Wednesday, July 01, 2009

What In the Heck Is the Dewey Decimal System?

...and How Can It Help Me Find a Book?

By Hanje Richards

The Copper Queen Library uses the Dewey Decimal Classification system. This helps us arrange our collections and helps you find the materials you are looking for. This system was devised by Melvil Dewey in 1876. Mr. Dewey, with friend and fellow librarian Charles Ammi Cutter, founded the American Library Association. He also was an advocate of the metric system and reforms to English Language Spelling.

With thanks and apologies to Wikipedia:

The DDC system is made up of ten main classes or categories:

...000 – Computer science, information, and general works
...100 – Philosophy and psychology
...200 – Religion
...300 – Social sciences
...400 – Languages
...500 – Science and mathematics
...600 – Technology and applied science
...700 – Arts and recreation
...800 – Literature
...900 – History and geography and biography

Beyond the original ten classes, each class is further subdivided into ten divisions, and each division into ten sections, giving ten main classes, 100 divisions, and 1000 sections. In future blog entries, I will be highlighting each of the ten classes and some of the books that you find in them.

In the meantime, let me just say that at the Copper Queen Library (and many others) the Fiction and Genre Fiction (Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Western) sections, as well as audiovisual fiction, have been removed from the Dewey Decimal Classification System and are shelved separately -- alphabetically by the author's last name. We have also provided a distinct section for the Biography category.

The Dewey Decimal Classification system is used in our adult, juvenile, and young adult non-fiction sections and to organize our audiovisual (DVD, VHS, and recorded books) collections.

Of course, if you have trouble finding what you need, please ask at the Circulation Desk.

Happy Searching!