# Write an essay on Colon Classification discussing its features and structure

## Write an essay on Colon Classification discussing its features and structure

Colon Classification is one of the most systematic schemes of Library Classifications used in many libraries in India and a few libraries abroad as well. This was devised by the late Dr. S.R. Ranganathan. He found the existing scheme of library classification unable to cope with the multidimensional dynamic growth of universe of subjects. Colon Classification proceeds in a different manner in spite of enumerating all possible subjects and their sub-divisions, it analyses the subject in its various components and places them under five fundamental categories known as personality, matter, energy, space and time.

GENESIS OF COLON CLASSIFICATION

Ranganathan was a mathematics lecturer. It was a mere accident that he was appointed Librarian of the Madras University Library in the year 1924. He was soon deputed to Britain for an observational tour of British libraries. While in Britain he also attended classes in the School of Librarianship, University of London. Berwick Sayers, known as' the grammarian of library classification, was one of the teachers at the School. During his tour of Britain; Ranganathan visited several libraries and was quick to notice the lacunae in the classification schemes in use then. A chance visit to a departmental store in London gave Ranganathan a clue for evolving a scheme of classification. He saw the demonstration of a toy called meccano set.

The meccano set consists of several slotted strips, rods, wheels, screws, nuts and bolts with which several different models could be made. This gave him the idea that in a classification scheme there should be standard units that could be joined by connecting symbols. Ranganathan's standard units resembled the strips and his connecting symbols resembled the nuts and bolts of the meccano set. The standard units became the schedules. Thus, a class number could be constructed with the different elements enumerated in the schedules with a connecting symbol and he chose the colon as t

he connecting symbol. This was, dip, Ranganathan's conception of Colon Classification. The foundation of Colon Classification was laid in Britain in the year 1924. In 1925, his journey back to India gave Ranganathan ample time to work on the schedules. The library on the ship he was travelling in and the Madras University Library's book catalogue, which he was carrying with him served as the working equipment for him.

Write an essay on Colon Classification discussing its features and structure

To connect or to synthesize the various components of a subject, different connection symbols have been provided. Readymade class numbers are also available, but to build a class number, one has to analyze and pick up the possible isolates belonging to different fundamental categories which are then put together with the help appropriate connecting symbols. Colon Classification involves analysis and synthesis that is why it is known as the ‘Analytico-synthetic’ scheme of classification. The number building makes the scheme somewhat complicated and difficult to work with, but once understood and followed it works efficiently and effectively.

The Colon Classification is a general scheme which aims to classify by subject all kinds of documents- books, periodicals, reports, pamphlets, microforms and electronic media in all kinds of libraries. CC is al andmark in the modern classification thought and has greatly influenced the modern classification research and developments.

#### Colon Classification:

Colon Classification (CC) is the brain – child of Shiyali Rarnamrita Ranganathan. It was first published in the year 1933 (Ranganathan, 1933). Till now seven editions of CC have been published. The seven editions as per their features are grouped in three groups called versions (Gopinath, 1976).

The postulational approach: The universe of subjects as represented by documents is multidimensional. However, the documents can be arranged on the library shelves only in a linear manner. It is difficult to arrange the multidimensional universe of subjects in an uni-dimensional way. To overcome this difficulty Ranganathan resorted to the postulational approach.

‘A postulate is a statement about which we cannot use either of the epithets ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. We can only speak of a set of postulate as helpful or unhelpful’ (Ranganathan, 1962). Gopinath discusses postulational approach and believes that it has provided objectivity and scientific basis to CC (Gopinath, 1986). M. M. Kashyap reviews development and impact of postulational approach (Kashyap, 1986).

Postulate of Fundamental Categories: Ranganathan has based his CC on many postulates. The postulate of fundamental categories is one of them. According to Ranganathan there are five and only five fundamental categories- viz. Time, Space, Energy, Matter and Personality, which are defined by enumeration only (Ranganathan, 1989d).

Write an essay on Colon Classification discussing its features and structure

The number of categories, however, differ from person to person (Seetharama, 1972). These categories being postulates have no scientific justification but are extremely useful in library classification. Ranganathan not only enumerated the fundamental categories but also recommended their sequence as PMEST. Hemalata Iyer analyzes this sequence in the context of user preferences. (Iyer, 1986). Based on the fundamental categories, Ranganathan developed the concept of facet analysis. Facet analysis is useful in designing faceted / analytico-synthetic classification schemes. Facet analysis has many more applications which are described by Devadasan (1986). The terms representing fundamental categories may have different meanings in different subjects, however Ranganathan used them with a specific context i.e.

#### Personality:

Personality covers manifestations of wholeness, for example, chemical compounds, plants and animals and parts of them, languages religions, etc. The other Fundamental Categories are attributes of Personality.

Without Personality, there can be no organ, constituent, attribute, action, reaction or incidence in space and time. Personality forms the basis, the host, locus of all other categories. In the main class ‘library and information science’ (LIS) concepts like libraries, information sources, library personnel, and users form the locus to the other fundamental categories. That is the reason these isolates belong to the fundamental category, Personality.

The fundamental category, Personality presents great difficulty in its identification. It is too elusive. It is ineffable (Ranganathan, 1989e). As it is difficult to identify the fundamental category, Personality, Ranganathan suggested the ‘method of residues’ for its identification.

Norman Roberts provides a definitional analysis of Personality and discusses the limitations of this concept (Roberts, 1969). Foskett (1961) and Grolier (1962) provide a critical evaluation of Personality.

Write an essay on Colon Classification discussing its features and structure

#### Matter:

Since the recent past name of the fundamental category Matter is replaced by Matter Property [MP]. Initially, as Ranganathan claimed this fundamental category represented materials only. Later on two more manifestations of this category were identified, i.e. Matter Property and Matter Method. (Ranganathan, 1971). Library activities like classification, cataloguing, circulation, etc. for example, represent the property of the Personality of the library. So they belonged to Matter facet. The fundamental category Matter Method mostly manifests in science and technology subjects. For example in the main class ‘geology’ isolates like ‘mechanical, seismological’, etc. manifest as Matter Method isolates. Neelameghan and Gopinath (1967) discuss the problems in grouping of [MP] isolates and solutions thereto.