FAT-HUM Classification system

Text on this page is an extract from the project deliverable D4 - Classification structure and data model

structure | citation order | filing order | notation |syntax | examples


MACRO structure/framework

The FAT-HUM classification system consists of the following parts:

  • broad knowledge classification
  • classification of humanities
  • common auxiliaries (generally applicable concepts)
  • provision for further specification with alphabetical extension and /or data from some external system
    (e.g. periodical table, geographical data, postal codes etc.)
(see graphic representation)

Broad knowledge classification represents a sequence of sciences, disciplines and fields of knowledge according to the the theory of 'integrative levels' (see outline).

Classification of humanities comprises the following subject fields/disciplines: Philosophy, History, Religion, Languages (Philology), Literature and the Arts. These fields remain in their logical place in the classification of knowledge and are planned to be developed incrementally. Within the FATKS project the facet analysis is tested on Religion and Visual Arts and vocabulary in the range of 2700 concepts will be available for this two areas (2200 Religion and around 500 for Visual Art).

Generally applicable concepts can be used in any discipline. Keeping them in separate, common auxiliary facets is the usual approach in every modern, faceted classification. These facets contain classification of processes, properties, material, perso, time, ethnic (races), place, form, and language.

Whenever this may be relevant the concepts are linked across all three section of classification vocabulary with 'see also' references creating a type of a semantic network that links the whole of knowledge with humanities and both of these with the common auxiliaries. This type of associative relationship includes: whole-part associative relationships, disciplines and objects or phenomena, an occupation and a person in that occupation, an action and the product of that action, an action and its patient, concepts and their properties, concepts and their origins, causal dependence, a thing/action and its counter-agent, raw material and its product, an action and a property associated with it, a concept and its opposites.

MICRO or inner classification structure

FAT-HUM is a faceted classification developed by organizing concepts of a specific field of knowledge according to the following fundamental concept categories (facets) :

Thing - Kind - Part - Property - Material - Process - Operation - Patient - Product - Byproduct- Agent - Place - Time

The order of facets in the discipline

When using facet analysis for organizing concepts within one field of knowledge, a classificationist needs to make the appropriate choice of facets. Humanities are very specific in the way they treat subjects, and their form of presentation. The facets of products, by product and material, for instance, may be less relevant for humanities while some others need to be
introduced, such as 'theory and philosophy'. Literature will, for instance need a facet of 'literary genres' . In religion, for instance, the following 9 facets are identified to be suitable:

Thing (entity) - i.e. the main facet of Religions. Faiths

Theory and philosophy of Religion

To achieve presentation of knowledge from general to specific, classification will list these facets in the reversed order i.e. in the sequence of 'increasing concreteness' (see Religion outline).

This 'inner' structure of the classification is built in and supported by the notation and system syntax. Knowledge of the facet analytical method is paramount for those designing and creating the classification. The end user or cataloguer, however, need not know the theory of facet analysis. The application of the classification is mechanized by notation and
syntax rules and the process of indexing consists of choosing and combining concepts.


Syntax FATHUM's analytico-synthetic feature

Citation order

The sequence of facets in a combined class symbol is not accidental. The order is called a 'citation order' (facet formula) and it cites subject attributes in the sequence of 'decreasing concreteness'.
Compare examples. If a compound number contains common auxiliaries these are normally cited after facets of disciplines in the order: processes, properties, materials, persons, time, ethnic, place,
form, language.


linear order of facets
Facet Main facet Part Property Process Operation Patient Agent Place Time



Facet indictor [numeric notation] N M K J H E D C A

a) Combining concepts within the same facet


Notation Description Facet it belongs to
J15 Marriage and Family Religious activities. Practice
J1477 Abstinence Celibacy. Religious activities. Practice

J15J1477 Abstinence in marriage


b) Combining concepts between facets


Notation Description Facet it belongs to
590 Religion generally Religions and Faiths
J15 Marriage and Family Religious activities. Practice
J1477 Abstinence Celibacy. Religious activities. Practice

5906J15J1477 Niddah. Abstinence in marriage


Notation Description

Facet it belongs to

5904 Buddhism Religions and Faiths
E31 Originator, founder, central figure of the faith Agents. Subfacet: Persons as agents
A443 Physical form, appearance Theory and Philosophy. Subfacet of God.

