Cataloguing & Classification Committee

What we do

The Cataloguing & Classification Committee supports the cataloguing and classification of all art materials in libraries, promoting effective discovery of library resources for the visual arts, architecture and design, and by supporting development and research in the cataloguing and classification of art materials in libraries.

We support librarians responsible for providing bibliographic access to these resources by maintaining and disseminating awareness of good practice, especially in the light of technological, organisational and cultural change.


Action Plan for 2018/2019 (tbc)

Who we are

Co-Chair | Deborah Lee |  Senior Cataloguer, Courtauld Institute of Art
deborah dot lee at courtauld dot ac dot uk

Co-Chair | Yamuna Ravindran | Drawing Room Library, London
Secretary | Katie Blackford | Tate, London
katie dot blackford@tate dot org dot uk

Minutes secretary and student member | Kalliopi Anyfantaki | City, University of London

Committee Member | Mary Mitchell | Courtauld Institute of Art

Past Chair | Nicky Ransom | University for the Creative Arts


Forthcoming workshops

List of past workshops available here


Cataloguing resources produced by the Cataloguing and Classification Committee
Art Libraries Journal, vol. 36, no. 4, 2011, edited by Gillian Varley. ISSN 0307-4722.

The committee, led by Deborah Lee, co-ordinated a special issue of the Art Libraries Journal on the subject of classification in art libraries. Written by a variety of contributors including some committee members, the articles provide an interesting overview of the issues associated with this aspect of bibliographic control.

The first part of the issue looks at how successfully established classification schemes cater for art-related materials, with articles that discuss the relative merits of DDC, UDC, Bliss and Library of Congress Classification within the context of a variety of institutions. The second part covers some of the current issues in classification in art libraries, such as the problems of updating an adapted classification scheme to maintain its currency, discussions about the reclassification issues encountered during library mergers and the practical steps involved in reclassifying an area of library stock, and the challenges of classifying photography. The final article describes a museum library that has moved away from traditional classification to concentrate on keyword indexing for access to its collections.

Artists’ books: a cataloguers’ manual compiled by Maria White, Patrick Perratt and Liz Lawes (London: ARLIS/UK & Ireland, 2006). viii, 93 p.: ill.; 21cm. ISBN 0-9552445-0-1/978-0-9552445-0-6.

This manual is designed for anyone involved in the cataloguing of artists’ books. As many cataloguers may not be very familiar with the genre, the manual is preceded by an introductory section giving a brief history of artists’ books, a discussion of the problems associated with defining the term itself and an outline of specific problems the cataloguer may face. The manual itself takes the cataloguer through each applicable rule from AACR2, offering guidance on interpretation and, where necessary, expanding on the rules. Appendices include full examples in MARC21, some with photographs, a bibliography and a list of websites that the cataloguer may find useful. The manual is in an easy to use spiral bound A5 format.

What the reviewers say:

‘This manual […] will come as a welcome addition to the cataloguer’s reference shelf.’ (Simon Ford,ARLIS News-sheet, Issue 183, September/October 2006, p3)
‘At last a proper manual for cataloguing artists’ books!’ (Sarah Bodman, Book Arts Newsletter, No. 29, September 2006)
‘This is a very useful book, not just for the special collections cataloguer but those working in more general collections who are likely to encounter artists’ books only now and again.’ (Richard Price,Catalogue & Index, No. 155, Winter/Spring 2007, p71)

Cataloguing artists’ videos and DVDs: diversions and frictions (Notes, 2nd draft 16/8/2005) compiled by Jacqueline Cooke and Patrick Perratt on behalf of the ARLIS/UK & Ireland Cataloguing and Classification Committee, and presented at the ARLIS workshop Artists’ film and video: building a balanced collection, 10 June 2005, Kent Institute of Art & Design, Canterbury.

The guidelines are based on MARC21 and AACR2, with other compatible guidelines for cataloguing moving image material, from the art libraries milieu. The authors highlight some of the difficulties of cataloguing this material in this format to provide a simplified guide.

The draft guidelines, presentation, and references can be downloaded below:

Draft guidelines (246KB PDF)
Presentation (1.51MB PDF)
References (76KB PDF)

Jacqueline has recently written an article about cataloguing artists’ videos for the Art libraries journal. Details about the article can be found at: Cooke, Jacqueline (2009) Cataloguing artists’ videos.Art libraries journal. vol.34, no.3, pp.40-45.

Trade literature: cataloguing and classification guidelines compiled by Bernadette Archer and Kaye Bagshaw for the ARLIS/UK & Ireland Cataloguing and Classification Committee (London: ARLIS/UK & Ireland, 2004). ISBN 0-9519674-8-7. (Originally sold as a boxed CD and now available as a PDF (549KB PDF) file to download for free.)

These guidelines are designed for anyone whose collections include trade literature, both current and historic. They provide general guidance on cataloguing and classifying these ephemeral resources.

Art exhibition documentation in libraries: cataloguing guidelines compiled by the ARLIS/UK & Ireland Cataloguing and Classification Committee (London: ARLIS/UK & Ireland, 2000). ISBN 0-9519674-7-9.

An invaluable addition to the professional literature for cataloguers who handle exhibition catalogues and other related documentation.