A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Libra

Melvil Dewey
A Classification and Subject
Index for Cataloguing and
Arranging the Books and
Pamphlets of a Library

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Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library
[Dewey Decimal Classification], by Melvil Dewey This eBook is for
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Title: A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and
Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library [Dewey Decimal
Author: Melvil Dewey
Release Date: June 4, 2004 [EBook #12513]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Suzanne Shell, Lesley Halamek and PG Distributed


CENTENNIAL 1876-1976
Facsimile reprinted
Forest Press Division Lake Placid Educational Foundation
* * *
Printed and Bound Kingsport Press, Inc. KINGSPORT, TENNESSEE

* * * * *


The plan of the following Classification and Index was developed early
in 1873. It was the result of several months' study of library economy
as found in some hundreds of books and pamphlets, and in over fifty
personal visits to various American libraries. In this study, the author
became convinced that the usefulness of these libraries might be greatly
increased without additional expenditure. Three years practical use of
the system here explained, leads him to believe that it will accomplish
this result; for with its aid, the catalogues, shelf lists, indexes, and

cross-references essential to this increased usefulness, can be made
more economically than by any other method which he has been able to
find. The system was devised for cataloguing and indexing purposes,
but it was found on trial to be equally valuable for numbering and
arranging books and pamphlets on the shelves.
The library is first divided into nine special libraries which are called
Classes. These Classes are Philosophy, Theology, &c., and are
numbered with the nine digits. Thus Class 9 is the Library of History;
Class 7, the Library of Fine Art; Class 2, the Library of Theology.
These special libraries or Classes are then considered independently,
and each one is separated again into nine special Divisions of the main
subject. These Divisions are numbered from 1 to 9 as were the Classes.
Thus 59 is the 9th Division (Zoology) of the 5th Class (Natural
Science). A final division is then made by separating each of these
Divisions into nine Sections which are numbered in the same way, with
the nine digits. Thus 513 is the 3d Section (Geometry) of the 1st
Division (Mathematics) of the 5th Class (Natural Science). This
number, giving Class, Division, and Section, is called the Classification
or Class Number, and is applied to every book or pamphlet belonging
to the library. All the Geometries are thus numbered 513, all the
Mineralogies 549, and so throughout the library, all the books on any
given subject bear the number of that subject in the scheme. Where a 0
occurs in a class number, it has its normal zero power. Thus, a book
numbered 510, is Class 5, Division 1, but no Section. This signifies that
the book treats of the Division 51 (Mathematics) in general, and is not
limited to any one Section, as is the Geometry, marked 513. If marked
500, it would indicate a treatise on Science in general, limited to no
Division. A zero occurring in the first place would in the same way
show that the book is limited to no Class. The classification is mainly
made by subjects or content regardless of _form_; but it is found
practically useful to make an additional distinction in these general
treatises, according to the form of treatment adopted. Thus, in Science
we have a large number of books treating of Science in general, and so
having a 0 for the Division number. These books are then divided into
Sections, as are those of the other Classes according to the form they
have taken on. We have the Philosophy and History of Science,
Scientific Compends, Dictionaries, Essays, Periodicals, Societies,

Education, and Travels,--all having the common subject, =NATURAL
SCIENCE=, but treating it in these varied forms. These form
distinctions are introduced here because the number of general works is
large, and the numerals allow of this division, without extra labor for
the numbers from 501 to 509 would otherwise be unused. They apply
only to the general treatises, which, without them, would have a class
number ending with two zeros. A Dictionary
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