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Who Developed Library of Congress Classification System? George Herbert Putnam or James C.M. Hanson

I have found two contradictory statement when I looked into the name of the developer of Library of Congress Classification system.

According to Andover-Harvard Theological Library, LCC is developed by James C.M. Hanson. Reference 1


According to Wikipedia, LCC is developed by George Herbert Putnam . Reference 1, Reference 2.

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HI sir.......hi UGC also follow James C.M. Hanson.

according to Wikipedia George herbert  putnam is right answer

Hello sir, 

Plz go through the following text-

1. The classification was invented by Herbert Putnam in 1897, just before he assumed the librarianship of Congress. With advice from Charles Ammi Cutter, it was influenced by his Cutter Expansive Classification, the Dewey Decimal System, and the  the Putnam Classification System (developed while Putnam was head librarian at the Minneapolis Public Library)

2.In 1899 Dr. Herbert Putman, the newly appointed Librarian, decided to re-organize the entire collection. There were many staff members and a brand new building that also influenced Putman's decision to devote efforts at re-organizing what would become a growing collection. The system of Classification chosen by Putman and Charles Martel, the chief Cataloger was build onto the Expansive Classification introduced by Charles Cutter. 

3.Work on classifying the library’s immense collection of books began in 1899 with Martel becoming a member of a committee formed and headed by Herbert Putnam, the new Head Librarian, following the death of John Young and William Parker Cutter. Putnam sent Martel and Hanson to libraries located across the nation to find a classification system that would work with the collection. In 1899, the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system was the most popular system in the libraries and it was a natural choice for the classifiers, but in an effort to look at all available options, Cutter’s Expansive Classification and one developed by the German theologian Otto Hartwig were also examined. Martel quickly ruled out Hartwig’s system because it emphasized religion too much, but couldn’t decide between Dewey’s system and Cutter’s. Both systems needed major adjustments in order to be adapted to the Library of Congress’ special needs and it ultimately became a matter of who would allow those changes to be made. By the end of 1899, Martel rejected Dewey’s system because Melvil Dewey was unwilling to allow the library to make the necessary changes. This began a two-year-long controversy between the two giants of the library as each criticized the other over perceived slights in the decisions about changes needed to adapt the DDC. In the end the only real winner was Charles Ammi Cutter, who agreed to allow Martel and Hanson to make whatever changes they needed to his EC. Unfortunately, Cutter died in 1903 while finishing the final stage of the EC and thus Martel was forced to finish the system as he worked through the library’s collection.

It was invented and started by Putman but completion of work is a collective effort of Hanson martel and head of team Putman


Bravo Ms. Saloni.

Congratulations for the excellent input.

I understand that arguments may be raised as you have Copy-Pasted the material but still, since it is an excellent narrative, the credit always goes in your favour.

Keep up the good spirit of knowledge hunting.


Siddhartha S. Ray

thanks sir

good job done saloni mam

Wikipedia is not a source to be cited and refereed. Wikipedia is collection of information but the character of authenticity is questionable. Sometime I browse Wikipedia but rarely recommend to anybody.

Being a person from LIS domain we should not use it. We may use the sources and citations of Wikipedia.

Thank you.

Thank you Soori, Dastagiri, Saloni, Ray Sir and Kumar for putting your heads and hands on the matter. Kumar has pointed out that Wikipedia is not an authentic source of information. However I humbly disagree to the point. It has another dimension, as you are aware that Wikipedia is a source that anybody can edit, it makes its information to be accurate. If any author will put wrong information, then it is subjected to be further modification. However in case of a particular book or website, it is most likely to be a product of an individual person and other author dont finds a way to edit or do modification in that.

Saloni has rightly pointed out the facts and comes into the root of the matter. The paper you have uploaded is an excellent one, however as it is violating copyright policy, I have to remove it from our server. I will appreciate if you could put a hyperlink to the source.

So to conclude the matter it is very difficult to assume a particular person i.e George Herbert Putnam or James C.M. Hanson as the inventor of the Library of Congress Classification System. But the question was asked in the UGC NET examination and they accepted James C.M. Hanson as the developer of the LCC.

Thank you everyone in participating in the discussion.

Library of Congress  Classification, the scheme of bibliographic classification drawn up by Herbert Putnam in 1897.

James C M Hanson is not the correct answer 

Source: International Encyclopedia of Information 

1. Herbert Putnam

Herbert Putnam, (born Sept. 20, 1861, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Aug. 14, 1955, Woods Hole, Mass.) American librarian who built the Library of Congress into a world-renowned institution.

Putnam graduated from Harvard in 1883 and thereafter studied law at Columbia University, being admitted to the bar in 1886. His true calling was as a librarian, however. He served as librarian of the Minneapolis Athenaeum in 1884–87 and of the Minneapolis Public Library in 1887–91. After a few years practicing law in Boston (1892–95), he served as librarian of the Boston Public Library from 1895 to 1899. In the latter year he was appointed librarian of the Library of Congress, and he retained this position until 1939.

Putnam was primarily responsible for transforming the Library of Congress from what was little more than a reference collection for congressmen into one of the great national libraries of the world. A man of remarkable administrative talents, he greatly enlarged the library’s scope and holdings and established many new library services and methods, including the publishing of bibliographies, the development of the Library of Congress system of classification, the publication of the National Union Catalog, the establishment of an interlibrary loan service and a photoduplication service, and the printing and nationwide distribution of the library’s catalog cards. Many of these practices were eventually adopted by other national libraries. Putnam also served as president of the American Library Association in 1898 and 1904.

2. James Christian Meinich Hanson
James Christian Meinich Hanson(March 13, 1864 - November 8, 1943) was a Norwegian born, American librarian.

Jens Hanson was born at Sørheim in the Nordre Aurdal district in Oppland, Norway. He was the sixth of eight children born to Gunnerius and Eleanore Adamine (Röberg) Hansen. When he was nine years old, his family sent him to the United States to attend the preparatory school of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Hanson graduated from Luther College in 1882 and went on to attend the Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis. He continued his education at Cornell University from 1889 to 1890.

In 1890, Hanson accepted an apprentice position at the Newberry Library in Chicago. In 1893, he became head of the cataloging department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison Library. Hanson was named chief of the cataloging division of the Library of Congress in 1897. At the Library of Congress he played a major role in developing its general catalog including the creation of what is now called the Library of Congress classification system. He also contributed to drafting the Anglo-American Code.

Hanson left the Library of Congress in 1910 to serve as the Associate Director of the University of Chicago Library. In 1928, he was knighted in the Royal Order of St Olav. He took a leave of absence from the University of Chicago in 1928 to work at the Vatican Library in Rome to assist in reorganizing their collection under a Carnegie Corporation grant. He died in 1943 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

 Wikipedia said, developed by LCC George Herbert  Putnam.

Barada Kanta Mohanty


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