BIC Subject Categories and Qualifiers

This is BIC’s Subject Categories and Qualifiers Scheme, version 2.1 released November 2010, the standard classification scheme for the UK book trade and some other English language markets, available from

Note that BIC has announced that there will be no further development of the BIC scheme, and that Thema is its preferred subject scheme for current and future use. Browse the latest version of the Thema international, multilingual subject category scheme here.

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Code Description
R Earth sciences, geography, environment, planning
Do not use “R” on individual books; select appropriate code(s) from Section R below
RG Geography
Note: with RG* codes, assign also Geographical qualifiers as appropriate. For World atlases, Globes and World maps, use GBGM “World atlases / world maps”; for Place names and gazetteers, use GBGP “Place names and gazetteers”; for Road atlases and maps, use WTRD “Road atlases and maps”; for Travel maps, use WTRM “Travel maps”; for Street maps and city plans, use WTRS “Street maps and city plans”; for Historical maps and atlases, use HBTP1 “Historical maps and atlases”
RGB Physical geography and topography
For oceans and seas, use RBKC “Oceanography (seas)”; for rivers and lakes, use RBKF “Limnology (freshwater)”
RGC Human geography
For historical geography, use HBTP “Historical geography”
RGL Regional geography
See also: GTB “Regional studies”; RP “Regional and area planning”
RGM Biogeography
See also: RN “The environment” and following; PSAF “Ecological science, the Biosphere”
RGR Geographical discovery and exploration
See also: WTLP “Expeditions” for popular accounts
RGS Geographical maps (specialist)
Class here: specialist / topographical maps only, with another code indicating subject where possible, eg with RBGL for geological maps of mineral resources etc. For general folded maps, including Ordnance Survey etc, use WTRM “Travel maps”
RGV Cartography, map-making and projections
RGW Geographical information systems (GIS) and remote sensing
RGY Geodesy and surveying for maps and charts

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