Classification of the Literature of Freemasonry and Related Societies

English Abstract: 

"The Masonic Classification herewith presented is the result of some twenty-two years of practical experience in the largest masonic library in the world — the Library of the Supreme Council, 33rd Degree at Washington. This Library, in addition to its thousands of items on Freemasonry and related societies, contains also thousands upon thousands of general works in all branches of literature. These latter works are classified according to the well-known Dewey Decimal System, but this system provides no classification of freemasonry, assigning one class only to the subject, which class is practically incapable of subdivision. The scheme which I have devised and which is in successful practical operation, provides for nearly four hundred classes and sub-classes.
Practically all masonic libraries contain much general literature, but as they specialize on freemasonry, it becomes necessary to provide some system which will allow of their classification independently of the general library. Many libraries use the Dewey Decimal System, and I have devised the present scheme to prevent confusion, not only in the classification, but also in the catalogue card number, the book label number, the shelf guide number, and in various other ways, the letter "M" (Masonry) arbitrarily prefixed to the digits, always indicating the card, the book, its label, and the shelf-guide, as of masonic import.
The entire range of masonic literature is divided into ten great classes, somewhat similar to Dewey's ten great classes of general literature. These ten classes are subdivided again and again to suit the requirements of the literature on a given subject. For example, if we have a general history of freemasonry, it goes in class M10. If it is a history of Freemasonry in Europe, it goes in class M17.940, the M17, indicating that it is a geographical division of masonic history, and the 940, indicating that it is a history of Freemasonry in Europe, the 940 being Dewey's notation for Europe. Again, take the class M20, which is Customs and Paraphernalia. Any general work on the subject would go in this class, but if the library possessed literature on the Obituary Rites of freemasonry, it would go in class M20.01; if it had works on Paraphernalia, they would go in class M21; Jewels and Medals would go in M22, and so on."

Alternative Title: 
Boyden-Bish Classification Scheme
English Title: 
Classification of the Literature of Freemasonry and Related Societies
Year of Creation: 
William L. Boyden
KOS Types Vocabulary: 
Washington, DC, United States