Click here for Coding the Highways I

The Highway Code is the rules, the law, for all road users. Knowledge of the Highway Code is essential for gaining a Driving Licence, but previous Library copies had never been looked at. To be fair, most learner drivers would buy their own copy because it’s cheap, and there are plenty of ‘learning to drive’ books on the market. Even so, I pondered whether it just needed a better home.

I wanted a location where it would be seen by pupils browsing through related materials. Previous editions lived in Public safety – transportation hazards (363.12) which is close to the popular survival books, but obviously not close enough. Well, as the law of the road, it seems obvious that it should be classified alongside Transport and Commerce (380s), except that I moved everything from this class number years ago because it wasn’t being seen. Similarly if it was shelved under Law, I could guarantee no-one would see it. 😦

Fortunately many libraries have their catalogues online – very useful if you’ve a working knowledge of and access to your own copy of DDC for comparison. The majority suggested the same number: 629.2830941 which placed it with Transport engineering (specifically cars, motorbikes and other road vehicles). Makes sense as a general location, but the number was far too long. The 0941 specifies the UK and could be abandoned, but the rest of the number was unfamiliar.

629.283 = Engineering – Motor land vehicles – Tests, driving, maintenance, repair – Driving (Operations)

It’s not a number that jumped out at me, but it seems to be a good home for The Highway Code. It stands a good chance of being spotted amongst all the car books (very popular), and even if the younger children who usually haunt this section didn’t borrow it, they might remember the Library had copies when they were working towards their driving licences. Of course, as a result of changing this number, there’s an inevitable cascade reaction and other class numbers will also have to be reconsidered. But not right now.

Seems like a long, boring, complicated process, I know, but it happens a lot more quickly than it sounds, and it’s actually a rather interesting intellectual puzzle – but maybe that’s just me 🙂