The DDC is published in print and electronic versions by OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. OCLC owns all copyrights in the Dewey Decimal Classification, and licenses the system for a variety of uses.

Dewey Decimal Classification

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Page 1: Dewey Decimal Classification

The DDC is published in print and electronic versions by OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.

OCLC owns all copyrights in the Dewey Decimal Classification, and licenses the system for a variety of uses.

Page 2: Dewey Decimal Classification

Introduction – “This is a football.”


Page 3: Dewey Decimal Classification

Tradition has it that the famous football coach Vince Lombardi began every new season with a lecture to all his players, rookies & veterans alike, on the basics of football.

He literally held up a football & said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” He described its size & shape, how it can be kicked, carried & passed. Then he walked them around the football field describing the dimensions, the shape, the rules & how the game is played.

You are probably experienced in using the library & familiar with the Dewey Decimal Classification system. Like Lombardi’s players, you probably know “how to play the game.”

But our purpose is to review the basics to assure success.


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Training Objectives

• DDC & OCLC Ownership.*• DDC - History & Extent of Use.• Classification: What It Is and What It

Does.• Development of the Dewey Decimal

Classification.• Framework and Structure.• Summaries.• Exercises.

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DDC - History & Extent of Use

The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system is the world’s most widely used library classification system. It was first published in 1876.

In the United States, 95 percent of all public & K – 12 school libraries, 25 percent of college & university libraries & 20 percent of special libraries use the DDC.

More than 200,000 libraries worldwide in 135 countries count on the DDC to keep their collections organized so that their users can easily locate the resources they need.

DDC has been translated into more than 35 languages.

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Classification: What It Is and What It Does

Classification provides a system for organizing knowledge. [information] And may be used to organize knowledge in . . . any form, e.g., books, documents, electronic resources.

“A classification scheme organizes subjects systematically and shows their relationships.”

Notation is the system of symbols used to represent the classes in a classification system.

“The basic principle of library classification is to group the items on the shelves according to their subject content, or sometimes [their] literary or bibliographic form.”

Page 7: Dewey Decimal Classification

4. Provide an order for the classified catalog.

Library Classification Systems

1. Bring related items together in a helpful sequence.

2. Provide orderly access to the shelves through direct search of the shelves (browsing) or through the catalog.

3. Enable easy reshelving of library materials.

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The DDC is a Hierarchical system dividing subjects from the most general to the most specific.

The Call Number is composed of two parts: the Dewey Decimal Classification number and the Cutter number.

Its Schedules are the divisions arranged in number order.The general categories (like poetry prose, drama) are the Classes used in the system.

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Give 3 reasons for classifying a library collection.


In what order are the DDC schedules arranged?

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000 Generalities100 Philosophy & Psychology200 Religion300 Social Sciences400 Language500 Natural Sciences & Mathematics600 Technology (Applied Sciences)700 The Arts800 Literature & Rhetoric900 Geography & History

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For further details of the Schedules, as well as details about Cutter Numbers, go to the Middle Tennessee State University’s training module, “Let’s Do Dewey.”

This is the URL



Simply Google Let’s Do Dewey.

Select the first entry: dewey.html & follow the link.

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Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN. http://www.mtsu.edu/~vvesper/dewey2.htm.

Mortimer, Mary. Introduction to Dewey Decimal Classification. (Edition 21.) Scarecrow Press, Inc. Canberra, Australia.

OCLC. Introduction to Dewey Decimal Classification. www.oclc.org/news/releases/20061.htm

Taylor, Paige & Kent & Sue Brinkmeyer. Dewey & the Decimals. Learning Games & Activities. Alleyside Press. Fort Atkinson, WI.