Libraries in India & World following Colon Classification

A friend and me got chatting and the topic turned around the syllabus of Library and Information Science Discipline. She was mentioning that the syllabus was outdated and that LIS departments are not equipping students with what is actually required on the job. She was lamenting about abundant LIS graduates with no proper employbility skill set. She was derisive of LIS faculty STILL teaching Cataloging, Sears Subject Heading, Univeral Decimal Classification (UDC), Colon Classification (CC) etc as most of the libraries are following Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC).

For the uninitiated, Colon Classification (CC) published in 1933 is the first faceted or analytico-synthetic library classification developed by Padmashri S R Ranganathan, who is known as Father of Library Science in India. The name CC comes from use of colon (:) to separate the facets Personality, Matter, Energy, Space, Time (PMEST).

Colon Classification was designed from 1924 to 1928 and was first published in 1933 by the Madras Library Association.  6th edition was the last one to be published when Ranganathan was alive. Ranganathan published a preview of the proposed 7th edition in 1969 but sadly passed away in 1972 before 7th edition was published. The work of revision of scheme was undertaken by Ranganathans associates under Sarada Ranganathan Endowment for Library Science (SRELS) and revised 7th edition was brought out in 1987 but unfortunately its not a complete edition and has no index! Colon Classification is published by SRELSEss Ess Publications,  Concept Publishing Co providing text online, 6th Edition of Colon Classification Full Text on KrishiKosh

Editions Year
1st Edition 1933
2st Edition 1939
3rd Edition 1950
4th Edition 1952
5th Edition 1957
6th Edition 1960
7th Edition 1987

If interested one can check out an example of CC at L’International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO) website.

I for one immediately protested on hearing the suggestion for blanket ban on above listed topics. I responded that I was sure faculty is doing a tremendous job in difficult situation surrounding them with indifferent administration; unsupportive UGC/government policies; lackadaisical students and nonchalant working professionals blaming them. Although, I agreed with her partially and told her as much. I always feel that all the above subjects overview should be provided, so that students know history and various classification systems and that in-depth practicals. Practical exams were not ‘practical’ (pun intended) as where would they apply she asked?

I support teaching CC for following reasons

  1. Because an Indian had introduced it to the world and we as librarians from India should be proud of it! We should ensure that CC is not lost in obscurity in sands of time!
  2. Jobs are available (National and International libraries following CC)
  3. Another reason provided by  Dr I R N Goudar is its application in the Internet era!

On hearing this she demanded to know where CC was implemented and how many jobs were available.

I knew only a couple of libraries that implemented CC as S R Ranganathan had worked in these places – initially as University Librarian at Madras University (1924-1944) followed by Banaras Hindu University where he worked as librarian and professor of Library Science (1945–47) and later again as Professor of Library Science in University of Delhi (1947–55) so had implemented CC in all those libraries.

I Googled to find if there is any list of libraries implementing CC was available online but unfortunately did not come across one! We as library professionals are taught to document our information and make it available. We always do it in work sphere but have never applied it in the Library Science field by listing various aspects of it and making it available online for reference and posterity.

So I posted on IndiaLibraries WhatsApp group and the members responded immediately and listed out the following Libraries in India which follow the CC. Once this blog was posted came across numerous other suggestions which I have incorporated into the compiled list.

The following Libraries are still using CC:

