A Little Something about
Or Why Things Are
the Way They Are
In the beginning
●There were not many books, because
there was no efficient way to make
●Monks would copy books by hand.
●Few people could read or write.
●Only rich people, political or religious
leaders could read and had books.
●How books were arranged wasn’t a big
However, once movable type
●More books were published.
●After the Industrial Revolution, more
common people learned to read.
●Libraries sprang up across the United
States and made books available to
Soon It Became Important to
Have a Good Way to
Organize Library Materials
Many ideas were tried…
●Some tried to arrange book by color;
●Some tried arranging books by size;
●Some arranged the books in the order
in which they were received;
●Some tried arranging the books by
●Some tried arranging the books by title.
None of these ideas worked
Then came Melvil Dewey.
●Melvil Dewey was a librarian who was
frustrated by the lack of standardization
or consistency in the way library
materials were arranged.
●He solved the problem of arrangement
by inventing the Dewey Decimal
System in 1876. We still use this
system more than 137 years later.
The Dewey Decimal System
●Dewey’s System uses 1000 numbers to
●Here are the 10 main categories:
History and Geography900-999
Arts and Recreation700-799
Applied Sciences and
Dewey Took the 10 Main
●And subdivided them into 10s
○000 General Knowledge
■ 010 Bibliography
■ 020 Library and information sciences
■ 030 General encyclopedia works
■ 050 General serial publications
■ 060 General organizations and museology
■ 070 News media, journalism, and publishing
■ 080 General collections
■ 090 Manuscripts and rare books
He subdivided each of the
main categories into sets of
10, and then he subdivided
each set of 10 into sets of 10.
●This meant he had a total of 1000
numbers that meant different things.
●Each number meant a different subject.
But because information
grows every day
●Dewey allowed the use of Decimals to
expand the system as needed.
●Therefore, there is room for subjects
that did not exist when Dewey made
●Examples: computers, airplanes, Kobe
Here are some decimal
●973.93 The administration of George W.
●599.75 Cat family (in nature)
●636.8 Domestic cats (our pets)
Here’s a lie
●Dewey numbers can only categorize
Here’s the truth
●Dewey numbers can be used to arrange
all materials, including fiction, BUT