Essay on History of the Dewey Decimal Classification System

Essay on History of the Dewey Decimal Classification System

Length: 1347 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

A History of the Dewey Decimal System

The history of the Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC) hearkens back to the very beginning of the modern library movement in the nineteenth century. The classification scheme’s progenitor was a man named Melvil Dewey who was born to a poor family in upstate New York in 1851. 1 His full name was Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey, but he was a man who supported language/spelling reform and had his named shortened to just Melvil Dewey. He even tried to have his family name further shortened to Dui. 2 In this he failed, but this is only one failure amongst his many successes. Dewey had a profound effect on the library movement in America. He originated the DDC in 1873 and had it published and patented in 1876. There has been some speculation that Dewey synthesized ideas from a number of sources and coordinated them into a unified system. There is some evidence to suggest that Dewey may have been introduced to the idea of a decimal classification by a pamphlet written by Nathaniel Shurtlaff in 1856. 3 The DDC may also have been partly adapted from a scheme that William Lorrey Harris had formed from a structure expressed by Sir Francis Bacon, and refined by the German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel. 4 Regardless of where the scheme emerged from, however, Dewey was the first person to properly expand on and define his ideas concerning a classification that placed books into a relative order based on disciplines rather than an alphabetical order, or one that simply identifies a shelf space for a specific book. The DDC was the first timely modern system that introduced features like relative locations and a relative index. This allowed books to be placed in stacks based on their relationships to one a...


... middle of paper ...


...n: A Study Manual and Number Building Guide, (Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 1998), 10.

10. Mona L. Scott, Dewey Decimal Classification, 21st Edition: A Study Manual and Number Building Guide, (Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 1998), 29-32.

11. Russell Sweeney, “The International Use of the Dewey Decimal Classification,” International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control v. 24 (October/December 1995): 61.

12. Forest Press, “About Dewey and OCLC Forest Press,” 2003, (24 March 2003).

13. Forest Press, “Introduction to the Dewey Decimal Classification,” 2003, (24 March 2003).

14. Forest Press, “Introduction to the Dewey Decimal Classification,” 2003, (24 March 2003).

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on The Dewey Decimal Classification System

- Classification has a system within it that organises knowledge. There is a system of symbols known as notation and this represents the classes in a classification system. The notation is expressed in Arabic numerals in the case of the Dewey Decimal System. It does not matter what words are used to describe subjects the notation will give a unique meaning of the class and say its association to other classes. The notation has the ability to identify the class within which the subject belongs and related classes....   [tags: Dewey Decimal System]

Free Essays
518 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on The Dewey Decimal Classification: Western and Non-Western Cultures

- Introduction DDC: From West to East This paper is examining how the Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC) has been adapted and translated in both Western and non-Western Nations and the problems that have arisen during this process. In this paper we will first examine what the DDC is which includes looking into its history specifically into how Mr. Custer helped the DDC become an international classification system. Next we will focus on the problems that arise during the process of adapting and translating the DDC from one culture to another....   [tags: libraries, information, organization, classes]

Better Essays
1557 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on History of the Universal Decimal Classification System

- By definition, the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) is an indexing and retrieval language in the form of a classification for the whole of recorded knowledge, in which subjects are symbolized by a code based on Arabic numerals.[1] The UDC was the brain-child of the two Belgians, Paul Otlet and Henry LaFontaine, who began working on their system in 1889, 15 years after Melvil Dewey established the DDC.[2] Otlet and LaFontaine built their system on the foundation of the DDC with Melvil Dewey’s express permission....   [tags: library librarian UDC organization]

Better Essays
1638 words (4.7 pages)

Essay about Historical Periods of Canadian History

- Organizing a topic as diverse as Canadian history into periods is challenging. Canadian history spans hundreds of years, covers events from varying points of views, and contains dimensions of culture, theme, and politics. To understand how to organize history logically into periods, it is helpful to refer to Canadian history sources. Two history texts by Bumstead and Silver will be considered. The manner in which they organize Canadian history into logical and comprehensive periods will be taken into account....   [tags: Canadian History ]

Better Essays
1753 words (5 pages)

Pawing at the Dewey Decimal System Essay

- Pawing at the “Dewey” Decimal System Dewey the library cat is probably one of the most noteworthy cats that has ever been heard of. Dewey is an orange little tabby cat that the writer (Vicki Myron) found in the rain on her way to work, and brought Dewey with her to the library. From that instant Dewey the library cat grew up in a library lying on every book that he has seen. His name came from the Dewey Decimal System. He has unintentionally inspired thousands of people by being himself. He has Myron and the rest of the library staff play with him, feed him, and take care of him....   [tags: library book classification method]

Better Essays
1208 words (3.5 pages)

Historical Periods of Canadian History Essay

- Logically organizing a topic as diverse and wide-ranging as Canadian history into specific periods is complex and challenging. Canadian history spans hundreds of years, covers numerous events from varying points of views, and contains dimensions of culture, theme, and politics. To grasp the logical and appropriate organization of history into periods, it is helpful to refer to appropriate text sources. Two Canadian History texts, intended for use by undergraduates, by Bumstead and Silver will be considered....   [tags: canada]

Better Essays
1094 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on Technology and the end of Libraries

- As digital natives grow older and technology improves it makes one wonder what the fate of libraries will be. Long gone are the days of the card catalog, with computers taking their place. There is no more browsing the stacks for books on what ever subject has peaked interest, because the Dewey decimal system is no longer taught. Gone are the days of shelves of books as far as you can see, taken away to make room for endless banks of computers, movies and cd's. The click of keys and chatter from private rooms used for multiple purposes is steadily replacing the muffled flipping of pages as technology advances....   [tags: Technology, Libraries, Dewey Decimal System]

Better Essays
1811 words (5.2 pages)

John Dewey And Mr. Howard Zinn Essay

- ... The trouble is, our society does not know how to engage in such a revolution, especially when the majority of the population unconsciously believes nothing to be wrong with the operation of our society. In my opinion, the most feasible solution to correct our unbalanced society is to find a way to follow Dewey’s philosophy. Life cannot be all work and no play and vice versa. I find Zinn’s idea of a revolution to be farfetched. After reading the essays written by two influential men of their time, I realized just that, they were influential men of their time....   [tags: Sociology, Mind, Unconscious mind, John Dewey]

Better Essays
1599 words (4.6 pages)

Interview At The Cole And Ustick Library Essay

- ... This was true. I helped out with shelving books and movies at the Cole and Ustick Library while in my senior year of high school. I also mentioned that I spent many hours in other libraries just for fun and had picked up skills, like the Dewey Decimal System. Though I do think I did things well, I also had moments where I didn’t answer a question the way I felt I should because of my lack of experience. It took me extra time to answer some questions because I did not want to put myself in a negative light....   [tags: Question, Answer, Dewey Decimal Classification]

Better Essays
1016 words (2.9 pages)

John Dewey : A Model For Successfully Learning Essay

- ... One of the main arguments of Dewey is that most of the currently industrial society children are not taught about the fundamental principles on which the society was made. As such, they do not have a clue on how to create an ideal society when they grow up (Amner, 1948). Dewey’s other observation was that the traditional education system was subject centred and not children centred. As such the traditional education is only aimed at helping them children pass examination instead of turning the children into critical thinkers who can articulate issues and drive social progress and development in the society....   [tags: Sociology, Education, Teacher, John Dewey]

Better Essays
1030 words (2.9 pages)