Elaine Svenonius

Elaine Svenonius is an American librarian and library scholar, known for her research on bibliographic control, particularly cataloging, classification, and indexing.[1] She is best known for bringing a philosophical knowledge organization approach to cataloging theory.

Elaine Svenonius
Alma mater
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Chicago
Occupationlibrarian and library scholar
AwardsALCTS Margaret Mann Citation, Ranganathan Award for Classification Research

Svenonius received an MA in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania in 1957, an MA in Library Science in 1965 from the University of Chicago, and a PhD in Library Science in 1971, as well from the University of Chicago.[2]

In The Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization, Svenonius attempts to "synthesize the literature of information organization in a language and at a level of generality to make it understandable to persons outside the field of library and information science" and to "synthesize subject and descriptive cataloging within a common conceptual framework."[2] The book is frequently assigned to Master of Library and Information Science students, among whom it is nicknamed "the red devil".[3]

Svenonius was the recipient of the ALCTS Margaret Mann Citation[4] and the Ranganathan Award for Classification Research.[5]


  1. ^ "Elaine Svenonius". The MIT Press. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b Myall, Carolynne; McGarry, Dorothy (2000). "An Interview with Elaine Svenonius". Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. 29 (4): 5–17. doi:10.1300/J104v29n04_02. S2CID 143741045.
  3. ^ "Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization". Goodreads. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Margaret Mann Citation". Awards. American Library Association. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Take note". UCLA Today. 31 August 1999. Retrieved 31 May 2014.