Dewey Classification


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A presentation introducing the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system

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Dewey Classification

  1. 1. Nature of bibliographic control systems (Dewey) IST 603 November 15, 2006 Denise A. Garofalo
  2. 2. Bibliographic control systems <ul><li>Allow for the organization of the bibliographic universe into some systematic order </li></ul><ul><li>In libraries, provide the systematic arrangement by subject of materials in a manner most useful for retrieval </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is classification? <ul><li>A bibliographic control system </li></ul><ul><li>A system of arranging a library’s collection on the shelves which provides formal and orderly access to the materials shelved </li></ul><ul><li>A means of bringing together related items in a useful sequence from general to specific </li></ul><ul><li>A way to lead the user to the needed items </li></ul>
  4. 4. Shelf types--open stacks <ul><li>Open stacks : allows for a direct search of the shelves by a user </li></ul><ul><ul><li>encourage browsing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>stimulate awareness of collection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>require comprehensible classification system </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Shelf types--closed stacks <ul><li>Closed stacks : a library staff member retrieves requested items from the shelves </li></ul><ul><ul><li>only staff are permitted in the stacks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lessen chance that items will be mishandled, misplaced or taken </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>require patron to limit searching to the catalog and wait for staff to retrieve items </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Catalog <ul><li>Primary source of reference to the collection by users </li></ul><ul><li>Must be complete and current in order to be useful </li></ul><ul><li>Provides information about items through access points </li></ul>
  7. 7. Call number <ul><li>The call number contains the information about where the item is shelved </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May have a location or collection prefix--j or REF or VIDEO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Next element is the classification number--736 or 917.3 or PZ4 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Next is the Cutter number, an alpha-numeric related to the main entry or author--H74 or Q14 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May include a copy or accession number as the final element </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. Classification--background <ul><li>Collections have always had some sort of arrangement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>groupings by title or broad subject or date or size, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>arrangements generally involved a fixed shelf location for materials </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Substantive developments in library collection arrangement occurred in the 19th century </li></ul>
  9. 10. Classification--background <ul><li>Thomas Jefferson is one of the best known early American classifiers—he adapted elements from Francis Bacon’s outline of knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Using this outline materials are classified under functions of three basic faculties--history under memory, philosophy under reason, and poetry under imagination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the outline enjoyed widespread influence </li></ul></ul>
  10. 11. Classification--background <ul><li>The Catalogue of Benjamin Franklin’s Library Company of Philadelphia also was based on Bacon’s outline </li></ul><ul><li>The 1812 Catalogue of the Library of Congress was a variant of Franklin’s Philadelphia scheme </li></ul><ul><li>In 1815 Jefferson’s Catalogue of the Library of the United States was installed at LC (based on Bacon’s outline) </li></ul>
  11. 12. Classification--background <ul><li>William Torrey Harris inverted the Baconian system and created an independent American classification </li></ul><ul><li>1876 saw the birth of the Dewey Decimal Classification </li></ul><ul><ul><li>based on W.T. Harris’s system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>is a hierarchical system , subdivision and collocation must show the “natural” organization of the subject </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the DDC spread across America and around the world </li></ul></ul>
  12. 13. Classification--background <ul><li>Charles A. Cutter began working at the Boston Athenaeum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sought a practical method of arranging library materials, not a classification of knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>his Expansive Classification does indicate other influences and contains subordinate classes </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. Classification--background <ul><li>By the early 1900s LC’s collection had grown to almost 1 million items </li></ul><ul><li>The DDC was not robust enough for LC </li></ul><ul><li>J.C.M. Hanson and Charles Martel designed an independent system governed by the actual content of the collection--the LC classification system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not a philosophic approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>is an enumerative classification because it seeks to assign designations (to enumerate) all the subject concepts required in the system </li></ul></ul>
  14. 15. Classification--background <ul><li>Another type of classification is synthetic, where lists of designations are confined to single, unsubdivided concepts and providing generalized rules from which to construct headings for composite subjects </li></ul>
  15. 16. Classification schemes <ul><li>Most traditional schemes are enumerative </li></ul><ul><li>Recent schemes are synthetic </li></ul><ul><li>Note that materials on shelves or in files are arranged in a single order </li></ul><ul><ul><li>may have multiple access points (subject, author, title, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can only by organized by one of these at a time </li></ul></ul>
  16. 17. Questions?
