Walker Library

The Dewey Decimal System, page 3

About Call Numbers

The Dewey Decimal System

An Example

Filing Order

Cutter Numbers

Literary Criticism

Biographies

Last but Not Least

An example:

Let's find books about butterflies. To find the classification number for butterflies, we need to start with the class for natural sciences: the 500's. This means that the first number of the call number will be a 5. Let's look at the ten divisions of this 500 class:

  • 510 Mathematics
  • 520 Astronomy
  • 530 Physics
  • 540 Chemistry
  • 550 Earth Sciences
  • 560 Paleontology
  • 570 Life Sciences
  • 580 Botanical Sciences
  • 590 Zoological Sciences

Butterflies will be classified under the Zoological Sciences - 590 - so we know that the second number of the call number will be a 9 and the first two numbers are 59. Let's look at the ten divisions of the 590's to find the next number.

  • 591 Zoology
  • 592 Invertebrates
  • 593 Protozoa
  • 594 Mollusa
  • 595 Other Invertebrates (worms and insects)
  • 596 Vertebrates
  • 597 Fishes
  • 598 Reptiles and Birds
  • 599 Mammals

Insects, including butterflies, would be under 595, so the first three numbers of the call number are 595.

The 595's are further divided by the use of decimals to specify what type of insects:

  • 595.7 Insects
  • 595.78 Lepidoptera
  • 595.789 Butterflies

So the Dewey Decimal Classification Number for butterflies is 595.789. Beginning to get the picture? The more numbers, the more specific.

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