(by Oksana Mykytyn, Director of the UCU Library)

Crucial changes in the library world

The Library of the Ukrainian Catholic University (hereinafter – the UCU Library) is the only library in Ukraine to use the classification of the Library of Congress of the United States of America when processing books. In 2023, we turned to the administration of the Library of Congress with a proposal to revise the classification of books on the history of Ukraine. The request received a positive response and the work on the new section of classification numbers that outline the historical chronology of changes in Ukraine began immediately. We consider it a certain revolution in the library world.

We are the Library of the Ukrainian Catholic University.

The history of the formation and development of the Ukrainian Catholic University Library is inextricably linked with the foundation of Theological Lviv Academy, established in 1928-1929 by Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky whose donation formed the library’s book collection at that time.

After Bolshevik troops had arrived in Galicia at the end of September 1939, the academy was closed, and teachers and students were repressed. Subsequently, the repressions of the German occupation authorities were added to the Soviet repressions. Therefore, after the opening of the University in the early 90s, the library collection had to be formed from scratch.

The library began its first steps with the process of arranging donated books from the book collection of the Ukrainian Catholic University and the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome), Fr. Ivan Kit (Belgium), Fr. Ivan Muzychko (Rome), and the charitable organization “Church in Need” (Germany) in 1995. Since the collections of the UCU Library were formed at that time mainly by the efforts of the diaspora (private book collections), we own a unique collection of publications of which only one copy is available in Ukraine now. You can read more about the history of the formation and development of the theological collection of the UCU Library in the article published in Brill, one of the world’s leading scientific publishing houses.

With the development of the University, the library has been developing as well, and nowadays, the book’s collection includes more than 180,000 copies of books and more than 2,500 titles of periodicals (magazines and newspapers). The list is constantly being updated and supplemented with new editions.

From 2001 till 2017, the UCU Library used the MARC-SQL automated library information system. Since 2017 and until now, ABIS Koha has been used. Cataloging books and keeping track of readers is done in Koha, which allows us to automate workflows as much as possible and provide readers with comprehensive information through the electronic catalog and its search tools. Our readers can get acquainted with the library’s collection online, create a list of books they want to read, and even influence the formation of the collection by creating requests for books that the Library will purchase based on objective factors and offer for use to its readers soon.

Another reader-friendly feature of the UCU Library is that 80% of the collection is publicly available in reading rooms. The remaining 20% are publications comprising research repositories and the collection of Old Prints and Special Collections.

In the UCU Library, books are placed according to the US Library of Congress Classification, invented at the end of the 19th century, which has undergone many transformations. The system is used by world-famous libraries when processing materials (books, periodicals) in Toronto University Library, Harvard University Library, Warsaw University Library, Yale University Library, and others.

Today, we are the only ones in Ukraine to use this classification. It is special in that the classification code (call number) indicates the department of knowledge, the author’s mark, the year of publication, the volume, and the part of the book in question. This system allows readers to find the necessary books in reading rooms easily and independently. The main advantage of this classification is a detailed structuring of all disciplines and their deep internal division. Librarians use OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), which provides access to international bibliographic, abstract, and full-text information. You can read more about the principles and schemes of placing books in reading rooms on the UCU Library website. The general classification scheme can be found on the official website of the Library of Congress (Library of Congress Classification Outline).

Changes to LCC as classification codes from the history of Ukraine (DK5001-DK5995).

In 2023, we initiated the process of making important changes in the library classification of books on the history of Ukraine and participated in their implementation. For us, it became a kind of revolution in the library world. It all started with a letter of appeal from the director of the library, Oksana Mykytyn, in which, on behalf of the entire team, concerns were expressed about the presence of two quasi-entities in the classification scheme, relating to Ukraine, particularly its history. It was about the administrative units of Ukraine: Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic. According to the Constitution of Ukraine (Articles 132-133), the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are part of Ukraine, and the so-called DPR and LPR do not exist as such.

Another great concern was caused by the cipher in the history section “Conflict in Ukraine, 2014”. This is not a completely correct term, which is partly a reflection of the work of Russian propaganda that does not reflect some important historical events such as the Revolution of Dignity, the annexation of Crimea, and the Russian-Ukrainian war itself (not a conflict), which continues today.

On February 24, 2022, martial law was officially introduced in Ukraine by Presidential Decree (https://www.president.gov.ua/documents/642022-41397).

The request received a positive response and work on a new range of classification numbers that outline a fair historical chronology of changes in Ukraine began immediately. A team of specialists based on the Library of Congress was assembled, which began thorough work on the analysis, revision, and introduction of all our proposed changes. The working group included Heidi Berthoud (specialist in cataloging (Policy, Training, and Cooperative Programs Division (PTCP)), Jurij Dobczansky (librarian for the Central and Eastern European Division (Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages (G&S)), Christine Korytnyk Dulaney (Head of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages (G&S)).

The main achievements of the working group were presented at a webinar for Slavist librarians, which took place on July 18, 2023, entitled “A Revised Classification for Ukraine: Update on Current Work at the Library of Congress.” During the webinar, the speakers reported that the existing ciphers were updated periodically, according to the chronology of the development of the corresponding DK cipher, and the last changes related to the history of Ukraine were made back in 2001.

 (slides below feature the presentation of the US Library of Congress working group)

During the webinar, it was announced that the history of Ukraine would be transferred to a separate chain (DK5001-DK5995) from the cipher block of the history of Russia and the post-Soviet countries, as well as the detailed development of certain historical periods, particularly the 20th and the 21st centuries. The sample of the history of Poland was taken as a basis.