5904E31A443 Trikaya. Doctrine of the three bodies


Notation Description

Facet it belongs to

5904 Buddhism Religion and faiths
59033 Hinduism Religion and faiths
5907 Christianity Religion and faiths
J14247 Abstinence. Fasting. Prohibition Religious activities. Practice

5904J14247 Abstinence. Fasting in Buddhism
59033J14247 Upavasa. Fasting in Hinduism
5907J14247 Fasting in Christianity

Comment: The facets are cited in the reverse order (decreasing concreteness). What is typical for humanities is a compound often takes the form of a new concept. And this is one of the hardest problems in terms of data management of a faceted classification in humanities. The FATHUM database tool deals with this by preserving inheritance. Each combined facet notational symbol inherits the meaning of a single elements and a new meaning is added to it. In this way, when the term's 'appearance' or 'physical form' is sought it will retrieve all the compounds in which this concept is built in.


c) Combining concepts between humanities and common auxiliaries

Notation Description Facet it belongs to
57071 Eastern churches Religions and Faiths
59071224 Autonomous Orthodox churches
(D52) Japan Common auxiliary of Place

59071224(D52) Orthodox church in Japan


Notation Description

Facet it belongs to

5904 Buddhism Religion and faiths
J448 Divination. Augury. Soothsaying. Oracles Religious activities. Practice. Subfacet: Ceremonies
(K01) Persons as agents, doers, practitioners Common auxiliary of Persons

5904J448(K01) Soothsayers

c) Combining concepts between different disciplines (see also relationships)

Notation Description Facet it belongs to
420 Education  
590 Religion
590N25 Officers of the religion. Priests. Ministers. Leaders Religious organization and administration

590N25:420 Education of priests


Notation in the broad classification of knowledge

Notation in the broad classification of knowledge 000 -999 General knowledge categories are assigned three digit classification numbers. Notation of the first level of classification i.e. the list of disciplines is not expressive in terms on hierarchy (e.g. although physics is part of natural sciences, the notation does not express this relationship). The reason for this is to reduce the length of the notation on the top level. But disciplines are clustered into logical groups.

200 Natural sciences
205 Physical sciences
210 Physics
230 Chemistry
239 Crystallography

After the level of disciplines is established notation is decimal and expresses the hierarchical level e.g.

6004 Electronic & electrical technologies
60041 Electronic engineering
600411 Telecommunication engineering
60042 Electrical engineering
6005 Thermal engineering
6006 Mechanical engineering
710 Construction technology
Notation in the humanities

Notation developed for FAT-HUM is expressive in terms of hierarchies and syntax and assumes the existence and the use of the whole fully developed classification. If only one or several disciplines are used (e.g. only humanities) the notation can be automatically shortened by replacing part of discipline notation (the one assigned in the broad classification) by a single digit or letter. E.g. instead of using 590 for starting notation for religion, or 940 for the arts this can be replaced single letter R or A respectively. This decision depends on the implementation scope and policy. But as the notation is not meant to be handled manually or displayed to the users its length should not consider to be an obstacle.

Each discipline contains one facet with purely numerical decimal notation (main facet) and several facets with numerical decimal notation that start with a capital letter. All the facets of concepts starting with letters are listed before the main facet. The notations starting with letters do not stand alone: they are listed linked to the class number for which they are valid. For instance numbers starting with A are all linked to 590 which stands for the whole class of Religion and theology. However, each number starting with A, C, E etc. can be taken and attached to any number in the main facet of 5901/5909 Religions. Faiths. In some other fields of humanities e.g. art or literature, notations starting with A, C, E will represent facets relevant for that particular discipline and can be used to build compound concepts in that discipline only. This is why numbers starting with A, C, E can be identified only when placed with the number of the discipline they belong to.

590 Religion. Theology
590A Theory and philosophy of religion
590C History of the faith, religion, denomination or church
590E Agents in religion (persons and objects)
590H Recipients of pastoral care. Social types and groups
590J Religious activities. Religious practice
590K Processes in religion
590M Religions characterised by various properties
590N Religious organization and administration
5901/5909 Religions. Faiths

Combination of facets:

590A3 The Holy. The sacred. The supernatural. Object(s) of religion/worship

59033 Hinduism
59033A3 The Holy. Brahma. Absolute being
5906 Judaism
5906A3 Kedushah. The Holy. The Sacred

Hinduism and Judaism belong to the main facets of Religions. Faiths (5901/5909) and have no letter preceding them. A3 is concept coming from the facet A Theory and philosophy of religion that freely combines
with any religion.

5907 Christianity
5907N Christian religious organization and administration
5907N6 Christian missions
5907N6(K01) Missionaries

5907 belongs to the main facets of Religions. Faiths, N6 is the belongs to the facet N
Religious organization and administration in the class 590 Religion and theology. (K01) represents a concept from common auxiliary tables for persons which means 'doer or person performing

The main purpose of facet analysis is to organize concepts in a way that they can be combined among themselves to produce compound concepts or a pre-coordinated index. Single concepts listed in facets may be used alone or combined by a cataloguer in the process of indexing or, indeed, compound terms may be already offered in the classification schedules to save the cataloguer's time. Classification for religion, for instance, offers a substantial number of already compound terms that serve to show the principle of synthesis. Some of the main religions and faiths are therefore expanded, using concepts from A,C, E, J etc. facets. The other religions may be expanded in a similar way. The objective of classification is to offer basic building blocks and the level of details is up to those who are going to use the classification.

