Classification and the Specialized Library: Creating a Local Expansion of NLM Classification for Chiropractic Materials
Libraries with specialized collections often face unique challenges to providing access to their materials. Cataloging tools, including subject headings and classification systems, are often better suited for less focused collections. Call number classification systems in particular are problematic for libraries with greater depth in certain subject areas. Users expect to be able to walk to the shelf and browse everything about a certain topic in the same section. This is a reasonable request in small libraries, but it is often difficult when working within existing schemas. In response to this problem, the University of Western States Library developed its own expansion to National Library of Medicine Classification in order to better serve its users.
In order for our small, specialized library to provide better access to its focused collection, the author decided to think outside of the classification box and create an expansion for NLM Classification focused on specific chiropractic therapeutic techniques. I was inspired by an NLM expansion for alternative healthcare developed at National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) that UWS has used for many years to provide better browsability for materials on alternative therapies. In particular, the section of NUNM Classification on medicinal herbs inspired the development of a similar expansion for chiropractic, with each technique assigned its own Cutter number.