Relevance Of Cataloguing And Classification In Library And Information Science Curriculum (A Case Study Of IMSU And FPNO Library)

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Relevance Of Cataloguing And Classification In Library And Information Science Curriculum (A Case Study Of IMSU And FPNO Library)


It seems likely that no branch of library science has given rise to so many conflicting views among practitioners like cataloguing and classification. This could be due to the fact that much attempt have not been made to analyze their importance in library practice even in this era of publication explosion.

This research therefore aims at re-emphasizing their importance in the organization and retrieval of information.

The researcher has been able to identify some of the factors that have contributed to the reduced emphasis of cataloguing and classification. Also the problem militating against the proper use of the library catalogues in information retrieval were equally discussed.

Finally, the researcher gave some recommendations on how to improve library’s catalogue and classification services in our libraries.

Table Of Contents

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgment
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents

Chapter One

  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 Objective of the study
  • 1.3 Aims/purpose of study
  • 1.4 Scope/limitations
  • 1.5 Research questions
  • 1.6 Methodology

Chapter Two

  • 2.1 Literature review
  • 2.2 Cataloging
  • 2.3 Classification
  • Reference

Chapter Three

  • 3.1 Research procedures and methodology
  • 3.2 Population size
  • 3.3 Sample size
  • 3.4 Instrument for data collection
  • 3.5 Method of data collection
  • 3.6 Method of data presentation and interpretation

Chapter Four

  • 4.1 Data presentation and analysis
  • 4.2 Results of questionnaire

Chapter Five

  • 5.1 Conclusion
  • 5.2 Recommendation
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix I
  • Appendix II

Chapter One

1.1 Introduction

The major objective of libraries is to see that optimum use is made of their collection by leading each reader or student as directly as possible to the materials he needs. As an aid to the achievement of this purpose, nearly all libraries find it helpful, indeed necessary to improve upon their books and other materials, one or more forms of subject control. Cataloguing and classifications are among such forms of organizing knowledge inherent in library collection.

There are two basic purposes of libraries; the conservation and the exploitation of library materials. Cataloguing and classification as technical processes are concerned with both of these. They can help where two conflicts, by obviating the handling of unwanted materials as well as ensuring that the wanted items are found and used. Materials are selected, they come into the library; they are classified and catalogued among other processes; they are stored, finally, when the information in there is needed, they are retrieved.

What makes library different from other collections is the organized nature of its collection. There is this systematic arrangement of materials which facilitates easy accessibility and retrieval. There would be chaos; confusion and difficulty in retrieval of information materials in the library are not properly organized. A library is worthless without organization. In the absence of organization, writes Okoro (1999:30), “ the user (no matter the level of education) would get lost in any library since it would the days, weeks and even months to find any particular book.

Think of yourself staying in a room at night without light. You will not only be directionless, but also confused. This is also the state one will be left if our library collections are not organized. There are two basic concepts in library organization. They are classification and cataloguing.


Cataloguing involves the descriptions of document or item highlighting eight major areas: title/statement of responsibility area, note area and (publication), edition area, series area, note area and ISBN/ISSN area. Simply put, cataloguing shows the following about the book: author, title, place of publication, publisher and year of publication.

The library catalogue is the major finding tool in libraries. The library catalogue arose from cataloguing and classification which depends on the type of scheme being used by the library. The library catalogue which is called the card catalogue in library is the major index to its holdings. The cards contain information about every back in the library be in textbook, reference works, indexes or periodicals. All these information materials are indexed alphabetically on these cards that are three-by-five inch (7.5cm x 12.5cm) in size. These catalogue cards are filed in a card cabinet that is built with drawers and number A-Z. The guide letters on the drawers show which cards are in each drawer.

The library catalogue cards are of three kinds: subject cards, author cards, and title cards. In most libraries in Nigeria, author and title cards are collected in a single alphabetical catalogue. The other which is subject catalogue is an embodiment of the library holdings grouped according to subjects. They are filed in a separate cabinet, but the system of arrangement still remains A-Z. Both cabinets are placed conspicuously in a strategic position in the library for easy access.


Classification is the art or grouping like things together. All the numbers of a group or class produced by classification share at least one characteristics which members of the other class do not possess. For instance; butterfly, moth, housefly, cockroach could be housed under one characteristics which is invertebrates, a common features which rats, or rabbits and squirrels do not possess. Through classification, we cope with the multitude of unorganized impressions received by our senses. We can use classification to impose order on chaos. Classification simplifies the process of thought Let us look it from this angle.

