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
H Humanities
HB History
Note: do not use “HB” on individual books. For all HB* codes, assign also more specific Geographical and Time Period qualifiers where possible
HBL History: earliest times to present day
Note: with all HBL* codes, also assign HBG or HBJ* code as appropriate
HBLA Ancient history: to c. 500 CE
HBLC Early history: c. 500 to c. 1450/1500
HBLH Early modern history: c. 1450/1500 to c. 1700
Class here: Renaissance, Reformation
HBLL Modern history to 20th century: c. 1700 to c. 1900
HBLW 20th century history: c. 1900 to c. 2000
HBLX 21st century history: from c. 2000–

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