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How to Understand the Dewey Decimal System

The Dewey Decimal System is a logical and popular book classification system for libraries and schools.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Defining the system Understand that the Dewey Decimal System categorizes books according to 10 broad classes, including computers, technology, arts, and literature.
  • TIP: The Dewey Decimal numbers on the spines of books are "call numbers."The book’s Dewey number and the first three letters of the author's last name make up the book's call number.
  • Step 2: Classify further Learn the classification within the 10 main categories, which divide books according to subject matter. For instance, the 700 class, Arts, is subdivided into 10 divisions, including Drawing, Painting, and Music.
  • Step 3: Narrow further Consider subdivisions within subdivisions. For example, within 750, Painting, you will find Color, Symbolism, Religion, and Human Figures.
  • Step 4: Get more specific Divide the subdivisions into sections. The subdivision of class 700, Arts, includes the division 750, Painting, which includes 759, Historical, which comprises such sections as 759.11 (Canadian), 759.13 (American), and 759.2 (British).
  • TIP: The decimal in the Dewey Decimal System lets books be organized into smaller, more precise categories.
  • Step 5: Assign rank Arrange books numerically on shelves within the library, according to the Dewey number.
  • Step 6: Pinpoint number Scan shelves of similar numeric groupings to pinpoint a selected book. Dewey numbers range from 001 to 999.
  • FACT: Did you know? The creator of the Dewey Decimal System, Melvil Dewey, preferred to spell his last name "Dui."

You Will Need

  • Library
  • Understanding of decimals and numbers

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