to the mouth in the context of dentistry are classed in the WU schedule
      • Works on the mouth as part of the digestive system are generally classed with the digestive system in the WI schedule


  • If the work is about a special form of therapy or diagnostic procedure, and the disease is only mentioned in the context of the therapy or procedure, classify, as always, for the primary subject
  • Generally class the reversal of a medical procedure in the same number as the procedure itself, if no separate number exists

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