INFO 4 - Shelf classifications

1. General

The major and most important part of the book collections of the University Library (UB) is arranged systematically, according to an objective structure.
In German university libraries the most commonly used structure is the so-called "Regensburger Verbundklassifikation" (RVK)" which arranges books according to the system of sciences. Accordingly, each subject is divided into a number of main groups which are – for their part – subdivided in factual subgroups and further in specific groups. Each book is assigned to a very specific place within the scheme based on the content of the book, which is to be found in the book number in form of the “place in the scheme”.

2. Structuring and sequencing of subject groups

A brief summary of the shelf classification is presented covering the 17 subject groups for books in UL. The sequence is given by the so-called location identification numbers. Monographs and journals are also placed according to location and subject group.

3. The structure of a shelf mark

For the structure of a shelf mark or the holdings systematization within, a subject applies the following organizational principle:

47=WIRQP 829K123-5(3)+2
PlaceSubject GroupClassification markAlphabetical sortingVolumeEditionBook


Place and shelf group:

The place indicates the shelf group where the book or the journal can be found. As a rule, a pair of locations covers one subject group: The locations 46 and 47 cover, for instance, literature of the subject group Economic Sciences (WIR) and the locations 51 and 52 refer to literature for Computer Science (INF). Books and journals are positioned according to subjects consecutively.
There are some places with literature referring to several subjects: in the textbook collection (locations 73, 75, 77, 79), availability of periodicals and journals and large formats (locations 100, 101, 102).

Lending conditions:

Book with an even location identification number, e.g. 20 or 46, may not be borrowed and can only be used in the library rooms (e.g. reference books). Books with odd location identification numbers e.g. 21 or 47 may be borrowed.

Classification mark:

Theabove mentioned example of the classification mark QP 829 covers the main group Q (Economic Sciences), the subgroup P (General Business Administration) and the fine group 829 (Accountancy).

Alphabetic sorting within a classification mark:

Using a coding scheme for sorting helps to arrange and organize books in alphabetic order according to authors or titles within a classification mark.


The volume count is started by a hyphen, e.g. -5.


The notation of the edition only starts with marking the second edition given in round brackets.


The counting of the copies starts with the plus symbol: +2 means the 2nd copy.

4. Survey of the subject groups and the classification marks

The following table offers the locations, subject groups and classification marks. A more detailed list of RVK you can find here:

Location Subject group   Classification mark Topic
10/11 ALL General A General: higher education, bibliographies, reference books, science studies
20/21 MDW Media studies AM, AN, AP Media and communication science, bibliology
22/23 SPR Linguistics and literature science E General and comparative linguistics and literature science, Indo-Germanic/European Philology, non-European languages and their literature
      F Classical philology, Byzantine studies, Medieval Latin Studies and Modern Greek Philology, Renaissance Latin
      G German studies, Dutch philology, Scandinavian studies
      H Anglistics, American studies
      I Romance studies
      K Slavonic studies
34/35 GWN Various subjects of humanities B Theology and religious studies
      CA-CI Philosophy
      CL-CZ Psychology
      D Education science
      LA-LC Ethnology (cultural anthropology and ethnology)
      LD-LG Archaeology
      LH-LO Art history
      LP-LY Musicology
      NA-NY History
      NZ Thuringian literature
40/41 SOZ Political science, Sociology, Geography, Sports MA-ML Political science
      MN-MS Sociology
      MX-MZ Military science
      R Geography
      ZX-ZY Sports
46/47 WIR Economic Sciences Q Economic Sciences
48/49 REC Law P Law
50/51 MAT Mathematics SA-SP Mathematics
52/53 INF Computer science SQ-SU Computer science
54/55 CHE Chemistry VA-VN Chemistry
54/55 PHY Physics U Physics
56/57 WER Materials Science ZM 1000 - ZM 7690 Material science and -testing
58/59 NAT Natural Sciences AR Environmental sciences
      TA-TD General sciences
      TE-TZ Geology and palaeontology
      VR-VX Pharmacy
      W Biology
      WW-YU Medicine
      ZA-ZE Agriculture and forestry, horticulture, fishery, home economics
60/61 TEC Technology (general) ZG-ZT Technology in general, architekture
62/63 MAS Mechanical Engineering ZL, ZM 8000, ZO Mechanical engineering, production technology, traffic
66/67 AUT Automation ZQ Measurement technology, automation
68/69 ELT Electrical Engineering ZN Electrical Engineering
Status: 2022/11/07