  1. Banaras Hindu University Library, Varanasi (Source: Dr Lata Suresh, Director – Knowledge Resource Centre, Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, Gurgaon)
  2. CFTRI Library, Mysore (Source: Dr I R N Goudar)
  3. Deccan College, Library, Pune (Source: Dr Achala Munigal)
  4. Delhi University Library, Delhi (Source: Mr Anoop Bisht)
  5. Gargi College (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati)
  6. Gujarat Vidhyapeet Library, Ahmedabad (Source: Mrs Geeta Gadhavi, HoD DLIS Gujarat University, Gujarat)
  7. Indraprastha College for Women (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati)
  8. Janki Devi Memorial College (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati)
  9. Kamala Nehru College (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati)
  10. Karnataka University Library, Dharwad (Source: Dr B Ramesha, Professor, DLISc Bangalore University, Bangalore)
  11. Kurukshetra University Library (Source: Ms Udita Gupta)
  12. Lady Irwin College (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati)
  13. Lady Shri Ram College for Women (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati)
  14. Madras University Library, Chennai (Source: Dr Krishnaswamy)
  15. Maitreyi College (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati)
  16. Mata Sundri College for Women (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati)
  17. Miranda House (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati)
  18. National Aeronautical Library, Bangalore (Source: Mr Ashok Babu, Former Librarian ASL, DRDO)
  19. Podar College Library, Dadar (Source: Dr Jyoti Bhabal)
  20. Punjabi University Library, Patiala (Source: Dr Prabhjot Sandhu)
  21. Rajdhani College (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati
  22. Ruia College Library, Mumbai (Source: Mr Himanshu Aggarwal)
  23. S P Pune Univesity Library, Pune (Source: Ms Durga)
  24. Sanskrit University Library, Jaipur (Source: Mr Umesh Sharma)
  25. Satyawati College (Morning) (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati)
  26. Savitribai Pule University Library (Source: Mr Satish Naikar)
  27. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati)
  28. Sri Venkateswara College (Source: Ms Udita Gupta from Ph.D. thesis of Dipti Gulati)
  29. State Central Library, Thiruvananthapuram (Source: Mr Thushanth T. L. Librarian Gr 2 State Central Library, Kerala)
  30. University of Kerala Library, Thiruvananthapuram (Source: Mr Thushanth T. L. Librarian Gr 2 State Central Library, Kerala)

The following Libraries followed CC but moving to other classification Systems!

  1. Connemara Public Library, Chennai moving to DDC (Mr Ashok Babu, Former Librarian ASL, DRDO)

The following Libraries Worldwide using CC

  1. Museo Friulano di Scienze Naturali, Italy catalogued by Carlo Bianchini (Source: Claudio Gnoli, Librarian Science and Technology Library, University of Pavia, Italy)

Following Department(s) of Library Science in India – Stopped Teaching CC

  1. DLIS, Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth (Source: Dr Priyamwada Shouche-Joshi, Joshi-Bedekar College, Thane(W))
  2. DLIS, University of Pune (Source: Dr Priyamwada Shouche-Joshi, Joshi-Bedekar College, Thane(W))
  3. DLIS, Osmania University (Source: Dr Achala Munigal)

Following Department(s) of Library Science in India  – Still Teaching CC Theory Only

  1. DLIS, University of Mysore, Mysore (Source: Dr Shalini Urs)

Following Department(s) of Library Science in India  – Still Teaching CC Theory & Practicals

  1. DLIS, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur (Source: Dr Achala Munigal)

List of dedicated knowledgeable and skilled professionals or expert panel who can advice on CC: Name with Email id.

For those of you interested in knowing more about CC 

Social Media

Google Scholar

Colon Classification Part-1 

IndiaLibraries Facebook Group on S R Ranganathan and Colon Classification


Colon Classification 

Articles & Thesis

  1. Devika P. Madalli and A.R.D. Prasad: Vyasa: a knowledge representation system for automatic management of analytico-synthetic system. (Website not working)
  2. Dhanpat Rai: Colon Classification and its use: an objective study. In: (16), p.34
  3. Dipti Gulati. “Use of library classification schemes in the ICT environment in selected libraries in the national capital region a study”  Ph.D. thesis
  4. Gidwani, N.N.: Some stray thoughts on Colon Classification. Granthapala (Nagpur) 4(1962) No.4, p.174-176
  5. Kaula, P.N.: Study of Colon Classification for use. In: (16) p.1 9-20
  6. Langridge, D.W.: The unique value of Colon Classification. In: Rajagopalan, T.S. (Ed.):Ranganathan’s philosophy: Assessment, impact and relevance. New Delhi: Vikas 1985. p.600-601
  7. Mohinder Pratap Satija: Use of Colon Classification 
  8. Thomas A.R.: Colon Classification in North American library education. Indian Librarian. 31(1977) No.4, p.153-156


  1. Khanna, J.K. Colon Classification. New Delhi, India: Ess Ess Publications, 1986.
  2. Kumar, P.S.G. Introduction to Colon Classification, Edition 7. Nagpur, India: Dattsons, 1987.
  3. Parkhi, R.S. Decimal Classification and Colon Classification in Perspective. New York: Asia Publishing House, 1964.
  4. Raju, A.A.N. Decimal Universal Decimal & Colon Classification. Delhi, India: Ajanta Publications, 1984.
  5. Ranganathan, S.R. Colon Classification. Madras, India: Madras Library Association, 1933.
  6. Taylor, Arlene G. Wynar’s Introduction to Cataloging and Classification. 9th ed. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2000.

