ASE Detectives Investigate The Dewey Decimal System


This interactive lesson on the Dewey Decimal System directs students  through the internet while teaching the Dewey Decimal System, and incorporates the use of the internet.

The history of the Dewey Decimal System is discussed and the very basics of how books are cataloged.

Let's begin the investigation by first exploring the Dewey Decimal System.

Exploring the Dewey Decimal System



What is The Dewey Decimal System ?Who Invented The Dewey Decimal System?How Does The Dewey Decimal System work ?

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                                        Let's  Begin Our WebQuest.                              

What is the Dewey Decimal System?


 The Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC) is a system that classifies or categorizes nonfiction books into ten main divisions.These classes are further divided into ten subdivisions and the use of decimals allows for additional categories. A book is assigned a Dewey number based on its subject matter. In most libraries the Dewey number and the first three letters of the author's last name become the book's call number. Nonfiction books are arranged numerically on the shelves according to DDC, ranging from 001 to 999.

The Dewey Decimal Classification System is the most widely used classification system in the world. Libraries in more than 135 countries use the DDC to organize and provide access to their collections. The DDC has been translated into over thirty languages. Libraries of every type apply Dewey numbers. Some Internet search engines use Dewey as a browsing mechanism.


Who invented the Dewey Decimal System?


Melvil Dewey


 American librarian Melvil Dewey (1851-1931) invented his famous decimal classification system for books in 1876; it became the standard in libraries around the world. If it weren't for Melvil Dewey, finding the books you want in the library might be as frustrating as looking for a needle in a haystack.

Dewey invented a system of grouping books of similar subjects together, classified by numbers. His invention,called the Dewey Decimal System, brought much-needed order to libraries.

Melvil Dewey, the youngest of five children, was born on December 10, 1851, in a small town in northern New York. As a child, he loved to organize and sort things and also had a talent for mathematics.

He attended Amherst College where he worked in the library to help pay for his education. Dewey was dismayed at the way books were arranged. Arrangements varied from library to library but in all cases, users had to look in many places to find books on the same subject. Melvil worked towards improving library classification systems. Combining his talent for math and his orderliness, he invented the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) System when he was twenty-one, working as a student assistant in the Amherst College Library. Upon graduation, he became a librarian at the college.

Before Dewey developed his classification system there was no uniform system used in libraries This irked Dewey, who liked order and simplicity. He developed a way to classify books that would work for all libraries. His work created a revolution in library science and set in motion a new era of librarianship. Melvil Dewey well deserves to be considered the father of modern librarianship.


How does the Dewey Decimal System work?


 000 Generalities
 100 Philosophy and Psychology
 200 Religion
 300 Social Science
 400 Language
 500 Natural Science and Mathematics
 600 Technology (Applied Sciences)
 700 Arts
 800 Literature
 900 Geography and History


                       Click here to see more details about the Dewey numbers.



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