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Dewey Decimal Classification

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The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC, also called the Dewey Decimal System) is a system of library classification developed by Melvil Dewey (18511931) in 1876, and since greatly modified and expanded in the course of the twenty-two major revisions which have occurred up until 2004.

Contents

How it works

The DDC attempts to organize all knowledge into ten main classes that, excluding the first class (000 Computers, information and general reference), proceed from the divine (philosophy & religion) to the mundane (history & geography). DDC's cleverness is in choosing decimals for its categories; this allows it to be both purely numerical and infinitely hierarchical. It also is a faceted classification, combining elements from different parts of the structure to construct a number representing the subject content (often combining two subject elements with linking numbers and geographical and temporal elements) and form of an item rather than drawing upon a list containing each class and its meaning.

Except for general works and fiction, works are classified principally by subject, with extensions for subject relationships, place, time or type of material, producing classification numbers of not less than three digits but otherwise of indeterminate length with a decimal point before the fourth digit, where present (e.g. 330 for economy + 94 for Europe = 330.94 European economy; 973 for United States + 005 form division for periodicals = 973.005, periodicals concerning the United States generally); classmarks are to be read as numbers, in the order: 050, 220, 330.973, 331 etc. Any letter should be read as preceding any number that might have occupied the same character position, so "330.94 A" would come before 330.943. The system uses ten main classes, which are then further subdivided. Each main class has ten divisions and each division has ten sections. Hence the system can be neatly summarized in 10 main classes, 100 divisions and 1000 sections. It is a common misconception that all books in the DDC are non-fiction. However, the DDC has a number for all books, including those that generally become their own section of fiction. If DDC rules were strictly followed, American fiction would be classified in 813. Most libraries create a separate fiction section because of the space that would be taken up in the 800s.

Main classes

The system is made of up ten categories:

  • 000 Computers, information and general reference
  • 100 Philosophy and psychology
  • 200 Religion
  • 300 Social sciences
  • 400 Language
  • 500 Science and mathematics
  • 600 Technology
  • 700 Arts and recreation
  • 800 Literature
  • 900 History and geography

Classes

See List of Dewey Decimal Classes (http://www.tnrdlib.bc.ca/dewey.html).

Cultural bias of the DDC

DDC is commonly used in public and school libraries throughout the world. The schedule contains marked geographical biases derived from its 19th century origins: Northern Africa for instance occupies all of 961–965, the rest of the continent only 966–969. It is still more biased towards Christianity against other religions, the former covering all of 220–289, while all others get only 292–299 to share. Recent versions permit another religion to be placed in 220–289, with Christianity relegated to 298, but this is mainly used by libraries operated by non-Christian religious groups, especially Jewish ones. The DDC has also been criticized for its treatment of literature (800). Because primacy is given to language, national literatures get scattered. For example, Canadian literature in English is classed under English & Old English (820) literatures while Canadian literature in French is classed under French literatures (840). The only exception is for American literature (810); a reflection of the Anglo-American bias inherent in the system.

DDC compared to other classification systems

DDC's numbers formed the basis of the more expressive but complex Universal Decimal Classification, which combines the basic Dewey numbers with selected punctuation marks (comma, colon, parentheses etc.). Despite its frequent revision, DDC is widely considered theoretically inferior to other more modern systems which make freer use of alphabetical characters to produce shorter classmarks for concepts of equal complexity, though it continues to offer a more expressive format than the Library of Congress Classification developed shortly afterward.

Ownership

The Online Computer Library Center acquired the trademark and any copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal System when it bought Forest Press in 1988. OCLC classifies new books and maintains the classification system. In September 2003, the OCLC sued the Library Hotel for trademark infringement. The settlement was that the OCLC would allow the Library Hotel to use the system in its hotel and marketing. In exchange, the Hotel would acknowledge the Center's ownership of the trademark and make a donation to a nonprofit organization promoting reading and literacy among children.




000 Generalities
010 Bibliography
020 Library & information science
030 General encyclopedias
040 Not used
050 General serial publications
060 Organizations
070 Journalism, publishing, media
080 General collections
090 Manuscripts & rare books

100 Philosophy & Psychology
110 Metaphysics
120 Epistemology, causation, humankind
130 Paranormal phenomenon
140 Specific philosophical schools
150 Psychology
160 Logic
170 Ethics
180 Ancient, medieval, Oriental philosophy
190 Modern western philosophy

200 Religion
210 Philosophy & theory of religion
220 Bible
230 Christianity
240 Christian moral & devotional theology
250 Christian orders & local church
260 Social & ecclesiastical theology
270 History of Christianity & Christian sects
280 Christian denominations
290 Comparative religion & other religions

300 Social Sciences
310 Statistics
320 Political science
330 Economics
340 Law
350 Public administration & military science
360 Social programs & services
370 Education
380 Commerce
390 Customs, etiquette, folklore

400 Language
410 Linguisitics
420 English & Old English
430 Germanic
440 Frechn
450 Italian, Romanian, Rhaeto-Romanic
460 Spanish & Portuguese
470 Latin
480 Greek
490 Other languages

500 Natural Sciences & Math
510 Math
520 Astronomy
530 Physics
540 Chemistry
550 Earth sciences
560 Paleontology
570 Life sciences
580 Plants
590 Animals

600 Technology & Applied Sciences
610 Medicine
620 Engineering
630 Agriculture
640 Home economics (cooking)
650 Management
660 Chemical engineering
670 Manufacturing
680 Manufacture for specific uses
690 Building

700 Arts, Sports, Recreation
710 Civic & landscape art
720 Architecture
730 Plastic arts (sculpture)
740 Drawing & decorative art
750 Painting
760 Graphic arts
770 Photography
780 Music
790 Recreation, performing arts, sports

800 Literature & Rhetoric
810 American
820 English & Old English
830 Germanic
840 French
850 Italian, Romanian
860 Spanish, Portuguese
870 Latin
880 Greek
890 Other literatures

900 Geography, History, Biography
910 Geography, travel
920 Biography, genealogy, insignia
930 Ancient world
940 Europe
950 Asia
960 Africa
970 North America
980 South America
990 Other areas

External links

fr:Classification dcimale de Dewey id:Klasifikasi Desimal Dewey it:Classificazione decimale Dewey he:שיטת דיואי nn:Deweys desimalklassifikasjon fi:Deweyn luokittelu zh-cn:杜威十进制图书分类法 pt:Classificao Decimal de Dewey

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