How To: Understand the Dewey Decimal System

Understand the Dewey Decimal System

Feeling lost inside a library? The Dewey Decimal System is a logical and popular book classification system for libraries and schools helping you to easily locate any book or periodical you need. Fool these steps to better understand the Dewey Decimal System.


You Will Need:
• A library
• An understanding of decimals and numbers


Step 1: Defining the system
Understand that the Dewey Decimal System categorizes books according to 10 broad classes, including computers, technology, arts, and literature.

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).

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.

Trivia: The creator of the Dewey Decimal System, Melvil Dewey, preferred to spell his last name "Dui."

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