Supposing we have a bundle of shirts, it may be divided into colour, size, materials, cleanliness etc. if the shirts are sorted according to materials, we will have something like silk shirts, cotton shirts, woolen shirts, nylon shorts etc. these characteristics are fundamental to the nature of the shirts and they are natural characteristics.

Classification of library resources, simply defined as a systematic arrangement by subject of books and other materials on shelves, catalogue and index entries in a manner which is most useful to those who seek definite piece of information. In other words, classification is the process of categorizing similar item and bringing them together. At the end of the exercise every member of a group so classified has at least one feature distinguishing it from members of other groups.

The making of classification is infact one of the most significant processes in learning, developing the ability to generalize; to make abstractions; is a necessary stage in the formation of concepts and the mastery of ideas. It is an integral part of the process of thinking and has therefore an important role to play not only in the coding and arrangement of information but also in the main activity of reference service, helping an acquirer to sort out his ideas into a pattern, a structural system of knowledge. Nevertheless, one is always at liberty to adopt either a ‘general scheme’ which embraces the whole field of knowledge or a ‘special classification scheme’ that embraces only one subject and its cognates. Some of the best known classification scheme in use today include: the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme ?(DDC), the Bibliographic classification of Henry Bliss, the Colon classification of Ranganathan, the library of Congress classification scheme (LC), the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC).

Historical Background Of Imo State University Library Owerri

Imo state university was established in 1981 through law No4 passed by the Imo state House of Assembly, Owerri. It was later amended by edict 27 of 1985, another in 1988 and finally for the location by the law No 2 of 1992. the university hold its temporary site located at the former Madonna High school, Ihitte, with professor M.J.C Echeruo as its first vice chancellor.

The decision to establish a state university was informed by the absence of a federal university which was tremendously felt by the people of Imo state. The government of late chief Samuel Mbakwe sought and obtained the approval of the federal government for the establishment of the Imo state university as a liberal studies tertiary institution in the state. The university commenced multi-campus experiment with its main campus located at Etiti in Okigwe senatorial zone with a campus located at Aba. The university was then relocated at Okigwe in one campus.

With the creation of Abia state in 1991, the entire physical facilities and human resources of IMSU were carded to Abia state. The government of Chief Evan Enwerem in April 1992 filled the vacuum by re-establishing the university in Owerri. The, the deputy vice chancellor of UNN professor T.O.C Ndubuisi was appointed as the vice chancellor.

The university was temporary accommodated within the campus of Alvan Ikoku College of Education from May to December 1992 and later the university moved to the own premises of four building with the federal university of technology, Owerri at the lake Nwaebere campus.

The university library was established alongside with the parent institution. The library is situated behind the university auditorium. It consist of two large buildings which are joined together. The library contained up to 30,000 volumes of books and 250-300 readers at full capacity. There is a spacious accommodation for an education technology center.

Membership of the library is free and open to students, academic and non-academic staff. The library is open when the school is in session from 8.00am to 7.00 pm, Monday to Friday, 9.00 am to 1.00 pm Saturday. 11.00am to 2.00pm environmental sanitation day. During vacation 8.00 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Friday.
Note: the library is closed on Sunday and public holidays.

Historical Background Of Federal Polytechnic Library Nekede, Owerri

This history of federal polytechnic Nekede library is tied to its parent institution. The federal polytechnic Nekede, Owerri was established by the edict No 16 of 1978 with its former name as college of technology Owerri. On the 15th of December 1978, the school moved to its temporary site at government trade center along Egbu road with a population of about 1350 students.

The institution was renamed by an amendment decree of 1st January 1993 to federal polytechnic Nekede and on 17th of April 1993; the institution was completely taken over by the federal government. The collection of the federal polytechnic Nekede was used in one of the apartment block in school of engineering until 1998 when the foundation was completed in the year 2000, its operation started in 2001. The library staff is above forty and made up of professional, Para-professional and supportive staff.

The library clientele are many because the library is open to all students of the institution, students from other institutions, staff and researchers from outside the polytechnic. The library collections have about 17,000 books, 8600 periodicals, 7,000 newspapers and new audio-visual materials. The library also has few professional journals.

The library has so many sections which include: the acquisition, circulation, technical and virtual library section.

1.2 Objectives Of The Study

Objectives serve as guide to any researcher. They enable the researcher to focus his or her mind on specific areas of the research without being influenced by personal prejudices. Therefore the objectives of this study are:-

  1. To find out the importance of cataloguing and classification in library services.
  2. To identify the cataloguing code or scheme used in the libraries under view.
  3. To ascertain the role of cataloguing and classification in the arrangement of library materials.
  4. To ensure easy accessibility and retrieval of library materials.
  5. To determine the problems that militates against cataloguing and classification.
  6. To proffer solutions to the identified problems.

