Subject and other classification schemes

What classification schemes are:
Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC) classification schemes are used to communicate subject information about a book. This information appears in your bibliographic data files, and is used to help identify where the book should be shelved in a physical store, or how it can be found via search or browse in an online store, catalogue or other discovery platform.

BISAC classification schemes come in three forms: BISAC Subject Headings, BISAC Merchandising Themes, and BISAC Regional Themes.

Thema is a global subject classification system for books, with wide and growing international participation. It is meant to help reduce having to map multiple national and specialist schemes to one another when trading with international partners. We've created a handy mapping tool for you to translate your existing BISAC codes to Thema codes; give it a try.

BookNet’s role:
BookNet Canada sits on the BISAC subjects committee, where decisions are made about which new codes are needed and which obsolete or ineffective ones should be discontinued. The Canadian Bibliographic Committee works at creating Canadian-specific BISAC subjects and regional themes. If you would like to discuss any of the classification schemes, send us an email.


Let us know how we can help!

We want to help you with metadata and standards. If you have questions about industry standards and our resources haven’t answered them, please email us so that we can lend a hand.