Universal Decimal Classification UDC

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Universal Decimal Classification (UDC)


an international library-bibliographical classification developed by the International Institute of Bibliography between 1895 and 1905 on the basis of the decimal classification of the American librarian M. Dewey. It received its current name in its second edition (1927–32). The International Federation for Documentation is responsible for improving the system in accordance with specific rules.

The UDC is a hierarchical, combinative classification consisting of three parts: main classification tables, schedules of subdivisions (subject headings), and an alphabetical subject index. The notation is systematic and numerical, and it uses arabic numerals. The considerable detail of the main tables and the potential for forming new headings with the help of subdivisions make the UDC one of the most sophisticated universal classifications.

The UDC has been used in the USSR since 1921 in versions that take into account the specific requirements of Soviet libraries and compensate for the classification’s ideological deficiencies, which are most noticeable in the social sciences. It has been proposed that the versions of the decimal classification used in popular and research libraries containing books in the humanities be replaced with tables from the Soviet Library Bibliographical Classification. In 1963, in accordance with the decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR of May 11, 1962, On Measures for Improving the Organization of Scientific and Technical Information in the Country, the UDC was made the standard system of classification for science and technology; it was introduced in all technical, medical, and agricultural libraries and all scientific and technical information agencies.

Two editions of the UDC for the natural and technical sciences have been published in the USSR. Other publications include several dozen tables dealing with particular fields of knowledge, a series of methodological handbooks, and the periodical collection New Aspects of the Universal Decimal Classification.


Universal’naia desiatichnaia klassifikatsiia: Estestvennye i tekhnicheskie nauki, vols. 1–6. Moscow, 1969–71.
Dezimalklassifikation: DK Deutsche Kurzausg, vols. 1–4. Berlin-Cologne, 1973.
Dubuc, R. La Classification décimale universelle (CDU), 3rd ed. Paris, 1973.
Fill, K. Einführung in das Wesen der Dezimalklassifikation, 3rd ed. Berlin, 1969.
Mills, J. The Universal Decimal Classification. New Brunswick, N.J. 1964.
Perrault, J. An Introduction to UDC. [London, 1969.]
Perrault, J. Towards a Theory for UDC. [Hamden (Conn.)–London, 1969.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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