Talk:Dewey Decimal Classification

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WikiProject Libraries (Rated GA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Libraries, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Libraries on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Books (Rated GA-class)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Books. To participate in the project, please visit its page, where you can join the project and discuss matters related to book articles. To use this banner, please refer to the documentation. To improve this article, please refer to the relevant guideline for the type of work.
 GA  This article has been rated as GA-Class on the project's quality scale.

Comparison with Library of Congress Classification[edit]

I think there is a typo in this part of the article. plz check. a word wit mn....? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:17, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Isaac Asimov[edit]

The Isaac Asimov comment seems unlikely. Someone should try to disprove it. Superm401 02:01, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It's not true. He doesn't have any books in the Philosophy section. This is documented all over the place, including as an early sentence in Wikipedia's own entry on Asimov. I'm going to remove it. --Plumpy 08:09, Feb 25, 2005 (UTC)

No, but he does have a video... -- see this post from 025.431: The Dewey Blog. --zenohockey 03:09, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Debatable Ease of use[edit]

"Thanks to the use of pure notation, a mnemonics system and a hierarchical decimal place system, it is generally easier to use for most users."

Seems like like more of a personal sentiment than a fact. Speaking as someone who works in a library with about 5 million books, some sorted in Dewey, and some in Library of Congress, the Congress ones usually have far less confusing call numbers after you try getting the Dewey system to try and deal with that number of books. (Unsigned by

Agreed. The article can discuss the relative success of these "goals" or "advantages", but it's too much of a leap to declare one better in all aspects. GUllman 18:11, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

I agree. I've used both extensively, and LC is much easier to use in large libraries (such as at universities) in which Dewey needs unwieldy long numerical strings. In fact, at least LC has a 2-letter designation for each sub-area, and while it is a stretch to call this a mnemonic device, Dewey clearly has none at all, so this part of the statement is simply false. Unless someone can cite a scientific human factors study, this sentence is opinion and needs to get removed. Jpgs (talk) 01:04, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

So almost 5 years later this sentence still stands?? I guess no one pays much attention to the old Dewey Decimal classification? I'm not a librarian, but this entire article seems to be a pretty amateur piece of writing, even for Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:56, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

I just added a few headers to break up the article in sections, since the text was already a bit long. This highlited some interesting facts which were buried in the final paragraphs. I also moved the description of the ten classes towards the beginning of the text, due to it's importance in illustrating how the DDC works. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ramalho (talkcontribs) 16:28, 11 April 2005 (UTC)

Another edit[edit]

I added the ACM computer science classification link at the end. I think it might be relevant, since it's mentioned that the dewey system had lacked coverage on recent technology. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:28, 30 April 2007 (UTC).


Does anyone know if there's a website where you can put in a book's ISBN number and it will tell you the Dewey call number for that book? Because I could really go for one of those. Thanks. -Branddobbe, May 16, 2005

Just a nitpicky point--for some reason, your "ISBN number" is set to link to the article on Redundancy (language), rather than the one on International Standard Book Number. Maybe that's because ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, ISBN number means International Standard Book Number number. 15:12, 22 February 2007 (UTC)Stephen Kosciesza
I have asked my librarian and she tells me:
"all libraries tend to be a little bit different in their assignment of Dewey and some don't use the Dewey System at all. However, you can usually get a general Dewey number that will allow you to at least browse around at that number eg 624.1513 for soil mechanics. However, the exact number will depend on the person cataloguing and the nature of the collection - it is a bit flexible."
So it looks like such a website would not work.--Commander Keane 06:20, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Your local library's online catalog should be able to do this for you. For example, try — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 16:09, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

The Library of Congress catalog's website ( is probably the closest you can get; if it doesn't work for a particular ISBN, try the ISBN for an earlier (or hardcover) edition. For example, search 0141439475 under "LCCN-ISBN-ISSN," then, on the resulting page, click "Full Record" and look for "Dewey Class No." --zenohockey 03:06, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
(2012) OCLC Classify

All of these replies were true at the time, but last year, OCLC came out with OCLC Classify, an experimental site that will do just that. It can also give you an LCC number and LCSH terms. It draws data from WorldCat, so this means it will only work with books owned by WorldCat libraries (although that's 72,000 according to us), and if everyone on WorldCat is giving a book a bad classification number, that's what you'll get back too. --BDD (talk) 00:11, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Searching one title and author surname (horses in battle, ambrus)[1], I find that it does report all three: DDC, LCC, and LCSH. That is, for DDC and LCC it reports "most frequent" classifications 357.18 and UE15. For this book both most frequent classifications are used by 204 of 206 catalog entries; 2 are unclassified. So these classifications are uniform where they are not missing.
Our coverage, however, treats LCCN as LC Classification Number, not LC Call Number. We treat something like "UE15.A4" as a complete classification and something like "UE15.A4 1975" or even "UE15.A4 1975 copy 2" as a call number. In these terms, [OCLC Classify reports only the first part of LCC number.
Checking that book's LCCatalog record[2], I find that it reports longer LCC (UE15.A4) and DDC (357/.18/09).
Searching ISBN twice (details suppressed), I find no hits, although the books are catalogued by title and author. Example: imaginary worlds, carter [3]. 256 print and 2 ebook holdings are uniformly classified; 1 print holding is radically different.
--P64 (talk) 14:33, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Suggestion for edit[edit]

