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Decoding the mysteries of the Dewey Decimal System.

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Presentation on theme: "Decoding the mysteries of the Dewey Decimal System."— Presentation transcript:

1 Decoding the mysteries of the Dewey Decimal System.
DEWEY? WE DO! Decoding the mysteries of the Dewey Decimal System.

SO MANY BOOKS!! HOW DO I FIND THE ONE I WANT? Think of a room full of books. They’re not in any order. Big ones and small ones, paperbacks and hardcovers, a book about dinosaurs next to a cookbook next to a dictionary. It might be fun to browse through a mess like that—but it would be almost impossible if there were one particular book you wanted to find.

3 In the late 1800s, a librarian named Melvil Dewey developed a way to organize books in a library so they’d be easier to find. There are lots of subjects books can be about. Some subjects have nothing in common—like wolves and cookbooks. Others are very similar—like flowers and trees. Dewey grouped all the similar subjects together. He settled on ten big groups of subjects. Then he assigned a number to those big subjects. This first basic classification looks like this:

4 000 General Knowledge Almanacs, Encyclopedias, Libraries, Museums, Newspapers ...
100 Psychology and Philosophy Death & Dying, Ethics, Feelings, Logic, Making Friends, Optical Illusions, Superstitions ... 200 Religions and Mythology Amish, Bible Stories, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Quakers, and other world religions; Greek, Roman and other myths... 300 Social Sciences and Folklore Careers, Customs, Environment, Families, Folktales, Government, Manners, Money, Recycling ... 400 Languages and Grammar Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Sign Language, Spanish. Includes dictionaries. 500 Math and Science Animals, Biology, Chemistry, Dinosaurs, Fish, Geology, Insects, Physics, Planets, Plants ... 600 Medicine and Technology Computers, Cookbooks, Engineering, Farming, Health, Human Body, Inventions, Manufacturing, Nutrition ... 700 Arts & Recreation Architecture, Crafts, Drawing, Games, Jokes, Music, Puppets, Songbooks, Sports ... 800 Literature Children's Literature, Plays, Poetry, Shakespeare, Writing ... 900 Geography and History Biographies, Countries, Native Americans, States, Travel, Wars ...

5 Then Dewey broke the big subjects down into smaller subjects by dividing the big, “hundreds” numbers into smaller, “tens” numbers. Similar subjects were assigned numbers that were close together.

6 Generalities 000 010 Bibliography 020 Library & information science
030 General encyclopedias 040 Not used 050 General serial publications 060 Organizations 070 Journalism, publishing, media 080 General collections 090 Manuscripts & rare books

7 Philosophy & Pscyhology
100 Philosophy & Pscyhology 110 Metaphysics 120 Epistemology, causation, humankind 130 Paranormal phenomenon 140 Specific philosophical schools 150 Psychology 160 Logic 170 Ethics 180 Ancient, medieval, Oriental philosophy 190 Modern western philosophy

8 Religion 200 210 Philosophy & theory of religion 220 Bible 230
Christianity 240 Christian moral & devotional theology 250 Christian orders & local church 260 Social & ecclesiastical theology 270 History of Christianity & Christian sects 280 Christian denominations 290 Comparative religion & other religions

9 Social Sciences 300 310 Statistics 320 Political science 330 Economics
340 Law 350 Public administration & military science 360 Social programs & services 370 Education 380 Commerce 390 Customs, etiquette, folklore

10 Language 400 410 Linguisitics 420 English & Old English 430 Germanic
440 French 450 Italian, Romanian, Rhaeto-Romanic 460 Spanish & Portuguese 470 Latin 480 Greek 490 Other languages

11 Natural Sciences & Math
500 Natural Sciences & Math 510 Math 520 Astronomy 530 Physics 540 Chemistry 550 Earth sciences 560 Paleontology 570 Life sciences 580 Plants 590 Animals

12 Technology & Applied Sciences
600 Technology & Applied Sciences 610 Medicine 620 Engineering 630 Agriculture 640 Home economics (cooking) 650 Management 660 Chemical engineering 670 Manufacturing 680 Manufacture for specific uses 690 Building

13 Arts, Sports, Recreation
700 Arts, Sports, Recreation 710 Civic & landscape art 720 Architecture 730 Plastic arts (sculpture) 740 Drawing & decorative art 750 Painting 760 Graphic arts 770 Photography 780 Music 790 Recreation, performing arts, sports

14 Literature & Rhetoric 800 810 American 820 English & Old English 830
Germanic 840 French 850 Italian, Romanian 860 Spanish, Portuguese 870 Latin 880 Greek 890 Other literatures

15 Geography, History, Biography
900 Geography, History, Biography 910 Geography, travel 920 Biography, genealogy, insignia 930 Ancient world 940 Europe 950 Asia 960 Africa 970 North America 980 South America 990 Other areas