Note: Request you all to email me at

  • contribute an entry to this listing.
  • bring any discrepancy to my notice
Creative Commons License
Libraries in India following Colon Classification by Dr Achala Munigal is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Choose your CC license at

Dr Achala Munigal
Asst. Prof. (LIS)/Asst. Librarian
NERTU, Osmania University, Hyderabad, Telangana State


6 Responses to “Libraries in India & World following Colon Classification”

  1. Claudio Gnoli Says:

    As for Colon in Italy, see Museo Friulano di Scienze Naturali, catalogued by Carlo Bianchini (select Classificazioni then input a CC class to browse):

  2. mikisdad Says:

    Criticism of library education is commonplace. Much of it is valid and much is not.

    As is the case with most differing views or conflicting opinions, there is usually valid evidence to support a variety of perspectives and both pros and cons for almost, if not all of them.

    Library education is particularly vulnerable to criticism, in my view, not least because it lacks a substantive body of theory of its own but rather relies on that of a diverse assortment of other fields.

    It is also questionable as to whether librarianship can truly claim to be a profession. Certainly, in today’s world, such terminology is used very casually and there is a continuing tendency to inflate the importance of occupations by applying titles far more grandiose than what is appropriate for the tasks involved. However, leaving aside that aspect of misrepresentation, if librarianship is considered point for point in relation to an acknowledged definition of what constitutes a “profession”, then it falls somewhat short.

    The occupation fails as a profession on at least two major factors: first, it is not self governing; and second, it lacks foundation on its own substantial body of theory, as I indicated earlier.

    Sadly, it has also been the case that research towards building that foundation of theory has been somewhat limited. That, coupled with the extensive level of manual process work involved, particularly prior to the digital revolution, has supported a view of librarianship as more procedural and technical than professional.

    It is on those technical and procedural elements of librarianship that library education has tended to concentrate. It is also true that library schools and library educators have rarely received the status given to other disciplines. In many cases, library education is simply a subordinate component of a much wider faculty and usually one with little influence on its direction.

    All of these factors contribute to the difficulties library educators face in devising appropriate curriculum and assessing competencies and skills necessary for graduates to fill an effective role as librarians. In the last few decades, this situation has been compounded by digitisation and the increasingly available direct access to sources and resources by individuals even far removed from the location of those tools.

    The introduction of new media formats and means of reproduction, transmission and storage has also rendered obsolescent much valuable work and tools of the past. Traditional cataloguing and classification skills have been found wanting in an era of digitisation and confusion of formats, currency and duplication.

    These myriad factors are a significant challenge to library educators and practitioners. That challenge is further compounded by many other factors, such as the wide variety in size, location and types of library – all of which whilst having commonalities, will also have needs specific to their particular specialisation or circumstance.

    Clearly, there is very much more I could add regarding the nature and complexity of librarianship and the role of today’s libraries. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see the very relevance of libraries now being called into question. That, of itself, could occupy an extensive discussion.

    Libraries and librarians are almost always wrestling with conflicting or, at least, disparate aims. On the one hand they seek to preserve and perpetuate the transmission of knowledge, ideas, folk-lore, tales and traditions of the past; on the other they seek to be early adopters of new technology, thought, media and social awareness.

    Very few libraries or librarians are able to fulfill all of these roles well. It is important that we both understand and remind ourselves that we cannot be all things to all people, either as individuals or as institutions.

    All of these factors mean that library education will (almost certainly) lack the resources to be able to fully or perhaps in some areas even partially, present a comprehensive or adequate education of training in all aspects of library science.

    I agree that the history of librarianship and the contribtion of significant figures, such as Ranganathan, be respected and their work brought to the attention of students. I also agree that students should be aware of the range of classification anc cataloguing systems that are or have been in use.

    However, what is of most importance, in my view, is to teach the concepts and theory that underlies these systems. their differing perspecdtives and evolution, relevance to particular collection characteristics, library aims and client needs. I don’t discount the need for teaching the 1,2,3 of how to use particular tools but that, to me, is more appropriate at the library technician level than at that of the library “professional”.