Important changes that have been made:

  • 1917-1921. The period of independence has been extended (thanks to the Ukrainian Catholic University, the library – 40 classification numbers have been reserved).
  • The existing open gap from 1991 to 2014 was filled.
  • A new period for 2014 has been created.
  • New classification numbers for the Russian-Ukrainian war (NON-CONFLICT) were created.
  • Local classification for Ukrainian cities, with new ranges for Kharkiv, Lviv, and Odesa was expanded as well separate numbers for a dozen other cities were added.
  • Names used by various empires were removed and replaced with Ukrainian equivalents.

Each section of 20th and 21st-century history has specific subsections now: Sources and Documents; Historiography; General Works; Social Life and Customs. Civilization. Intellectual Life; Political History. Politics and Power.

1945-1991

Added:

Ukrainian resistance movement, including Soviet dissidents.

Main works by groups, A-Z.

1991-2014

Added:

Political History. Politics and Power; Main Works; Orange Revolution; Diplomatic History. International Relations.

2014-

Added:

The new period for 2014 is the Russian-Ukrainian war.

New classification numbers have been created for the Russian-Ukrainian war, based on the classification of World War II (D731-D838 ) and the Spanish Civil War (DP269).

You can compare previous LCC codes for the history of Ukraine and the changes that have occurred below.

New LCC codes for the history of Ukraine

Changes in the law category were also immediately agreed upon and quasi-state entities under Russian sponsorship were singled out (renamed).

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Work on all changes is very diligent and responsible and requires a careful approach as well as research analysis of many sources. We are extremely grateful to the administration and team of the US Library of Congress for their openness, professionalism, understanding, and fruitful cooperation.

The new classification codes are approved by the US Library of Congress and created in Class Web. The changes came into effect at the end of November 2023 and are already being used for new receipts by foreign libraries. In the UCU Library, librarians are gradually updating the ciphers in the reading rooms and research storage. This process is long, but the result itself is worth all the time-consuming work and involvement.

Why is this so important?

Two years have passed since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian people are bravely fighting for their land, history, language, culture, and freedom. The current events are being discussed on television and covered by well-known popular newspapers and magazines around the world. Research articles are being published, research is being carried out, and books are being published on the issues in question. All the information related to the history of Ukraine and its administrative system must be covered correctly, especially regarding the resources used by the world’s leading libraries for processing books, used by wide and different audiences when searching for different types of materials.

Considering all changes in the above-mentioned classification, for a foreign reader, books on the history of Ukraine will be properly presented on the shelves of leading libraries to strengthen the understanding of Ukraine as an independent, sovereign state, and not a part of the concept of the “post-Soviet space”.

This request gave impetus to the revision and changes of the classification codes related to the history of Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe, as well as the history of Asia and the Middle East. The Department of Germanic and Slavic Countries and the Department of Policy, Training and Cooperation Programs will work together to achieve the following goals: in particular, among the long-term goals is the creation of a reformed classification for the history of Belarus (in DK2001-DK2995) and Moldova (in DK3001-DK3995), the transfer of rubrics from the history of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia from DK (History of Russia. Post-Soviet countries) to DL (History of the countries of Northern Europe), as well as transfer of the classification of the history of Asia and the Middle East.

The correct placement of books on the shelves of leading libraries will contribute to a better understanding of both the history of the world and those regions which the Western reader is less familiar with.

Our communication with the working group of the US Library of Congress is still ongoing, as the question of the history of Kyivan Rus, which is still presented in the chain of the history of Russia, remains open. Moving the classification of Kyivan Rus from the rubric “History of Russia” (DK) to the rubric “History of Central and Eastern Europe” (DJK) (as part of the original SEESHAC plan of 1974) is on the list of the immediate plans of the project working group.

The interest in the history and culture of Ukraine is growing in the world, so it is very important for us that people familiarize with our country as it really is, and not in the light of centuries-old Russian imperial propaganda. In the long term, we have plans to propose the following classification changes in the field of art and literature, as well as in the rubric “Orthodox Churches”, in particular, “Ukrainian Orthodox Church”.

There is a growing interest in the history and culture of Ukraine in the world, so it is very important for us that people get to know our country as it really is, and not “under the sauce” of centuries-old Russian imperial propaganda. In the future, we plan to propose the following classification changes in the field of art and literature, as well as in the section “Orthodox Churches,” in particular, “Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”

Useful links:

  1. Electronic catalog of the UCU Library: https://opac.ucu.edu.ua/
  2. Ivanna Papa and Oleksandra Hladysh the History of Development and the Challenges of the Present in the Theological Collection of the Ukrainian Catholic University Library in: Theological Libraries and Library Associations in Europe// Brill. – 2022. – 156-185: https://brill.com/display/book/9789004523197/BP000016.xml?body=fullhtml-60832
  3. Decree of the President of Ukraine No. 64/2022 On the introduction of martial law in Ukraine: https://www.president.gov.ua/documents/642022-41397
  4. Constitution of Ukraine – Chapter IX Territorial Structure of Ukraine

(Articles 132, 133): https://www.president.gov.ua/ua/documents/constitution/konstituciya-   ukrayini-rozdilx

  1. Recommended list of books and films about Ukraine in foreign languages compiled by the UCU Library:

https://center.ucu.edu.ua/biblioteka-novyny/rekomendovanyj-spysok-knyg-ta-filmiv-pro-ukrayinu-inozemnymy-movamy/#

  1. Ukrainian Catholic University website: https://ucu.edu.ua/
  2. UCU Library website: https://center.ucu.edu.ua/biblioteka/
  3. United States Library of Congress Classification: https://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/lcco/