Special collections

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The Inforum is home to the following special collections:

Subject Analysis Systems (SAS) Collection

The SAS collection is a historical collection of classification schemes, subject heading lists, thesauri and taxonomies across multiple disciplines, not only information studies.


  • The Special Libraries Association began the collection in 1924, in order to fill the gaps in indexing terms that the Library of Congress did not yet cover
  • The collection moved to the Bibliographic Systems Center and the School of Library Science at Case Western Reserve University, before arriving at the University of Toronto in 1976
  • For many years, the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto acted as the international clearinghouse for subject analysis materials published in English
  • The collection was cited in ANSI/NISO Z.39.19-1993 and ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2003, as well as acknowledged in handbooks on thesaurus construction such as Aitchison, Gilchrist and Bawden's Thesaurus construction and use: A practical manual, 4th edition (2002)

Taken as a whole, the collection represents the rich history of subject analysis and classification theory, while reflecting the socio-political shifts in thinking about the organization of information within a variety of disciplines.


Items in the SAS collection appear in the UTL catalogue under the library "Faculty of Information (Inforum)" with the library location "Subject Analysis Systems".

Many of the items in the SAS collection can be borrowed. Request them at the Information Desk.

McLuhan-Bissell Collection

The McLuhan-Bissell collection consists of 92 items donated to the iSchool in 2011 by the family of past University of Toronto President, Claude T. Bissell.

  • Items in the collection include books that Marshall McLuhan presented as gifts to Bissell during their friendship.
  • Also included in the collection are books, serial issues, news clippings, and other ephemeral material by or about McLuhan that Bissell personally collected for his home library.
  • Some of the books contain playful inscriptions from McLuhan to Bissell.


The iSchool is now housed at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, which also houses the working library of Marshall McLuhan.

Please consult this finding aid to learn more about the individual items contained within this collection. Information on how to access items from this collection will become available once the transfer has been completed.

C. Donald Cook Collection on Bibliographic Control (Cook Collection)

The Cook Collection is for researchers interested in the history of bibliographic control, including cataloguing, classification, and subject analysis. It is print-based, allowing researchers to trace the historical development of particular schemes and standards through fixed snapshots in time, in a way that is not yet possible with online bibliographic tools.


  • The Cook Collection was donated by the family of C. Donald Cook, a professor at the Faculty from 1977 to 1989
  • Cook participated in the development of the major bibliographic standards that are still in use today, including ISBN, MARC, and the first and second editions of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules
  • He also founded the journal Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Items in the collection include:

  • Works written, compiled, or edited by Cook
  • Copies owned by Cook (either annotated or marked with his name stamp or signature). Typically, these would be standards related to descriptive and subject cataloguing published in or before 1989.


All items added to the Cook Collection appear in the UTL catalogue under the library "Faculty of Information (Inforum)" with the library location "Cook Bibliographic Control".

Items in the Cook Collection are for in-house use only. Contact staff to request items from the collection.