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Re: Subject: Dewey Classification System on-line

>Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 22:12:22 -0400
>From: James Trent <trent@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>Subject: Dewey Classification System on-line
>To the Libarians on the list:
>    Is there a web site where a copy of the subject classification
>system resides on-line?
>    I don't want a library search system, but a listing of Dewey No's
>and their classification description that goes down to the third digit
>beyond the decimal point.
>Thanks, Jim Trent

A handy description of the Dewey Decimal Classification System can be
found at the Online Computer Library's website
(http://www.oclc.org/oclc/fp/about/ddc21sm1.htm), and another is
maintained by an individual at (http://ivory.lm.com/~mundie/DDHC/DDH.html),
but these only describe the first three levels in detail.  My
understanding of the system (which may very well be incorrect, since my
practical study of cataloguing is limited to the required entry-level
cataloguing course in library school) is that many of the numbers you see
on catalogued items, which include digits after the decimal point, are
often built especially for the item they describe.

For example, a practical work describing methods of bookbinding in
Germany in the 16th century would have a number that indicacted all these
things: part of the number would indicate the work was about bookbinding,
and was a practical text rather than a theoretical one; part would
indicate that it described the craft as practiced in Germany; and part
would indicate that it described bookbinding during a particular
historical period.  I don't know how this particular combination of
subject areas would be represented in a Dewey number, but undoubtedly the
first part of the number would indicate one or two things, and the part
after the decimal the rest.

If you look at the Dewey Schedules (the manual for cataloguing with
Dewey - you can probably look at them at a large public or university
library, ask the reference librarian), you will see that a large section
of them is taken up by a series of tables which indicate how to manipulate
existing numbers to indicate particular things.

I hope this helps a little!  If any of you other librarians are better
equipped to explain this, please do, and if I've made any errors please do
correct them.  I feel a bit on shaky ground in this subject.

Emily-Jane Dawson

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