The opinion that the DDC is inferior to other systems of classification doesn't really have a place in the encyclopedia entry. The DDC is ideal for certain types of collections, just as the LCCS is ideal for others. The DDC is, in fact, superior in some instances in terms of categorization and ease of browsing. I'm not the person to change this, but someone should. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 08:33, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Linking the classes with square brackets[edit]

Shall I intelligently link the listed classes to their relevant articles with squre brackets, or will it be reversed? -- 06:02, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Do you mean to create articles on each of the ten classes or just links to the subjects represented by the classes? Either way, not sure it is a good idea. Pages about each of the classes would be to much detail when there is link at the bottom where you can get that info. Subject links might be confusing because people would associate the subjects with the classes, which is not completely the case. Nowimnthing 22:07, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
It would probably not be useful since users come here to learn about the Dewey Decimal System, not the subjects. If they wanted to browse Wikipedia articles DDC order, then they would go here. GUllman 18:57, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

The Book?[edit]

Ever since I started getting into the DDC, I always wondered what was up with 002. What the heck does it mean when 002 is listed as being "The book"? Phauge 03:23, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Books about books (the history of printing and bookmaking, things like that,) perhaps? That's a guess, but I just did a quick Google search and couldn't find an explanation. That's what I've always assumed it meant, though. - Square pear 19:12, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
That's my understanding. People frequently refer to books in general using the definite article (e.g., "art and history of the book"). --Benjamin Mako Hill (talkcontribs) 14:33, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I looked up some "books about books" and their DDC numbers did indeed begin with "002". LaMona 01:55, 15 September 2006 (UTC)


Is the list in the article (which might be better on a seperate list page) a possible violation of a database copyright (as the article itself says copyright is claimed on the system)? I think it could be fair use as it is difficult to talk about DDC in an encyclopedia without including a copy of the system. Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley talk contrib 12:40, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

OCLC has a PDF on its web site that gives the DDC numbers for the first 3 digits of DDC. In their contract, they say that libraries can display the first 3 digits to the public, but no more. So I think this is the allowed portion and therefore there isn't a problem. LaMona 01:54, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

"Many libraries" do give more than three digits, to indicate subsections of a subject: and "many people" are unlikely to be interested in the numerical details. If there is a theoretical copyvio problem a "created example" - identified as such - would get around the issue. Jackiespeel 13:27, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

More expressive?[edit]

The article claims that that the DDC is "more expressive" than the LoC system. Why is this? Is expressive being used as a term of art here? If so, it deserves an explanation. If not, it seems POV. --mako 14:12, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

expressive simply means being able to express relationship between classes. For example UDC uses + to show a relationship between 2 concepts/classes. Aarontay 12:47, 30 January 2007 (UTC)


I added a few paragraphs of the pros and cons of DDC vs LCC etc. I don't have my books and papers with me now, I will add in a few references later. Aarontay 12:53, 30 January 2007 (UTC)


I'm 12 and the info on the date was wrong, it was 1873 09:55, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

It does seem that 1873 is Dewey's "development" date, while the first publication was in 1876. The introduction to the 1899 edition (the 6th edition, which I have in hand) says: "The plan of the following Classification and Index was developt early in 1873."(p.7) It also says "When the first edition was published in 1876...." (p.8) and it says that edition had "...12 pages of tables containing the thousand sections..." (p.8) Then at the end of the introduction(p. 41) it says: "New York State Library, Dec. 25, 1890. The previous editions have been dated "Amherst College Library, June 10, 1876; Columbia College Library, august 10, 1885; and Columbia College Library, Aug. 30, 1888." (This leads me to believe that this 1890 introduction was repurposed for the 1899 edition.) The copyright statement on the book lists these dates: 1876, 1885, 1888, 1891, 1894, 1899. LaMona 21:45, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Dewey Decimalise Wikipedia?[edit]

It's probably an unworkable idea, but would it be useful to have a project that assigns Wikipedia entries to Dewey decimal categories? Shiftaling 10:31, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

