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Anthropology, Human Biology and Health Sciences

This leaflet gives guidance on the application and use of Class H : Anthropology, Human Biology, Health Sciences – a detailed classification for use in libraries and information centres of all kinds, whether general, academic or specialised, and which employs the techniques of facet analysis.


Class H covers all aspects of biological and medical sciences – human development (including genetics), biochemistry, preventive medicine, health and hygiene, curative and clinical medicine, diseases and pathology – and biological anthropology.


The main feature of the Classification is the organisation of all the main concepts (such as nursing) into broad categories or facets. Within each facet all the terms which reflect a sub-category (such as qualification) are brought together into a subordinate facet called an array or subject (such as student nurses). A facet may have many different arrays.

However, unlike most other classes in BC, Class H is not a homogeneous class as Health Sciences are not strictly a part of human biology, but rather an application. Class H is therefore separated into two distinct sub-classes of Anthropology: Human Biology and Health Sciences.

Facets in Human Biology HA/HG are: Types of mankind, races (e.g. isolated peoples), Processes of the human organism (e.g. developmental, physiological), Common facets (e.g. research, bibliographic forms) cited last.

Facets in Health Sciences HH/HY are: Individuals (e.g. infants, women), Parts, organs, systems (e.g. Head, skin, nervous system), Processes (pathological), Actions on persons (e.g. diagnosis), Agents of actions (e.g. equipment, personnel), Common facets.

The filing order of the facets is the reverse of the citation order. The purpose of inversion (as this is called) is to maintain a consistent general-before-special filing order of all classes.

Classifying using an inverted schedule

A classifier first must analyse the subject of an item into its key concepts or components.These are then put into the reverse order of the BC2 schedule i.e. a concept from the primary (first-cited) facet comes before one from the second facet and so on. The above components of a compound subject are then combined to give the final classmark.

Classmarks are best divided into groups of three letters, which readers will find easier to grasp.Usually, only the initial H is retained in the combined classmark:

Ethics in nursing practice   HMY HGC E

Nursing practice   HMY
Medical ethics     HHG CE

Tuberculosis in young people   HXT WHN TK

Adolescents   HXT
Tuberculosis  HWH NTK

This technique is called retroactive notation and the above are relatively simple examples.

To specify place, language or form, use the Common auxiliary schedules (from the BC2 volume 'Introduction and Auxiliary Schedules'):

Chronic disease in South Africa   HPT H8V Q

Chronic disease   HPT H
South Africa      8VQ

Additionally, Class H uses intercalators or facet indicators to introduce earlier broad categories and/or subjects which can also avoid the occasional use of exceptionally long classmarks. Special 'auxiliary schedules' are provided in Class H for this purpose: H1, H2 and H3. Instructions are given with each list, but detailed examples follow.

Amending the tuberculosis example from above to Treatment of tuberculosis in young people brings in the broader subject Treatment. Note down all of the different concepts separately. Without the intercalator, the classmark would be: HXT WHN TKN P, but to introduce the concept of treatment into the class, an intercalator is used. Using Schedule H3 find the instruction for adding to the category of clinical medicine (treatment) HNP. The instruction will say: "Add to the classmark of the part (in this example HXT) the intercalator F and all letters following HN as required". In this example, both adolescents and tuberculosis are within the same facet and can be combined as HXT WHN TK. The letter F then introduces the letter P from HNP (treatment) giving the final classmark as: HXT WHN TKF P

Further examples:-
The nurse as caregiver in terminal illness  HPK PEY

Terminal illness   HPK P
Nursing care       HMY

Nursing is introduced by the intercalator E from schedule H2 (dropping the letters HM from HMY).

Treatment of swelling in whiplash injuries   HTG JND KXJ KFP

Whiplash   HTG JND KX
Swelling   HPT K
Treatment  HNP

Swelling is introduced by the intercalator J from schedule H3 (dropping letters HPT) and Treatment by F from schedule H2 (dropping letters HN). Detailed instructions are given in the Introduction to Class H and in the schedule itself.

Citation Order

The order in which the components of a compound subject are combined (taking them from their different facets) is called citation order and BC2's is designed to give the most logical and helpful order of books on the shelf and to avoid questions such as 'is this book shelved under young people or tuberculosis?' Readers will know, for example, to look for a book on health care of adolescents generally at HXT, but for one on treatment of tuberculsosis in adolescents at HXT WHN TKF P.


BC2 recognises that the rigid application of its citation order may not best serve the needs of its readers in all libraries.For example, a library may wish to keep all loosely related subjects within Class H, rather than introduce separate sections, such as Class Q: Social Welfare or Class I: Psychology. BC2 provides for this option by drawing on its other schedules, with instructions to 'add' classmarks from other classes e.g. from Class Q Social Welfare at HJA ODD EV (patient participation). Classifiers will need to refer to the relevant schedules for detailed vocabulary.

The classifier's first task must be to decide which alternatives are best for their library's users and to mark these in the schedule. Once chosen, the alternatives must be adhered to.

Outline of Class H

Subject Index

As BC2's vocabulary is extensive and up-to-date, it is easy to create a subject index using the terms in the schedules. This index must not duplicate the order of the schedule or the order of the books on the shelves as its purpose is to bring together `scattered' terms.To achieve this, the elements in the index entry for any book should be the reverse of the order of the components of its classmark, giving entries such as:

Nursing care : terminal illness            HPK PEY

Drug therapy : adverse side effects        HNV JD

Treatment : swelling : whiplash injuries   HTG JND KXJ KFP

Details of the application of other classes are available separately and may be obtained from the Honorary Secretary who can also provide contact addresses of librarians who are already using Class H. Published classes may be ordered directly from the publisher, K. G. Saur.

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