How To Use The Dewey Decimal System

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Learn how to find information with the numbering system the library uses to organize nonfiction materials.

Each number stands for a special topic. Every nonfiction book is given a number and is put on the shelf in number order. Books with the same number are then put on the shelf in numerical order. 

When you search for a nonfiction book in the catalog, you should write down the entire call number. The call number of the book contains three digits or more and the first three letters of the author’s last name. Search for the book in designated section. For example:

You’re looking for a book with a call number of 319.12.

Find the section that 319 would fall under, ignoring the decimal for now. For example, “000-512” would be the correct section, because 319 is in between 000 and 512. 

Search within the books containing 319. These are arranged by the value of the decimal, so 319.21 is between 319.20 and 319.22. Then look at the first three letters of the author’s last name to ensure you’ve found the correct book.

How To Use The DDC

For browsing, here the 10 general categories that books are sorted into. The Imagination Portal also has labeled each shelf with the general subject (e.g. Emotions, Dinosaurs, Birds, etc.) for even easier browsing.

000

GENERAL KNOWLEDGE

100

PHILOSOPHY & PSYCHOLOGY

200

RELIGION & MYTHOLOGY

300

SOCIAL SCIENCES & FOLKLORE

400

LANGUAGES & GRAMMAR

500

MATH & SCIENCE

600

MEDICINE & TECHNOLOGY

700

ARTS & RECREATION

800

LITERATURE

900

GEOGRAPHY & HISTORY

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