The Haddon Library


Bliss classification

Most of the books in the Main Reading Room are arranged according to the Bliss Classification Scheme (BC2), which is also used by the following College libraries in Cambridge:

Sidney Sussex College
Fitzwilliam College
Queens’ College
Jesus College
King’s College
Bliss Classification Association

BC2 is named after its inventor, Henry Evelyn Bliss (1870–1955). BC2 builds its classmarks mainly out of letters, rather than the numbers that may be more familiar. See the outline below. For further information about BC2, and about other libraries that use this scheme, see the Bliss Classification Association website.

Here is a rough outline of the Bliss Classification Scheme — showing the parts that are most heavily used in the Haddon

Bliss as used in the Haddon — classmark order
Bliss as used in the Haddon — A/Z subject order


Below is an outline of the Bliss classification scheme, as used in the Haddon. We have a more detailed printed guide, kept in two ring-binders; come and ask. Or you could do your subject searches using Newton. But meanwhile, if you are eager to browse at the shelves rather than work via catalogues, here is a wheeze that you may find helpful: think of the place.

In Social Anthropology and Archaeology, most of the time, we shelve books first and foremost according to geographical area.

In Soc. Anth., for example, a book about the press in India is going to be somewhere in the range KVO-KVT (Asia and the Pacific); a book about amateur music-making in England is going to be somewhere in the range KVD-KVN (Europe). In Archaeology, a book about Stonehenge will be in the range LAE-LAN (places in Europe [prehistory]); a book about the Zimbabwe ruins will be in OX-OZ (Africa).

Think of the place is not an absolute rule. Some books can’t be tied down to particular places. In Soc. Anth., you’ll find most of those books in the range K-KU. In Arch., they’ll be at L-LAD.

Then there are the anomalies. In Soc. Anth., we stick by the decision of the previous Haddon Librarian, that books on women’s studies go at KNW rather than by country. In Archaeology, we have to grit our teeth at the complexities which period divisions and country divisions have done to each other.

With those caveats in mind, however, we reckon that the arrangement is both simple and sensible.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact a member of Haddon staff – at the issue desk, or by phone to 01223 333505, or by email.

30 November 2005

The Haddon’s reclassification to Bliss was supported by the Thriplow Trust, the John and Ruth Howard Trust, and many alumni. Thanks are also due to Liz Russell for her work on this project, and to Heather Lane, the Secretary of the Bliss Classification Association, for valuable suggestions. And let us remember Martin Joy (1949-1999), who raced ahead with the project through a summer and an autumn, and died too soon.

AX statistics
GGE evolution
GHT animal behaviour
GQQ primates
human biology
HBP biochemistry
HFN genetics
HP pathology
K1-K9 theories and methods in social sciences
KA-KU topics in social sciences
KNV gender
KPD ethnicity
KV places
KVD-KVN Europe
KVO-KVT Asia & Pacific
KVU A Australia
KVV Africa
KVX-KVZ The Americas
KW folklore and mythology
history and archaeology
LAA archaeological generalities and techniques
LAB C-LAB Q artefact types (by material, purpose, &c)
LAB R-LAB Y site types (by terrain, purpose, &c)
LAD prehistoric periods
LAD D Palaeolithic
LAD L Neolithic
LAD W Bronze Age
LAD X Iron Age
LAE-LAN places in Europe (prehistory)
LB-LM other modes of historical study
LN-LW Europe, N. Africa & Middle East – from invention of writing to end of Roman Empire
M-N Europe since the Roman Empire
O-OG The Americas
OH Oceania
OJ Australasia
OK-OV Asia
OX-OZ Africa
social welfare
museum studies