Let's Do Dewey

 

 

  • The Dewey Decimal Classification System is named after its creator,
    Melvil Dewey.

  • Click on the correct answer in the next column to start the tutorial and learn about the DDC.

 

Dewey
Duck

 

 

 

Melvil
Dewey

To begin this library exercise, go to What is a call number? If you wish information on just one topic, choose from the list below.
 
 

 

 

Psst.......over here for the real info on Mr. Dui

What is a call number?

The call number for a book in the library is composed of two parts—the Dewey Decimal Classification number and the Cutter number.

In large libraries, it is possible that many books will be classified with the same Dewey classification number.  The library must give each book a unique number that serves as the address for locating each book on the shelf.

To create this unique number, a Cutter number is added to the classification number.

 

Dewey Decimal Classification System

The Dewey decimal system is used in more than 200,000 libraries throughout the world and it has been translated into 35 languages. The Dewey decimal system, using numbers and letters, coordinates materials on the same subject and on related subjects to make items easier to find on the shelves..  All knowledge is divided into ten main classes, which are listed below

000 Generalities 
100 Philosophy and Psychology
200 Religion
300 Social Science
400 Language
500 Natural Science and Mathematics
600 Technology (Applied Sciences)
700 Arts
800 Literature
900 Geography and History

 

Each of the above classes each have ten divisions. These divisions are further divided--and then further divided. Each division becomes more specific. The more numbers, the more specific the subject. In this way, the Dewey classification system progresses from the general to the specific. For a detailed summary for each number see theDewey Decimal Classification System The decimal place is used to make the number even more specific. Let's look for butterflies......

 

REMEMBER: In a decimal system, books are filed digit by digit--not by whole number.

 

Look at this example:
  • 331
  • 331.01
  • 331.011
  • 331.016
  • 331.02
  • 331.026
  • 331.041
  • 331.04136
  • 331.042
  • 331.1
  • 331.198
  • 331.2

Let's try putting some call numbers in correct shelving order.............

Exercise finished

 

But wait..................what happens when two books have the same number?

In large libraries, it is possible that many books will be classified with the same Dewey classification number.  The library must give each book a unique number that serves as the address for locating each book on the shelf.

To create this unique number, a Cutter number is added to the classification number.

 

Cutter numbers

The cutter number for a book usually consists of the first letter of the author's last name and a series of numbers. This series of numbers comes from a table that is designed to help maintain an alphabetical arrangement of names.

Conley, Ellen
Conley, Robert
Cook, Robin
Cook, Thomas
C767
C768
C77
C773

What if the library has several works by the same author?
How do we keep the call number unique? To do that a
work mark or work letter is used to distinguish the various works of a single author. The work mark is a lower case letter that is usually the first letter of the title of the book. Let’s look at the Harry Potter books.
Chamber of Secrets  823.914
J.K. Rowling             R797c
Prisoner of Azkaban  823.914
J.K. Rowling              R797p
Goblet of Fire            823.914
J. K. Rowling             R797g

Exercise2

REMEMBER: the cutter number is a decimal not a whole number and is also read digit by digit.

 

813.54 813.54 813.54 813.54 813.54
C767s C768m C77a C77g C773e

 

Now, which call number comes first on the shelf ?

813.54
C781d
813.54
C78a
813.54
C787h

 

Literary Criticism

In order to keep books of literary criticism about an author and his/her works shelved together, a capital Z is placed at the end of the first cutter line. The capital Z, the last letter in the alphabet, insures that all criticisms are shelved after the author's work. A second cutter line will begin with the first letter of the name of the author of the criticism.

The call number for Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling is…
823.914
R797p 

 

The call number for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels: a reader’s guide  by Philip Nel is….
823.914
R797Z
N32

A call number dissected................ not for the squeamish

8  Literature
2  English literatures
3  English fiction
.
   9  1900
    1   20th century
    4   after 1945
R Rowland
797 Cutter number
Z     Literary criticism

N32 is for Philip Nel, the author

 

Biographies

Biographies, the written histories about a person's life, are also cataloged and shelved a little differently. To keep all the biographies about a person shelved together, a cutter number is assigned for the biographee. For example, all the biographies about George W. Bush are shelved by the call number.

973.931
B62

 

A second cutter number is assigned for the author of the biography. 

Bushworld : enter at your own risk / Maureen Dowd.

973.931    Administration of George Walker Bush
B62       Cutter number for subject of biography(Bush)
D85       Cutter number for author/editor, Maureen Dowd

 

Books of literary criticism and biographies both have two cutter numbers. When you have a large collection, this can become confusing for both the library shelvers and library users. Remember that cutter numbers are used to keep the titles on the same subject together. And, remember that we are still using decimals and not whole numbers.

Let's look at some examples of call numbers for titles in American Literature.

Line 1 is in order by the Dewey Classification Number.

Line 2 in is ordered by the Cutter number for the author and the title of his book.

Line three is the cutter number for the writer who is critiquing the author's book.

813.52
F26p
M68f
813.52
F27a
B45

813.52
F27a
T33

813.52
F27as

813.52
F27as
B61

813.52
F27c
A82
813.52
F27c
C26
813.52
F27c
F62
813.52
F27c
K18
813.52
F27Z
D79

As you can see by the color coding, the cutter numbers
keep the same title and the works of criticism about this title together.

Exercise3

Which number would be shelved first?

833.912
M31br

833.912
M31Z
B91
833.912
M31bu
S42

Multiple Copies

Mulitple copies of the same book are shelved in order by the copy number.

 

833.912
M31
833.912
M31
c.2
833.912
M31
c.3

Various Editions

Various editions of a book are shelved in order by the year of publication.
378.242
M72h
 
 
378.242
M72h
1984
378.242
M72h
1988

 

Prefixes

Call numbers sometimes have prefixes to identify a special location where the book or other material is shelved. Prefixes used in the MTSU Library include the following.
  R for Reference

R
001.3
R63h
1979

OS for Oversize books

OS
736.4
C57b

 

Are you Ready to Shelve ?

 

Let's

Do

Dewey