Library Classification Scheme

American Planning Association Library Classification Scheme (APALCS)

The classification scheme is described, in Lois Mai Chan's Cataloging and Classification: An Introduction, as serving, "a dual function: (1) as a shelving device, which is considered to be the primary purpose of classification ... and (2) as a means of organizing bibliographic entries in printed catalogs, bibliographies, and indexes in a systematic order."

The APA Library, the library of the American Planning Association (APA), developed the American Planning Association Library Classification Scheme. It was created to meet the needs of APA's researchers and members; the scheme focuses specifically on planning and provides a level of practical detail not found in other published systems.

In the APA Library, the scheme is used in conjunction with the Library of Congress Classification Scheme. A planning agency/library may choose to use the scheme independently or in conjunction with more broadly based schemes such as Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal. Books in the APA Library are shelved by class number while vertical file materials (plans, documents) are filed by subject heading.

If another classification scheme is used in the library (i.e. Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal) you may wish to precede the numbers with the letters APA.

A few general notes about the scheme:

  • Legislation and Law refers to both case law and general information on the impact of specific legislation.
  • Most sections have a sub-section entitled General this is where policy and research information is found.
  • Since the classification scheme serves to group like information together in a broad manner not all topics are named. An example is APA46.8 (Zoning ordinances). Under the broad section Planning Law and Legislation is found Municipal Law; under Municipal Law is found Zoning ordinances. This arrangement allows the grouping of local zoning materials together; these materials might include planned unit development ordinances, information on performance zoning, or documents on land acquisition. To locate an individual item, the library user would search the card catalog by subject heading or title. To locate all items on local zoning, the library user can browse the shelves that hold APA46.8 labeled items.

American Planning Association Library Classification Scheme (pdf)