Project code: LIS839872   |   Pages: 61   |   Words: 8,095   |   Characters: 49,747   |   Format: Word & PDF


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 has not been made to analyze their tools in library practice even in this era of publication explosion. This research therefore aims at re-emphasizing their tools 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.

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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).

The Federal University of Technology Owerri was established as one of the Technological universities established by the federal government of Nigeria in 1980 but did not admitted students until 1981-1982 academic year. Initially it was located in a temporary site known as take compos up to 1992 the university in mind 1993 was moned to its permanent site which is about (25) kilometers south west of the city center of Owerri, programmes of study in the university are structured under twenty degree awarding department of four school known as faculties in most traditional universities.
The four schools are the schools:

  • School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology (SAAT)
  • School of Engineering and Engineering Technology (SEET)
  • School of Management and Technology (SMAT)
  • Department of Agricultural Economics and extension crop science and Technology.

The library as at December 2000 had 964 foreign titles which in turn enabled it to maintain 3982 bound (excluding newspapers and magazines annual reports, year books and pamphlets but including serious newsletters and buttetin) its books stock as at the above stated year 2000 was 25, 545 volumes excluding maps, Audio-Visuals materials video tapes cassette, transparences etc.
Acquisition of books in Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) has the following three main sources. Over seas subscriptions.
Direct subscriptions to local publishers
Gift and donations

Imo State University was established in 1981 through law No. 4 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.

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:-

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

The purpose of this study therefore is to carefully and clearly explain the cataloguing and classification tools in library in respect to students in IMSU and FUTO. 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.

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


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

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 FUTO and those that re knowledgeable in the field of library science.