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Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) Class on “Classification Practice” by Sudipta Biswas DRTC Indian Statistical Institute Bangalore 20/08/2014

Dewey decimal classification

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I have made this presentation for my students of MS in Library and Information Science at DRTC, Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore

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Dewey Decimal Classification(DDC)

Class on “Classification Practice”

bySudipta Biswas

DRTCIndian Statistical Institute



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DDC (General Information)

• World’s most widely used library classification system• More then 135 countries use DDC• DDC numbers are featured in the national bibliographies of more then 60

countries• DDC has been translated into over 30 languages

– E.g. Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek• DDC is maintained in a national bibliographic agency, Library of Congress• DDC’s basic classes are organized by disciplines or fields of study• A subject may appear in more than one class

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DDC (Background)• Melville Dewey devised the system in 1873 while he was a student

at Amherst College in Massachusetts• First published in 1876. • as “A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging

the Books and Pamphlets of a Library”.• It appeared in the form of a small book of 44 pages. • The Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee (EPC) was

established in 1937. • In 1988, Online Computer Library Centre (OCLC) acquired the DDC. • The editorial headquarters was located at the Library of Congress in

the Decimal Classification Division. • DDC is published by Online Computer Library Centre, in full and

abridged editions. The abridged edition targets the general libraries having less than

20,000 titles.• Both the full and abridged editions are available in print as well as

in electronic version.

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Melvil Dewey

• Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey • Dewey was born in Adams Centre,

New York• Born in 10 December, 1851• His intense interest in simplified

spelling caused him to once change his name Melvil Dui

• Established the American Library Association in 1876

• Co-founded and edited Library Journal

• Died 26 December, 1931 at age 80

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The caveman’s Guide to the DDC

• DDC groups books by topic by dividing them into 10 basic categories, and each of those categorises is further split into 10 categories, and so on

• It has been explained that he devised the system by imagining himself as a prehistoric or primitive man or a caveman and asked himself question he believed such a man would ask

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000 (General)

Before I Begin

• Information I need to know before I begin

– These are books which contain information on many subjects

• Such as encyclopaedias and other reference books

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100(Philosophy)Who am I ?

• Man thinks about himself

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Who made me ?

• Man thinks about his Creator

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300(Social Science)

Who is the man/woman in the next cave ?

• Man thinks about other people

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How can I make that man/woman Understand me ?

• Man learns to communicate with others through words and sign

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How can I understand nature and the world around me ?

• Man learn to understand the nature of air, land, and sea

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600(Applied Science)

How can I use what I know about nature ?

• Primitive man learn about fire and how to make weapons; over time, he also learn about the wheel, medicine, planting crops, cooking food, building useful structures, and how to make things to ease our burdens

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700(Fine Arts and Recreation)

How can I enjoy my leisure time ?

• As time passes, man learns about painting pictures, creating music, as well as dancing to music, playing games, sports, and hunting

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How can I give my children a record of man’s heroic does ?

• Man become a storyteller; he creates sagas, fables, epics, poems, plays about relatives, friends and characters; he writes for others to read, learn and enjoy

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900(History, Geography and Biography)

How can I leave a record for people of the future ?

• Man writes about what happened, where it happened, and who made it happen

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Understanding the Structure of DDC

• DDC system uses simple decimal notation to divide recorded knowledge into 10 main classes at the broadest level– which together cover the entire world of knowledge

• Each main class is further divided into 10 divisions

• Each division into 10 sections – giving 100 divisions and 1000 sections

• All the numbers for the divisions and sections have not been used

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Tables• T1 Standard Subdivisions• T2 Geographic Areas, Historical Periods, Persons• T3 Subdivisions for the Arts, for Individual Literatures, for

Specific Literary Forms• T4 Subdivisions of Individual Languages and Language

Families• T5 Ethnic and National Groups• T6 Languages

(The notation from T1can be added to any numbers unless there is an instruction in the schedules or tables to the contrary. The other table notations may be added only when instructions are given in the schedules or tables)

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Introduction to 22nd Edition of DDC• DDC 22 is composed of the following major parts in four

volumes.– Volume 1: It includes special features of edition 22, introduction

regarding how to use the DDC, glossary, index to the introduction and glossary, a manual (guide to the use of the DDC), and six numbered tables. It also has the lists that compare editions 21 and 22 with the list of relocated, discontinued and reused numbers

– Volume 2: It includes DDC summaries (the top three levels of the DDC), and schedules (from 000-599). The summaries will help you to visualize at a glance the structure and scope of various subjects as laid down in DDC.

– Volume 3: It includes the organization of knowledge schedules from 600-999

– Volume 4: It includes a relative index. The relative index (it relates subjects to discipline) contains an alphabetical list of subjects with the disciplines in which they are treated as sub-arranged alphabetically under each entry

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Thank You