    I feel that our library schools and educators – and indeed our practising librarians – have not yet come to terms with the complexity of librarianship, let alone librarianship in the current era. As librarians, we have to come to grips with the multiplicity of facets now facing libraries, many of which are used by detractors as reasons why libraries are no longer needed,

    We need to define what constitutes a library and what constitutes a librarian. We need to define roles, purpose, relevance and position in relation to other players in the information environment. We need competency standards and clearly delineated measures against which to determine what is or is not satisfactory, both as an entry into the occupation and as a guide to readiness for higher rank or duties.

    My own view is that too many of our most senior librarians have attained their positions through good fortune, longevity or favour, rather than on the basis of significant leadership and contribution to enhancing and developing our skill, art, trade, profession or whatever you wish to call it.

    Let us indeed celebrate Ranganathan, who gave much not only to Indian librarianship but to world librarianship but let us also remark on his contribution towards development of a theoretical foundation which librarianship needs for credibility and to preserve its role into the future.

    Of course, that’s just my opinion and I’m quite sure that many of you will be only too willing and ready to pick holes in it. Good for you!

    • A Says:

      Thank you Roger for your input. Totally agree that we need to define what constitutes a “Library” and “Librarian”!


    S.R.Ranganathan from a vaishnavite family had belief in various Sastras and he was very particular in NYAYA SASTRA. it insists on following a logic for everything.. Wall picture principle, Burned Chariot and lost horses are some of the sastras he used for explaining his logical sequence of his classification schedule.
    Advising librarians with the wordings of Bhagavad Gita ‘ SERVICE IS THY REWARD. FLIRT NOT FOR FRUITS”. shows he followed logic everywhere with our ancestors literary and religious works. He was broadminded and secular. While devising the years for the Christian Calendar, he was cautious. in thye case of christian years after A.D. he left them as it is. But assigning numbers for the christian years BEFORE CHRIST B.C. he was cautious that years in B.C. go backwards to denote the early years introduced a special provision to convert B.C. years with his own logical calculation and proved that he was a Professor of Mathematics posted as the Madras University Librarian.
    While he observed the existing Dewey Decimal Classification, he found the numbers assigned were not logical. science, humanities, social sciences were mixed in the sequential order.
    S.R.R. made it logical. He started with GENERALIA where even the present Reference section can come as the first primary sources… dictionaries, encyclopedias, and so on.. Then he started with Science. the fundamental subject is Mathematics,physics, Engineering, Chemistry, Technology.HE STOPPED. THESE ARE THE SUBJECTS TAUGHT IN OUR PRESENT ANY ENGINEERING COLLEGES. He follows with Biological sciences, Geology, Botany, Agriculture, All Plant kingdom. The enemies like insects etc. follow under Zoology, the friends under Animal Husbandry. |If all these including human under Biology get diseases, he has put a check post under MEDICAL SCIENCE.
    In the same logic he has put Useful Arts, Fine Arts, Literature, Linguistics, Religion, Philosophy, Psychology, Education, Geography, History, Political science, Economics, Sociology. Again he has put a CHECK POST law. If the society is to be treated as per Legal Rules LAW is placed.
    This sequence. satisfies the UNCONSCIOUS NEEDS OF AN USER. If he goes from one book rack to the next all will be interrelated and he may not require the help of any body. This is the success of S.R.R.’s Colon Classification.
    BOOK NUMBER is a unique work. 1. There is a printed book with the title “William Shakespeare’s Dramas” published in 1962.
    We will put the call no. as O111,2J64x K2
    If the same book is available in the form of a CD, SRR has given a provision. the No. will be O111,2J64x cK2. That is all.
    c before 1962 as K2 preceded by lower case c will indicate CD.
    We have to Device lowercase letters before Book No. v for Video cassette, br for Blue Ray disc which has not come into market.
    If a 1 TB external Hard Disk contains the whole of various versions of Mahabharatham can be denoted by lower case hd because it will denote only external HD which we will store in our Digital Media preservation Store case. This way, we can have a discussion in a seminar and fix up lower case letter to denote all the available digitized medias for S.R.Ranganathan has paved a way for us uniquely which is not available in any other classification in the world.
    Hats off of or Turbans off for S.R.R.

    Prof. (as Decreed by the High Court of Madras)and
    Dr. T. Padmanaban, President, Tamil Research Information Technology Center, Thanjavur 7-7-2016

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