Notation in the facets of common auxiliaries

Notation of common auxiliaries is made clearly distinct from any classification number in the schedules of disciplines or any of the fundamental facets used within disciplines. Common auxiliaries are always enclosed in brackets. Unlike the facet notation in the disciplines, common auxiliary numbers always mean the same thing, no matter where they are applied. Because of this common auxiliaries can be easily retrieved and managed and have great value in collection management and resource discovery.

(M16) Properties of order (sequence, priority)
(M161) Basic. Fundamental
(M162) Principal. Main. Dominant. Primary
(M1631) Subordinate
(M1632) Supplementary. Additional
(M1633) Subsidiary. Ancillary. Accessory. Auxiliary.
(M1634) Peripheral. Marginal
(M1635) Substitute. Replacement. Ersatz
(M164) Initial. First. Leading

Within common auxiliary facets there are also subfacets that may be used for further
combination within the same facet of common auxiliaries, e.g. in the facet of languages (A)

(A-01) Old period. Archaic period
(A-02) Classical period
(A-04) Middle period
(A-06) Modern period
(A-08) Revived language
(A-09) Dialects. Local and regional language

Numbers from -01 to -09 can be combined to express the period of any language e.g.

(A111) English
(A111-04) Middle English

(A1311) Italian
(A1311-09) Italian dialects

In the facet of common auxiliaries of Form (B)

(B-2) Documents according to physical, external form
(B-3) documents according to method of production
(B-32) Handwritten documents (autograph, holograph
copies). Manuscripts.
(B-33) Typescripts. Printouts
(B-34) Machine-readable documents
(B-35) Copies. Reproductions. Duplicated documents
(B-36) Printed documents
(B-38) Multi-part, multivolume works
(B-4) documents according to stage of production
(B-5) documents for particular kinds of user
(B-6) documents according to level of presentation

(B492) Polemics. Disputations. Controversies. Diatribes.
Justifications. Vindications. Rejoinders. Apologias
(B493) Declarations of opinion
(B4932) Critical reviews
(B494) Petitions. Requests. Applications
(B495) Questionnaires. Inquiries. Opinion polls

(B492-32) Polemics (manuscript)
(B494-35) Petition (copy)
(B495-34) Questionnaires (in machine-readable form)

The intelligence and logic behind the system of common auxiliaries in FATHUM is taken from the UDC classification which is the only classification system that has fully exploited the advantage of having facet indicators in the notation of both the classification of disciplines and common auxiliaries and is today the only fully analytico-synthetic system among the big bibliographic classifications. The notational apparatus introduced in the FAT-HUM can be further improved and developed to facilitate information retrieval.

Subject Relationships

Two or more subjects can be studied/presented in a number of relationships. Every analytico-synthetic system provides for a number of these. It is optional for a cataloguer to establish and code these relationships but a number of them may prove useful in information retrieval. The following 'relators' represent an initial thinking based on UDC set of relationships and relators suggested by J.M. Perrault in 1969. Further in the process of system development and implementation this may be changed, extended or reduced.

Type of relationship Notational Symbol Example
Addition + 590+420 'Education in addition to Religion'
Range / 420/590 'the field of subjects spanning from education to religion'
Coordination : 590:420 'Religion and education in coordinate (reciprocal) relationships'
Comparison phase = 590 = 420 'Comparison between religion and education'
Influence phase >> 590>>420 'the influence of religion on education'
Bias phase << 420<<590 'Religion for educational purposes'
Exposition phase - 590-420 'Religion as viewed by education'
Sub-grouping < 590<420 'Education as part of Religion'


Filing order

Apart from the sequence of facets that is built into the classification system it is necessary to establish general rules for filing combined notations that contain one of the relationships symbols. This rule ensures that any display of knowledge respects the order of general-to-specific. FATHUM filing is as follows

Filing order
Filing of classified documents Description of a subject
+ 590+941 Religion and Art
/ 590/945 Subject covering everything from religion to occultism
simple class 590 Religion
: 590:420 Relationships between religion and education
= 590=420 Comparison between religion and education
>> 590>>420 Influence of religion to education
<< 590<<420 Religion for educational purposes
- 590-420 The type of religion needed in education
> 590>420 Religion as a part of education
(A...) 590(A11) Religion (document) in English language
(B...) 590(B...) Encyclopaedia of religion
(D...) 590(D410) Religion in UK
(E...) 590(E11) Religion among English speaking peoples
(F...) 590(F632) Religion in prehistoric period
(K...) 590(K36) Religion among young people
(L...) 590(L...) (example not available)
(M...) 590(M885) Prohibited religions
(T...) 590(T...) (example not available)
A 590A364 Fetishism
C 590C History of faith
E 590E79 Musical instruments in worship
H 590H83 Religion of homeless
J 590J146 Food and diet in religion
K 590K7 Religion and society
M 590M32 Ultraortodox religions
N 590N32 Authority of the church










Broad Classification
Common Auxiliaries
The Arts
FAT-HUM system diagram
Classification system structure
Database search/browse
Database tool description