Choosing a Classification System

When choosing a classification (call number system) for your library, consider the following issues: Do you have Judaica only or a broad collection with a Judaica component? Do you have staff with the time and training to create call numbers or do you need to find cataloging with a call number included?

Jewish day schools often use Dewey, since their collections must include secular subjects as well as Judaica. Synagogue and center libraries most often collect only books relating to Jewish subjects, so they would be more likely to classify materials in Elazar or Weine.

Click on this chart by Sheryl Stahl to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of using the following classification schemes in a Judaic library:

  • Library of Congress (LC) (rarely used in synagogues; most often used in academic libraries)
  • Dewey ( to learn more about Dewey services from OCLC or to order materials click here; )
  • Elazar (to order the Elazar classification scheme, ask your local Jewish bookstore or click here to order from Barnes and Noble, or click here to order from Amazon)
  • Weine - If you or your institution belongs to AJL, you have free access to the Weine system on the Member Resources page of the AJL website. If you would like to purchase a hard copy of the Weine classification system, you can order it from Amazon by clicking here.



Suggested reading:

Weinberg, Bella Hass "Judaica classification schemes for synagogues and school libraries: a structural analysis," Judaica Librarianship. V. 4:1 pp. 26-30.

Levy, David B. "Ancient to Modern Jewish Classification Systems" 2001