Library Survey 2016: Finding books

Photo of section 11 shelf, October 2015

Photo of section 11 shelf, October 2015

Another day, another couple of suggestions made in our Library Survey 2016…. This time: finding books!

The classification system (which makes it impossible to browse for books on a particular topic).

The signatures could be more specific.

More precise classification- it sometimes takes ages to find a book if the author has written multiple works or it is a common surname. There is also no way to browse a specific subject or area or expand beyond the reading list which is limiting to studies

We fully agree! Since October 2015 we have started to

  • add a running number which will help tracking down books.
  • indicate a specific copy of a book (where there are multiple copies of a book) by adding “(x)” (where x is the number of the copy of this book at DivLib)
  • increase the surname of author element from 3 to 4 letters, plus coming up with unique combinations of this “author-ID”, e.g. THQ = Thomas of Aquinas [okay, that’s 3-letters, but it
    is unique]
  • apply an existing element of the classification where secondary literature gets highlighted by the 4-letter “person-ID” being followed by the scholar who wrote about this person (3-letter)

 Since May 2016, we have also changed the classification by adding a number of new sections:

  • Newly-acquired books relating to religion & anthropology, politics, society & gender will now go into section 18 and 19, but previously-acquired books are still all in section 10.

Also, please see

Splitting section 11. It’s ridiculous!

I would like to see the books in Section 11 arranged according to religion for ease of browsing

We fully agree too! After surveying library users in December, and consulting with various academics, as well as discussing this at a Learning Resource Committee meeting, we have implemented the above and following changes, since May 2016:

  • newly-acquired books relating to Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions or religious movements are being placed in section 15, 16, and 17. However, most previously-acquired books covering these areas are still in section 11

We will endeavour to move the most-borrowed books out of the respective sections, but realistically it will take us years to complete this re-classification project. Thank you for your patience.
Read more about this on

A system where it would be harder to lose books, on LibrarySearch it said available, but the book was not on the shelf – recently one of my books was lost so I had to go to the UL rare books room to read it. We appreciate your frustration, but what you describe as a “lost book” might be a book used by someone else, or a book being mis-shelved after use. There is no system in the world which will prevent that from happening, unless you want us to go back to chained books!
Please always report a book as missing. We will try very hard to investigate such missing books further. In May 2016 we also started a daily shelf-tidying approach where we spend time browsing the shelves for misplaced items. We also will consider ordering replacement copies when needed. The important thing is to talk to us please! I’m slightly alarmed by the fact that you say that the book was only available at the UL’s Rare Books Reading Room – could you please get in touch with me to let us know what you were looking for?



One thought on “Library Survey 2016: Finding books

  1. Pingback: Library Survey 2017: classification re-visited | divlib

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