What Does Dewey Do?
In a nutshell, the Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC) is a method of arranging non-fiction materials by subject. The system groups all subjects into ten main classes. Each class has ten divisions and each division may be broken down further by adding a decimal point and then more numbers. This allows very specific subjects to be shelved together. For example:
973 American History
973.7 Civil War
973.73 Civil War Battles
What About Fiction
Fiction titles are arranged in alphabetical order by the author's last name.
People often ask if libraries still use Dewey Decimal. The answer is, "yes!". While the card catalog, the set of drawers holding small book cards labeled with author, title, and subject headings, is nearly obsolete, the Dewey Decimal classification system is still used by most school and public libraries. It is simply a system for organizing all knowledge into categories according to subject matter.
Dewey Decimal is based on series of ten: ten categories to represent all recorded knowledge, and ten categories within each of the original ten to provide more specific classification.
An overview of the Dewey Decimal system:
000 - Generalities
100 - Philosophy and Psychology
200 - Religion
300 - Social Sciences
400 - Language
500 - Natural Sciences and Mathematics
600 - Technology (Including Applied Sciences)
700 - The Arts (Including Sports)
800 - Literature and Rhetoric
900 - Geography and History (Including Biography)