  17. 18. Classification schemes--overview <ul><li>A general works class accommodates items so broad in scope that no one class can be chosen--encyclopedias, dictionaries </li></ul><ul><li>Form classes organize materials according to how information is presented rather than content--poetry, plays, fiction, scores </li></ul><ul><li>Form divisions group items according to form--philosophical treatments, biographies </li></ul><ul><li>Includes an index for an alpha approach to the classified part of the scheme </li></ul>
  18. 19. Faceted classification <ul><li>Uses clearly defined, mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive aspects of a class or subject </li></ul><ul><ul><li>S.R. Ranganathan’s Colon Classification (1930s) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PMEST formula--five basic facets: p ersonality, m aterial, e nergy, s pace and t ime (Wynar, p. 285) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>serves not just for shelving but for arranging items for bibliographies and access service dbs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>discernible in verbal subjects ( List of Subdivisions in Sears is a list of generally applicable facets) </li></ul></ul>
  19. 20. Classification criteria <ul><li>Inclusive as well as comprehensive (encompass the whole field of knowledge) </li></ul><ul><li>Systematic (bring together related topics in logical fashion) </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible and expansible (new subjects can be inserted with dislocating the general sequence) </li></ul><ul><li>Employ clear and descriptive terminology </li></ul>
  20. 21. Classification--broad, close <ul><li>Close classification : classing each work as specifically as possible, using all available subdivisions (LC classification) </li></ul><ul><li>Broad classification : groups works under the main divisions and subdivisions, without using breakdowns into narrower concepts (most useful in smaller collections; DDC) </li></ul>
  21. 22. General principles
  22. 23. Choosing the best location <ul><li>Please note : Classification schemes vary in their flexibility regarding local manipulation </li></ul><ul><li>Try to be consistent to avoid confusion </li></ul>
  23. 24. General precepts <ul><li>Class first according to subject, then by form (except in generals, where form may be paramount) </li></ul><ul><li>Class where it will be most useful </li></ul><ul><li>Place it in the most specific subject division that will contain it, rather than with the general topic </li></ul><ul><li>If it deals with 2 or 3 subjects, place it with the predominant subject or the one treated first. More than 3 subjects--place it in the general class which combines all of the subjects </li></ul>
  24. 25. Refining precepts <ul><li>A work discussing the Spanish influence on Portuguese literature should be classed with Portuguese literature--class works dealing with two subjects where one influences another are placed in the subject acted upon or influenced </li></ul><ul><li>Monographic sets--class either all together under a broad number or class separately under each individual volume’s subject </li></ul>
  25. 26. No classification is perfect <ul><li>Each classification scheme is limited </li></ul><ul><li>A scheme can be logical within itself but have inconsistencies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>language is separate from literature and history from social sciences in DDC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>language is classed with literature and history close to social sciences in LCC </li></ul></ul><ul><li>DDC and LCC are linear and uni-dimensional </li></ul>
  26. 27. More limitations <ul><li>Reorganization and relocation cause problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>new numbers for new concepts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>moving concepts to more logical locations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Notations become more complex when keeping a scheme up-to-date </li></ul><ul><li>Purchased cataloging is only as good as the vendor’s catalogers </li></ul>
  27. 28. Questions?
  28. 29. Break time
  29. 30. Dewey Decimal Classification <ul><li>The oldest and most widely used in America </li></ul><ul><li>Born Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey, he shortened his name to Melvil Dewey (he wanted it to be Dui) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>founded ALA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>founded the first American library school (Columbia University) </li></ul></ul>
  30. 31. Dewey Decimal Classification <ul><li>Dewey never claimed to have originated decimals </li></ul><ul><li>His relative index was his claim to originality in his classification </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a key to the diverse material included in his tables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>however his most significant contribution IS decimals, in the hierarchical divisions </li></ul></ul>
  31. 32. Dewey Decimal Classification <ul><li>First DDC came out anonymously in 1876 and was titled A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library </li></ul><ul><li>The second, revised and greatly enlarged, edition came out in 1885 under Dewey’s name </li></ul><ul><li>UDC ( U niversal D ecimal C lassification) is based on the DDC </li></ul>
  32. 33. DDC--basic concepts <ul><li>Arranges all knowledge (library materials) into 10 broad subject classes numbered from 000-900 </li></ul><ul><li>Numbers can be expanded to cover aspects of general subjects </li></ul><ul><li>The more specific the item being classified the longer the number grows </li></ul><ul><li>Long numbers may be accurate but are impractical and unwieldy </li></ul>
  33. 34. DDC--basic concepts <ul><li>A compact scheme--4 volumes total (22 nd ) </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporates mnemonic devices transferred from one class to another (-03 at the end of a class number of any length indicates a dictionary of the subject at hand) </li></ul><ul><li>Allows for a great detail of specification </li></ul><ul><li>Arranges subjects from the general to the specific </li></ul>
