Richardson Numbers
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Richardson classification system
Overview and General Characteristics
See also:
Richardson Classification Tables

    The Richardson classification system, which is unique to Princeton, was devised by Ernest Cushing Richardson, a University Librarian from 1890 to 1920.

    At that time the Dewey classification system was felt to be inappropriate for a research collection, and the Library of Congress system was not yet fully developed.

    Only three types of material are still added in Richardson:

    • Certain types of books cataloged by Near East Technical Services.
    • Added volumes to serial and bookset records that were originally classed in Richardson, as well as titles in monographic series classed as a set (CAS) in a Richardson number.
    • If a new book is an added copy for the same location (ACX) or a replacement of a title with a Richardson number, give the new book the same Richardson number. If it is an added copy for a different location (AC) of a title with a Richardson number, give it an LC number.
    Richardson numbers consist of a class number (which may include decimal numbers) and a book number. The entire call number is filed decimally.

    Class Number:

    • There are no letters or letter combinations in the class number
    • Each class number has a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 6 digits. The first digit may be a 0.

    Book number:
    • The book number usually has no letter component.
    • The book number follows the class number and is preceded by a decimal.
    Prior to July 1994, when Princeton stopped filing shelflist cards, Richardson numbers were formulated on RLIN with a backslash preceding each element (e.g., \3332\.25\.18).

    The complete schedule to the Richardson classification system is located in the (DC) section in Catalog Division. In addition, there is an Outline of Richardson Classification at (DC) Z696.xR55; an Index to the Richardson Classification at (DC) Z696.xR551; and, Princeton University Library Classification System, 1900-1920 at (DC)Z696.P96.