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It is the Library's general aim to make available on the open shelves most works of academic importance that are physically suitable. Nevertheless, this is not a library where browsing is either easy or very efficient. Only one third of the collections are on open access, and open access material is arranged not only by subject, but also by size and by date of publication. The classification scheme has been revised and expanded over the years, with the result that two books on an identical subject can be classified in different places. Many books in series, moreover, are arranged with the series rather than under subject. If you are looking for material by a specific author or on a specific topic, you should always approach your search via the name or subject catalogue. See the PDF "A Beginner's Guide to Newton"

The library has its own unique classification system, as a result it is very specific in some areas and very general in others. What follows, therefore, is an attempt to pinpoint those parts of the classification scheme which relate specifically to German-speaking countries.

German Literature (746-750)

As with the schemes for other major European languages, German literary texts are divided by genre and by period. Texts are followed by related criticism. If an author writes fiction, plays and poetry, his or her work will be classified in three different places. No division is made between the literature of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Period subdivisions are fairly arbitrary - To 1500, 1501-1750, 1751-1850, 1851-1945 and 1945-. German poetry is placed between 746.3 and 746.6, drama between 747.1 and 747.4, fiction between 748.1 and 748.4, and prose other than fiction between 749.1 and 749.4. Texts by, or criticism related to, Goethe are placed together between 750 and 750.85.

German History (570-575)

Classification of German history incorporates a fairly detailed chronological breakdown. Works on ancient and medieval Germany are placed between 570.8 and 570.95. Works on modern Germany are arranged as follows:

571:1   General modern history. Sources. Documents
571:2 1519-1648 Reformation and Counter-Reformation period
571:22   Biography
571:24 1519-1559 Karl V. Peasants' War, 1524-1525
571:26 1530-1547 Schmalkaldic League and war
571:28 1618-1648 Period of Thirty Years' War. For the war itself, see 533:26
571:3 1648-1789 17th and 18th centuries
571:35 1789-1815 Germany during the French Revolution
571:4 1815-1914 19th century. For the period of the Great War, 1914-1918, see 537
571:42 1848-1871 Period of Revolution. Austro-Prussian war, 1866.
German Empire, 1871-1918
571:5   History, general
571:52   Sources and documents
571:54   Biography
571:55   Bismarck: Biography
571:57   Writings. Speeches. Letters. Table-talk
571:6 1861-1888 William I. Frederick III
571:62 1888-1918 William II. For social life and customs, 570:35; for the period of World War I, 1914-1918, see 537
571:7 1918-1990 German Republic. Weimarer Republic
571:73   Biography
571:75 1933-1945 Nazi Germany. Hitler. Third Reich. Nazi biography
571:76 1945-1990 General including Berlin question
571:77   West Germany, 1945-1990
571:78   East Germany, 1945-1990
571:8 1990- United Germany
571:83   Biography

In addition to the above classes there are also classes devoted specifically to local history and geogrpahy (573:5-574:8). Works on Prussia are placed between 573 and 573:35. Books on Germany's constitutional history stand at 575-575:46. Works on the German colonial empire stand at 575:8-575:9.

Swiss History (605-606:9)

Swiss history follows a less detailed chronological division but is supplemented by detailed divisions for local history with the cantons and cantonal capitals alphabetically arranged between 606:4 and 606:7. Constitutional history stands at 606:9.

605:2 Early, to 1291  
605:25 1291-1516 Federation and independence
605:28   War against Swabian League, 1499
605:3 1516-1798  
605:32   Peasants' war, 1641
605:36   Biography, 16th to 18th centuries
605:38 1798-1803 Helvetic Republic
605:4 1803- 19th century onwards
605:42 1843-1847 Sonderbund

Austrian History (607-608:8)

The classification scheme for Austrian history follows a similar pattern to Swiss history: a chronological division followed by an area division for local history (608:1). Works dealing with the Austro-Hungarian Empire are also placed with Austrian history. Works on Austria's constitutional history stand at 608.8.

607:2 Early, to 1521  
607:3 1521-1792  
607:36 1740-1780 Maria Theresa, 1740-1780. For the war of Austrian Succession see 533:46
607:38 1792-1815 Period of the French Revolution. For the Congress of Vienna see 562:9
607:4 1815-1918 19th century (incl. biography of Franz Josef I, 1848-1916)
607:45   Biography
607:47 1918-1938 Republic of Austria
607:48 1938-1945 Anschluss with Germany
607:49 1945- Republic of Austria