UK Standard Library Categories

Note this scheme was originally published as a draft and called e4libraries Subject Category Headings. This scheme was revised by a panel of experts and the new UKSLC scheme is the result of this process.

The UKSLC is based on the BIC standard subject categories used in bookshops and by online retailers. The scheme is designed for the public library sector to provide library-oriented category headings applicable across the full range of adult non-fiction, fiction and children's/young adult stock.

Many library authorities have adopted categorisation schemes for fiction and non-fiction over the past forty years. The majority of them apply these categories solely at item level to determine shelf display, though a minority also use them to provide a searchable option within the main title-level catalogue record. However, most of these schemes are unique to the authority concerned and rely heavily for their operation on costly and time-consuming staff intervention.

Adoption of a scheme of BIC-based standard subject/genre categories, made available to libraries in addition to existing Dewey classifications, offers the opportunity to reduce cost and streamline workflows by automating the categorisation process, and to support further improvements in stock selection, management, discovery and display.

The scheme provides a comprehensive set of fixed title-level category headings capable of supporting and facilitating all of the following functions:

• shelf display/browsing
• electronic display/browsing
• standardised servicing
• reduction in complexity and cost of processing and selection
• evidence-based assessment of stock demand, supply and performance
• comparative performance analysis
• selection specification
• personalised recommendations
• links with retail sites

At the same time it offers authorities a degree of flexibility in determining item-level shelfmarks, the categories used to organise and display stock in individual locations, allowing them to customise the scheme to meet their specific needs and to integrate it with existing schemes they have already developed.
It is very much hoped that UK libraries and their suppliers will adopt UKSLC.

Details of the full scheme can be found here.
Last updated in January 2016 - this version contains two minor code changes which are shown in the above PDF in red font.

Summary of changes between e4libraries and UKSLC can be found here.

Details of changes made from e4libraries categories to UKSLC documentation can be found here.

NEW!! Draft implementation guidelines to help with migration from e4libraries to UKSLC in UKMARC and MARC21

Some BIC members have requested extra guidance on implementation specifically in migrating from the old e4libraries subject scheme to the new UKSLC subject scheme and in receiving these subject categories in UKMARC and MARC21.

As always, as this is a draft, any changes or other relevant input would be gratefully received and any member who needs further clarification or additional help, please contact BIC.

Download the UKSLC in UKMARC and MARC21 implementation guidelines here.

For reference the original e4libraries category headings can be seen here. Note that this  scheme has now been superseded by UKSLC category headings.

E4libraries Category Headings: Adult non-fiction and adult fiction
(September 2008; corrected October 2010)

E4libraries Category Headings: Children's and young adults
(September 2008)