1.3 Aims / Purpose Of Study

The purpose of this study therefore is to carefully and clearly explain the relevance of cataloguing and classification in library and information science curriculum in respect to students in IMSU and FPNO. The newcomers into the field of librarianship and the layman may not know the importance of this twin concept in practical applications. However, after going through this work one will definitely be in a position to understand and appreciate the indispensability of cataloguing and classification in organizing and enhancing knowledge.

1.4 Scope / Limitation

Considering the time and numerous forms of imposition on collection in forms of subject control taken by the IMSU and FPNO libraries for the purpose of organizing and accessing knowledge, this study has been limited only to the relevance of cataloguing and classification in achieving this purpose.

Other dimension of cataloguing and classification such as cataloguing rules codes, cataloguing arrangement and classification schemes will be briefly treated as to enable a fuller understanding of the argument that follows.

There will be no limitation as to the sources of information for this study as books and non-book materials will be refereed to and consulted. Nevertheless, there may be financial problem as a result of the economic crunch in the country. This might limit the extent of literature search, the volume of the work and study design. However, great effort will be made to make sure that the inherent limitations do not hinder the production of a qualitative work that will serve intellectual and academic purpose as intended.

1.5 Research Questions

  1. What are the importance of cataloguing and classification in library services?
  2. What are the cataloguing codes or scheme used in the libraries under view?
  3. What role do cataloguing and classification play in the arrangement of library materials?
  4. In what ways can one ensure easy accessibility and retrieval of library materials?
  5. What are the problem that militates against cataloguing and classifications?
  6. In what ways can the problem associated with cataloguing and classification be solved?

1.6 Methodology

To conduct research for this study, various ways have been mapped out.

Firstly, personal experience obtained through observation of the operation of some libraries and also record inspection of what already existed in this field of cataloguing and classification will come into play.

References on these valuable records and lecture notes will contribute to the generalizations that will be reached at the end of this work. The consciousness of producing a qualitative work will lead the researcher to many places including institutions, libraries, information center and even a book vendor.

Personal interview with persons considered knowledgeable in this field of research will be conducted. The purpose is to find out facts that may not be adequately taken care of in the questionnaire.

Finally, a set of questionnaire will be distributed to librarians, students in IMSU and FPNO and those that re knowledgeable in the field of library science.

Chapter Five

Conclusion / Recommendations

5.1 Conclusions

Analysis of data collected has led to the conclusion made in this chapter

From the knowledge of the respondents, cataloguing and classification occupies very high places in the organization of materials and information retrieval in library practice.

The popular cataloguing code- the second edition of the Anglo-American cataloguing rules and the classification schemes are not all the adequate due to certain limitations.

These limitations have resulted in the imposition of different forms of house style arrangements to ensure efficient and effective organization and information retrieval system in libraries.

Another conclusion that results from this study is that academics libraries favour the use of library of congress classification scheme and adopt the classified catalogue arrangement to suit the academic need of the institution.
The analysis on table 11, leads to the conclusion that among other factors lack of fund plays a major role for the inadequate maintenance of an efficient cataloguing and classification system in the libraries.

5.2 Recommendations

From the conclusions arrived in the study, the following recommendations are preferred in the belief that adherence to them will bring cataloguing and classification to their enviable position in the library system.

First of all, the institutions that found the various libraries should attempt to provide adequate funds to make their libraries functional. The libraries in turn should disburse enough fund from the libraries budget to the technical services department for cataloguing and classification.

The librarians should feel concerned on the lack of adequate utilization of their catalogue by users of the library.

Therefore, the library should form time to time mount or organize “a library use programme” to teach the patrons on the use, as well as the important of cataloguing in the exploration of the library collections. This will lead to maximization of user’s satisfaction and will definitely enhance the library’s image among her clientele.

Librarians should ensure the maintenance of uniformity and consistency Son whatever types of house-style imposition on cataloguing and classification of library materials in their applications. They should be mindful of their clienteles’ level of understanding before adopting such approach.

The library catalogue should always be updated by interfiling and withdrawal of catalogue cards of newly acquired and processed materials and that of needed or lost materials respectively. This will make the cards less bulky and saves users time.

Finally, it needs no emphasis to convince anybody the cataloguing we use in Nigeria are “foreign culture bound”. Our cataloguing experts should now look forward to fashioning out level schemes and codes that will be generally acceptable instead of over reliance in foreign ones.

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