Browse the BIC Subject Categories and Qualifiers

This is BIC’s Subject Categories and Qualifiers Scheme, version 2 revision 01, the standard classification scheme for the UK book trade and other English language markets, available from www.bic.org.uk. You can also browse version 1.2 of the new Thema international, multilingual subject category scheme.

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Code Description
A The arts
See also: HPN “Aesthetics”
B Biography and True Stories
Do not use “B” on individual books; select appropriate code(s) from Section B below
C Language
Do not use “C” on individual books; select appropriate code(s) from Section C below
D Literature and literary studies
Do not use “D” on individual books; select appropriate code(s) from Section D below
E English language teaching (ELT)
Note: use E* codes only for works specifically designed for the teaching and learning of English as a foreign or second language; includes TEFL, ESL, TOEFL, IELTS, TOIEC. Use for both Adult and Children’s material. Language qualifier required only if specific variant of English is indicated, eg American English, or for bi-lingual texts/dictionaries, eg English/Spanish. With E* codes, use appropriate Educational Purpose qualifier indicating examination / qualification wherever possible. Do not use “E” on individual books; select appropriate code(s) from Section E below
F Fiction and related items
Do not use “F” on individual books; select appropriate detailed code(s) from Section F; For fiction anthologies, use DQ “Anthologies” with appropriate F* code to indicate genre where appropriate
G Reference, information and interdisciplinary subjects
Do not use “G” on individual books; select appropriate code(s) from Section G below
H Humanities
J Society and social sciences
K Economics, finance, business and management
L Law
For law for the layperson, use VSD “Law, citizenship and rights for the lay person”
M Medicine
See also: VFD “Popular medicine and health”
P Mathematics and science
Do not use “P” on individual books; select appropriate code(s) from Section P below
R Earth sciences, geography, environment, planning
Do not use “R” on individual books; select appropriate code(s) from Section R below
T Technology, engineering, agriculture
Do not use “T” on individual books; select appropriate code(s) from Section T below
U Computing and information technology
V Health and personal development
Note: many headings in Section V relate closely to headings in other sections. Use Section V for popularized accounts for general readership; prefer Sections J, K, M, T etc, as appropriate, for serious, specialist and academic works. Do not use “V” on individual books; select appropriate code(s) from Section V below
W Lifestyle, sport and leisure
Note: many headings in Section W relate closely to headings in other sections. Use Section W for popular accounts for general readership; prefer Sections A, K, P, R, T, etc, as appropriate, for serious, specialist and academic works. Do not use “W” on individual books; select appropriate code(s) from Section W below
Y Children’s, teenage and educational
Do not use “Y” on individual books. Select appropriate code(s) from Section Y below
1 Geographical qualifiers
Do not use “1” on individual books, as it is not a valid qualifier code; select appropriate qualifier code(s) from Section 1 below
2 Language qualifiers
Do not use “2” on individual books, as it is not a valid qualifier code; select appropriate qualifier code(s) from Section 2 below
3 Time period qualifiers
Do not use “3” on individual books, as it is not a valid qualifier code; select appropriate qualifier code(s) from Section 3 below. Note: use as few Time Period qualifiers as possible to indicate the bulk of the period covered by the book; eg, for 410 to 1066, use 3F only; for 1948 to 1974, use 3JJP only. If the coverage is evenly split between two qualifiers, use both; eg, for 1789 to 1814, use both 3JF and 3JH. For single years that occur in two qualifiers, use the earlier period; eg, for 1990, use 3JJPN
4 Educational purpose qualifiers
Do not use “4” on individual books, as it is not a valid qualifier code; select appropriate qualifier code(s) from Section 4 below
5 Interest age / Special interest qualifiers
Do not use “5” on individual books, as it is not a valid qualifier code; select appropriate qualifier code(s) from Section 5 below


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