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Dewey Decimal System  

Last Updated: Nov 21, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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What Does Dewey Do?

In a nutshell, the Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC) is a method of arranging non-fiction materials by subject. The system groups all subjects into ten main classes. Each class has ten divisions and each division may be broken down further by adding a decimal point and then more numbers. This allows very specific subjects to be shelved together. For example:

973 American History

973.7 Civil War

973.73 Civil War Battles


Dewey Overview

People often ask if libraries still use Dewey Decimal.  The answer is, "yes!". While the card catalog, the set of drawers holding small book cards labeled with author, title, and subject headings, is nearly obsolete, the Dewey Decimal classification system is still used by most school and public libraries. It is simply a system for organizing all knowledge into categories according to subject matter.

Dewey Decimal is based on series of ten:  ten categories to represent all recorded knowledge, and ten categories within each of the original ten to provide more specific classification.

An overview of the Dewey Decimal system:

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


Non-Fiction Books

Cover Art
Welcome to Kit's World, 1934 - Harriet Brown; Walter Rane (Illustrator); Jamie Young (Illustrator, Photographer); Jean-Paul Tibbles (Illustrator); Susan Moore (Illustrator); Susan McAiley (Illustrator); Philip Hood (Illustrator)
ISBN: 158485359X
Publication Date: 2002-01-01
Welcome to Kit's world -- Want amid plenty -- From bread bowl to dust bowl -- How we coped -- A new deal -- A peek into the future.

Through photographs, illustrations, and both factual and fictionalized anecdotes, shows what life was like in the United States during the Depression.

Cover Art
Welcome to Kaya's World 1764 - Dottie Raymer; Jodi Evert (Editor)
ISBN: 1584857226
Publication Date: 2003-09-01
Photographs, illustrations, and anecdotes, both factual and fictional, describe a Nez Perce girl's experiences growing up in the mid-eighteenth century.


Introduction to Dewey Decimal System


Melvil Dewey


Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey was born on December 10, 1851 in a small northern town in New York. He shortened his first name to Melvil as a young adult, dropped his middle names and, for a short time, spelled his last name as Dui.

Dewey invented the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system when he was 21 years old. At the time, he was working as an assistant in the library at Amherst College. Dewey's classification system changed library science and the way libraries cataloged their collections. Melvil Dewey is called the “Father of Modern Librarianship.”

Melvil Dewey died after suffering a stroke on December 26, 1931 at age 80. Seven decades after his death, he is still primarily known for the Dewey Decimal Classification, the most widely used library classification system in the world.


Dewey Review Slides


More Non-Fiction Books

Cover Art
Basketball Belles - Sue Macy; Matt Collins (Illustrator); Collins Matt (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780823421633
Publication Date: 2011-01-01
Raised on a cattle ranch, Agnes Morley was sent to Stanford University to learn to be a lady. Yet in no time she exchanged her breeches and spurs for bloomers and a basketball; and in April 1896 she made history. In a heart-pounding game against the University of California at Berkeley, Agnes led her team to victory in the first-ever intercollegiate women's basketball game, earning national attention and putting women's basketball on the map.

Cover Art
Eye to Eye - Steve Jenkins
ISBN: 9780547959078
Publication Date: 2014-04-01
In his latest eye-popping work of picture book nonfiction, the Caldecott Honor–winning author-illustrator Steve Jenkins explains how for most animals, eyes are the most important source of information about the world in a biological sense. The simplest eyes—clusters of light-sensitive cells—appeared more than one billion years ago, and provided a big survival advantage to the first creatures that had them. Since then, animals have evolved an amazing variety of eyes, along with often surprising ways to use them.


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