16 980 General history of South America
But even these divisions were not enough. For instance, Mr. Dewey assigned the number 980 to the continent of South America. But there are many countries in that big continent. The system Mr. Dewey designed was flexible enough to allow for a separate number for different countries and regions: 980 General history of South America 981 Brazil 982 Argentina 983 Chile 984 Bolivia 985 Peru 986 Colombia & Ecuador 987 Venezuela 988 Guiana 989 Paraguay & Uruguay

17 Mr. Dewey’s classification system allows librarians to divide the numbers that are used to describe subjects even further by using decimals—which is why we call it the Dewey DECIMAL System. For instance, 362 is the number assigned to social problems. But there are all sorts of problems in society. So the number is divided again: Social aspects of health problems like AIDS Social aspects of mental illness Social aspects of physical disabilities like blindness Poverty and homelessness Social issues of the elderly Social issues of children and teens Social issues of families, including domestic violence Military draft

18 Librarians can continue to create smaller and smaller divisions using the decimal numbers.
For instance, is the number for plants with seeds. But there are different kinds of plants with seeds, such as trees and flowers. So, in the Dewey Decimal System, there can be slightly different numbers for flowers and trees: Flowers Trees Books about flowers and trees would be very close together on a library shelf, because their Dewey numbers both begin with “582.” But books about flowers would be right next to each other, followed by books about trees a little further down the shelf. In really large libraries that have many, many books about plants, the numbers could be even more specific: just for oak trees, or just for roses, for example.

"Next Time Someone Asks You Where the 300s Are" "Staff members at Northwestern University Library Cataloging Department have identified what is believed to be the longest Dewey number ever under serious consideration for assignment: a 23-digit monster for ARAB ATTITUDES TOWARD ISRAEL by Yehoshafat Harkabi, The meaning of the number can be broken down as follows: 301-Sociology, 1543-Opinions, attitudes, beliefs on specific topics (Add ); 301-Sociology; 29-Historical and geographical treatment (Add "areas"); 174-Region where specific racial, ethnic, national groups predominate (Add from Table 5); 927-Arabs and Maltese; 0-General relations between two countries (Add "areas"); 5694-Palestine, Israel. In other words: Historical and geographical treatment of opinions on countries where Arabs predominate, and their relations with Israel."

20 Sometimes it can be confusing to figure out how Dewey Decimal Numbers work on the library shelves.
HINT: THINK MONEY!!!! AS IN DOLLARS AND CENTS!!! A high percentage of books have Dewey numbers that just extend to the hundredths place—two digits past the decimal point. This makes the numbers look a lot like prices, without the dollar sign! So, if you aren’t sure whether is shelved before or after , THINK MONEY. Which is larger, $919.65, or $919.57? Remember that Dewey numbers get larger to your right and smaller to your left when you’re standing in the stacks (which is what librarians call shelving). So on the shelf, those two books will look like this: 919.65 919.57 ($919.65) ($919.57)

21 Here in the BMHS library media center, while we use the Dewey Decimal System to organize our books and other materials, we DO take a few liberties. For example, some libraries designate biographies (books about people’s lives) with 920; others with 921; others with B. Here we use 92 for biographies. Also, Mr. Dewey wasn’t really thinking about popular novels when he created his system. He placed Fiction in with Literature—the 800s. Most school and public libraries choose not to do this. Here at BMHS, we use F or FIC to designate Fiction.

22 In many school library media centers, there is another way the Dewey Decimal System gets “tweaked.” There can be many books on the same subject, like dinosaurs, or weather, or the American Revolution. All these books would have the same Dewey Decimal Number. And sometimes you don’t want just ANY book about dinosaurs, you want the ones by Don Lessem. So printed just below the Dewey number on the spine of the book (see Parts of a Book tutorial) there are three letters: the first three letters of the author’s last name. The combination of the Dewey Decimal Number plus the letters makes up the book’s “call number.” Fiction works the same way: on the spine you’ll see F or FIC on the top line, and the first three letters of the author’s last name below. A novel by Walter Dean Myers has the “call number” FIC MYE. Biographies are a little different. In BMHS, the Dewey Decimal Number is 92. The three letters below the 92 are the first three letters of the SUBJECT’s last name, not the author’s. So all the books about Eminem have the same call number: 92 EMI. And they’re right next to each other on the shelf. 567.9 LES FIC MYE 92 EMI

23 The Dewey Decimal System is not the only way to organize libraries
The Dewey Decimal System is not the only way to organize libraries. But it is the one used most often in public and school libraries. College and university libraries often choose the Library of Congress system instead of Dewey. LC uses combinations of letters instead of numbers to designate subjects. Libraries that receive many documents from the government, like copies of Congressional bills, use a system called Superintendent of Documents. And collections of musical recordings may be organized by ANSCR, or the Alpha-Numeric for Classification of Recordings, which uses combinations of letters to stand for genres of music, like symphonies or opera or jazz.


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