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This paper analyzes how two systems of classification - Library of Congress Classification and Dewey Decimal Classification - are applied to physical collections of films within libraries. It studies the history of the evolving approach to classification of film in these schemes, and identifies several ways that the underlying principles and philosophical assumptions of both are unconducive to arrangements of films. It also identifies several practical failings and contradictions within these systems, and confusions as to how their principles are to be mapped onto non-book objects of cultural production. The paper concludes that many of these failings are born of uncritical assumptions about film culture, whose differences from literary productions may not have been fully appreciated.