Dewey Classification


CC Image courtesy of Crumpart on Flickr

Our renewal for Web Dewey has come through recently and I’ve been looking at the cost in comparison with the cost of buying the books.  While investigating the differences, I came across this article, which I found particularly interesting.

I studied for an MA in Librarianship part time starting in 2008.  In the first year of studying, the module on Classification and Cataloguing was optional and due to staff illness, was not run throughout the term but was offered as a week long course over the summer.  At the time I had four part time library posts that I was juggling and I couldn’t manage to get time off all the jobs to attend (aside from the financial implications this would have had).  In the second year the option was not offered at all, as far as I am aware.  Now, I felt a bit hard done by, if I’m honest.  I thought that the one thing that would be covered on the MA course which would transform me from an enthusiastic library assistant to a competant librarian was cataloguing and classification.

My first full time post was in an FE college where all stock was catalogued internally and the college was in the process of moving from UDC to DDC, so I was definitely in at the deep end when I started and had to pick up tips from colleagues and basically teach myself.  Despite all the experience I have gained in working with DDC, there are still times when I feel that I lack knowledge.

I often feel that the way things are organised using Dewey can appear a bit of a mystery to the un-initiated.

My first thought when grappling with a puzzle over where to place a book, is to put myself in the shoes of a student and ask myself where I think they would look for the books.  Despite our best efforts in trying to help studetns navigate the collection, so often I find that students head to the shelves in the hope that the perfect book for their assignment will jump off the shelf into their hands.  It’s a happy day when they’ve actually checked the library catalogue for a class number to narrow down their search.

I also came across The Dewey Blog which I will be dipping into as a resource.


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