  34. 35. DDC--basic premise <ul><li>Under Dewey there is no one class for any given subject </li></ul><ul><li>Primary arrangement is by discipline </li></ul><ul><li>Any specific topic may appear in any number of disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>Aspects of a topic are brought together in the relative index </li></ul>
  35. 36. DDC--schedule format <ul><li>Summaries </li></ul><ul><ul><li>DDC provides three summaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>10 main DDC classes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Divisions of a typical DDC class </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sections of a typical DDC division </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Typical DDC hierarchical sequences or multilevel summaries can be found in eight places in the schedules </li></ul></ul>
  36. 37. DDC--basic concepts <ul><li>Notes are a helpful source of information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>notes that tell what is found at a class # </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>notes that tell what is found at other class #s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>notes that ID topics in “standing room” (topics that don’t have enough works about them to justify a separate number--computers were like this for awhile, 001.6 then 004-006) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>notes that explain changes in schedules and tables </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>notes that instruct in number building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>notes that prescribe precedence order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>notes that explain options </li></ul></ul>
  37. 38. DDC--basic concepts <ul><li>Number building </li></ul><ul><ul><li>way to expand existing numbers in the schedules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in tables these numbers are preceded by a “-” to indicate they cannot stand alone (omit the dash when attaching to a number) </li></ul></ul>
  38. 39. Standard subdivisions <ul><li>Originally “Form divisions” </li></ul><ul><li>Some treat format </li></ul><ul><li>Others represent modes of treatment which cover theoretical or historical aspects of the subject (such as philosophy and theory, history, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Unless specific instructions indicate otherwise, these can be used with any number if application is meaningful </li></ul><ul><li>More info available </li></ul>
  39. 40. Geographic areas <ul><li>When a given heading can be subdivided geographically and the library has many books dealing on the subject use Table 2 (area table) </li></ul><ul><li>The number can be expanded by region or site </li></ul><ul><li>The bulkiest table </li></ul>
  40. 41. Individual literatures <ul><li>Table 3 is actually three tables </li></ul><ul><li>They are never used alone but under the instructions given at 808-809 and 810-890 </li></ul>
  41. 42. Individual languages <ul><li>Table 4 is used with base numbers for individual languages </li></ul><ul><li>See 420-490 for explanation </li></ul><ul><li>Does provide mnemonic form divisions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-1 for writing systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-2 for etymology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-3 for dictionaries </li></ul></ul>
  42. 43. Racial, ethnic groups <ul><li>Table 5 is used according to specific instructions in the schedules or other tables </li></ul><ul><li>May also be used through -89 interposition </li></ul><ul><li>Use is parallel to that of Table 2 </li></ul>
  43. 44. Languages <ul><li>Table 6 is a basic mnemonic table to indicate the particular language of the work or the language which is the subject </li></ul>
  44. 45. Groups of persons <ul><li>Table 7 is used as instructed in the schedules or in other tables </li></ul><ul><li>Deals with various characteristics or persons (social groups) </li></ul>
  45. 46. Adding from other parts <ul><li>There are many places in the DDC schedules where the classifier is directed to find a number elsewhere in the schedule and add it whole to the number at hand </li></ul><ul><li>Check DDC itself for examples </li></ul>
  46. 47. Relative index <ul><li>Claimed to show relationships of each specific topic to one or more disciplines and to other topics </li></ul><ul><li>Contains terms found in the schedules and tables and synonyms for those terms </li></ul><ul><li>Also has names of states, provinces, cities, geographic features, some personal names </li></ul><ul><li>Does not contain phrases that begin with adjectival phrases (Portuguese plays) </li></ul>
  47. 48. Relative index <ul><li>Enumerates alphabetically all the main headings in the class schedules </li></ul><ul><li>Also contains certain specific entries not actually listed in the schedules </li></ul><ul><li>Index terminology varies from that found in the schedules (Perspiration) </li></ul><ul><li>Should never become a substitute for the schedules </li></ul>
  48. 49. Other DDC info <ul><li>DDC segments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>636.6/01 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>small libraries may just use 636.6 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>larger libraries would use 636.601 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Updating--new edition every 8 years or so </li></ul><ul><li>Abridged editions are available for the very small libraries (can “grow” into full DDC) (14 th ) </li></ul>
  49. 50. Questions?
  50. 51. Assignment <ul><li>Do DDC classification assignment </li></ul><ul><li>Read Wynar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brown cover—Chapters 14, 16,17 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blue cover—Chapters 9, 11, 12 </li></ul></ul>