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Local Documents Classification System


The UCF Local Documents Classification System was created to provide access to information produced about local communities using a structure similar to those classification systems used for federal and state documents.  The UCF system is primarily based on a classification system developed by librarians Susan Weiss, Elaine Winske, and Jennifer Fu at Florida International University (FIU) for their Urban, Regional and Local (URL) Documents Collection.  Almost all of the descriptive text about this UCF system directly replicates text written by Elaine Winske at FIU and is used with her kind permission.

The classification system is alphanumeric with components that identify as many as five levels of organization. The first level organizes material by geography. Alphanumeric geographic codes were established for the 67 Florida counties, the places within those counties and the eleven planning regions which encompass these groups of counties. A code was also established for the state of Florida to bring together state-wide documents not included in the purview of the State Depository collection. The numeric second level is subject-based with a potential decimal number extension for the third level which modifies material according to population groups and/or function. The fourth level then arranges material by the type of publication. The last level distinguishes one title from another and uses a book extension to identify multiple pieces if necessary.

Classification System

Part 1: Geography

This classification system is geography-based. Upper case letters and numbers were used as geographic codes for the initial component which provides the basic level of organization of the classification system.

Alpha geographic codes were established for Florida's eleven planning regions as the topmost geographic level. Use of the two-character planning region codes groups neighboring counties together on the shelves immediately following materials from the regional planning council that covers those counties.

The FIU classification system only dealt with five counties in the South Florida region and was able to use shorter geographic coding because the first letter of the names of the five counties did not pose any conflicts. Modifications to the coding were necessary to handle Central Florida counties (e.g., Orange, Osceola) so the coding was expanded to three alphanumeric characters to cover all 67 counties.  It was not possible to use the first three letters of each county because of conflicts with Collier / Columbia and Marion / Martin.  Although a 2-digit numeric system 01-67 could have been used, it was decided that retaining an alphabetic link to the county names would be very useful.  The initial character is the first letter of the county name; the next two characters are the number of the county in alphabetic order; e.g., the first and last counties, Alachua and Washington, are coded respectively as A01 and W67.  The three character county code is used alone for documents whose coverage is county-wide or deal with more than one place within the county. It is used in combination with other letters to represent places within the counties.

The geographic codes for unincorporated areas with a name were formed from the first three letters of one word names or the initial letters of the first two words of multiple-word names. If this rule does not create an alphabetic arrangement of places, the codes are adjusted to permit an alphabetic arrangement. The three letter code for unincorporated areas follows the three character county code and is separated from it by a shilling mark. (/, i.e. O48/ALO for the Aloma area of Orange County). Documents for unincorporated areas would immediately follow county documents.

Place name geographic codes are made up of four upper case letters. For one word place names the first four letters are used. For two word place names, the first choice is to use the first two letters of the first word with the first two letters of the second word. The second choice would be to use the first three letters of the first word with the first letter of the second word. The third choice would be to use the first letter of the first word with the first three letters of the second word. Place names with three or more words may also use initial letters from the third or fourth words if helpful. Examples of when the alternatives would be used are: 1) the first option does not create an alphabetic arrangement, 2) the alternate choices provide maximum flexibility for possible additions, or 3) only the first letter of a direction (north, south, east, or west) is used. Exceptions to these guidelines were made to preserve an alphabetic arrangement of place names.

Significant neighborhoods within a place are identified by a three letter code. The place code and the neighborhood code are separated by a shilling mark (/), which follows the place code and is separated in the same way as unincorporated areas. The three letter neighborhood codes are established with the same rules used for unincorporated areas.

Appendix A contains a complete listing of the geographic codes.

Part 2: Subject Categories

The second level of organization is numeric with up to four digits. The third and fourth digits represent a general subject category, while the first and second digits represent a specific subject category. Treating these elements independently permitted a non-hierarchical classification and allowed up to ninety-nine possibilities for each category, an adequate number even for specific subject categories. The use of a zero as the fourth digit in the general subject category is optional as it does not change the value of the number. The use of a zero as the second digit in the specific category is mandatory since its absence would alter the number. An outline of the general subject categories precedes the subject codes in Appendix B .

Part 3: Population Group and/or Function Extension

The third component is a three digit decimal number extension of the subject categories number. If applicable, it is used to modify the subject according to both population group and/or function. The first two digits are used to represent population groups. The third digit is used to represent a "function:. Both aspects may be utilized in a classification number or each aspect may be present individually. If only a population group is used as a modifier, the extension may appear as a two digit number since there would be no function value assigned to the third digit. When only a function modifier is used, leading zeroes for the first and second digit must be used to preserve the third digit value for function.

The term function is used here to identify the "functional aspects" of governing bodies. Planning and budget are examples of functions used for this extension. There is a complete listing of the definitions and codes for population group and function extensions in Appendix C .

Part 4: Type of Publication Extension

The extension for type of publication is used for all titles. It is the fourth component and follows the population group/function extension if that extension is used. When the population group/function extension is not used the type of publication extension directly follows the subject categories number. It is separated from the preceding component by a schilling mark (/). The fourteen types of publications were adapted from the Superintendent of Documents Classification System with only minor changes. A complete listing is found in Appendix D .

Part 5: Title/Series Designator

The last component is the title/series designator which is represented by a Cutter number. The Cutter table used for this alpha-numeric method of alphabetizing is from the shelflisting section of the Library of Congress's Subject Cataloging Manual. When the need to repeat a Cutter number occurs, a schilling mark followed by the number of the occurrence (/n) is used as and extension. For example, the second occurrence of the cutter C 53 would be represented by C 53/2 and the third occurrence would appear as C 53/3. This is the same method used in the Superintendent of Documents Classification System.

For multi-part or serial titles, a book number extension follows the Cutter number. a schilling mark(/) also separates the book number form the Cutter number and is used to separate different parts of a book number. There are many ways to identify the pieces of a serial or multi-part title. for titles whose issues or editions are distinguished by a year or range of years, the last three digits of the date/dates are used as a book number. When a date and a month identify issues, the last three digits of the year are followed by the number of the month separated by a schilling mark (/). When the enumeration is a volume number and an issue number, the book number extension consists of these numbers separated by a shilling mark. The preceding patterns as well as additional conventions form other documents classifications systems are used along with common sense to distinguish multiple parts and pieces. Appendix E contains the Cutter table and a list of sample book number extensions.


A thesaurus was created from the terms in the classification system. It serves as an index to the system and is used to provide "keyword" access to the collection in lieu of subject access from assignment of Library of Congress subject headings. The thesaurus is included as Appendix F .

Looking for something else? Ask for assistance at the UCF Library's Reference Desk.

Prepared by:  Rich Gause, Government Documents Librarian
This webpage is based on information from a webpage created by Elaine Winske at the Florida International University Library and is used with her kind permission.
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Last updated October 13, 2011 9:29:55 AM

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