Jeremy taught elementary school for 18 years in in the United States and in Switzerland. He has a Masters in Education from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He's taught grades 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8. His strength is in educational content writing and technology in the classroom
What is the Dewey Decimal System?
The Dewey Decimal System was created by Melvil Dewey in the 1800s. He was a library guy and was hired by a library in Massachusetts to run their library. However, he ran into a problem. While fiction books were easy to organize based on the author's last name, non-fiction books, books that are based on real facts, events or people, couldn't work the same way. Think about trying to look for a book about trees by author! It would be impossible, especially since many non-fiction authors and publishers write about multiple topics.
He came up with a system of organizing the non-fiction books by dividing them into categories and organizing the categories and books based on numbers between 000 - 999. Each book has at least a three-digit number and the numbers are then put on the spine of the book so that you can easily see them when looking at books on the shelves. He called it the Dewey Decimal System, obviously named after himself.
How is the Dewey Decimal System Organized
Dewey made 10 categories into which all non-fiction books could be placed. He then gave each category a name based on the information presented in the books. The category of the book is represented by the first digit. Each category is further broken down into divisions, which are represented by the second digit, and each division is further broken down into sections, the third number of the three-digit system. Let's look at an example.
Let's say you are looking for a book on lions. The book would be under the main category of Natural Science (nature). The natural sciences fall in the 500 category. So 500-599 are all in the natural sciences section. Lions are animals, which are in the 590 division, and more specifically, lions are mammals, which are in the 599 section. Many libraries are sorted even further down than that. So 500 is natural sciences, 599 is mammals and lions have a decimal point of 7. So the lion books would be under 599.7. This very specific number helps a ton if you are in a very big library where there are hundreds of mammal books to look through.
More to Know
When you go to your local library to look up a book, it will have a call number next to it. The call number is the Dewey Decimal number that points to where the book is located in the library. Below is the list of the 10 main categories and a description of each.
- 000 General Information - Books that cover multiple topics and subjects that don't fit anywhere else.
- 100 Philosophy and Psychology - The mind and things we don't understand like UFOs.
- 200 Religion - All about religions across the globe including mythology.
- 300 Social Sciences - Government, Money, Education, Community and Careers.
- 400 Languages - Books about world languages which includes books on English and grammar.
- 500 Natural Sciences - Anything involving nature and animals, space, chemistry and math.
- 600 Applied Science - Transportation, farming and pets, human body and medicine.
- 700 Arts and Recreation - Sports, art, cooking and how we express ourselves.
- 800 Literature - Poems, plays, Shakespeare and general literature.
- 900 History, Geography and Biography - People, places and time.
The Dewey Decimal System is a way to organize non-fiction books in a library by call numbers. The system was invented by Melvil Dewey in the 1800s to help library collections. It's divided into 10 categories based on the book's non-fiction content.
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