It would take a lot of work with no real benefit. The purpose of Dewey decimal numbers is to arrange physical books in a linear order on the shelf so that similar subjects are located near each other. Wikipedia articles cover very specific topics from a paragraph to a few pages long, and each one is related to many other articles like a web or network. Even the articles on very general subjects, such as academic fields, do not exactly match the words that are used by Dewey. Browse through List_of_Dewey_Decimal_classes, and see how few Dewey categories exactly match the scope of Wikipedia articles. GUllman 20:46, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
The UDC would be more suitable than DDC for the task, but I don't see any real point. GNUSMAS : TALK 21:01, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

I have been mulling this one over for a while, and now I find that Shiftaling beat me to it by 6 years! Is there any milage in suggesting it to the wider community, for instance via an RfC? I do see a use, not for organising Wiki, but for leading the reader from an article to that part of the library where similar books are to be found. A possible way would be a hat note, for instance start an article on "Scottish Clans & Tartans" with {{DDC|305.891}} to produce output such as Books on this subject may be found at 305.891 in a library. In the UK most public libraries use DDC, if this is not the case elsewhere please say so. Accademic and national libraries are not relevant, we are seeking to help the ordinary reader: WP:RF. If there are stong feelings in favour of UDC or LCC then there is nothing to stop a similar hat note being developed. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 22:33, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Have a look at User:Martin of Sheffield/sandbox3 which uses a template at User:Martin of Sheffield/sandbox where I've had a first stab at it. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 12:14, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
This really is a waste of people's time. Wikipedia is a single work made up of individual encyclopedic articles--not a library made of individual works. If it's to be given a Dewey number at all, that number is 003, the number for encyclopedias and dictionaries. You might as well be trainspotting and call it "research" as assign individual Dewey or LC numbers to these articles. Speaking of which, the act of assigning a Dewey or LC number to a topic might actually constitute original research and would therefore have no place in the article either. ZarhanFastfire (talk) 07:37, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
I agree with you, but then we are talking about different things. I've not seen anyone suggest that articles are assigned Dewey numbers, which would be rather daft, Dewey is a way of organising books, not an online encyclopedia. My suggestion was that a hat note pointed to where books on the subject might be found in a library, most of which still have physical books on real shelves. Such a note would not be mandatory, so hardly constitutes "a waste of people's time", after all it is pretty easy to look at the reference books you are using and see the number in large friendly numbers on the spine. Maybe allow 5 seconds to look and 10 seconds to type? Martin of Sheffield (talk) 10:35, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
The very first entry in this section of the talk page suggests DDC'ing the entries on Wikipedia--those entries are articles, not books. So I'm sorry I misread you and thought you were seriously going along with what we both agree is a daft idea. I'm still not convinced your own suggestion would either be very helpful (since books are not always about single topics easily classified in just one place), or consistent with Wikipedia rules regarding synthesis and OR, which is what your hat note might constitute. Presumably this page would not be where to promote it (it being just a talk page for an article, not one about policy of the encyclopedia). But don't let me pour cold water all over the idea. If properly executed in a limited way, your proposal could well have a lot of merit, unlike some current practices I've noted recently, namely seeking single numbers to assign to books: lately a lot of articles about books on WP now have OCoLC numbers on their pages, even though a book that has gone through dozens and dozens of editions should of course have dozens and dozens of possible OCoLC numbers, which are just records of a single expression of a work. Why anyone think this is at all useful for talking about the work itself in an encyclopedia article is utterly beyond me. ZarhanFastfire (talk) 06:05, 15 December 2014 (UTC)


This article lacks an introduction. I've never head about it before - Is it widely used? Where is it used? By whom is it used? I suspect it was written by an American, for Americans, with no regard for what isn't obvious to non-Americans. Thanks. CapnZapp (talk) 22:22, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Are you just trolling? The article does have an introduction, and then gives the answers to all of your questions. If this is a serious post, then you have never used a library. Most libraries in the English-speaking world use the DDC. Visit your local public library and see.--Iacobus (talk) 04:26, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Popular culture - Seinfeld[edit]

I don't really see how this citation serves to explain anything about DDC. It's just a crazy comment by Kramer. Any objections to removing the citation? If so, please explain why it should be in this article.--Iacobus (talk) 04:28, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

"How it works" section[edit]

Confused... "How it works" starts with "The DDC attempts to organize all knowledge into four main chapters." and then says "The ten main classes ". How did we go from four chapters into ten classes? Thanks! Hendrixjoseph (talk) 02:37, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

There should be a mention of what the other modern systems are...

Also, what about the criticism of its racism and Eurocentricity? For example, under religion- numbers 200-289 are reserved for Christianity, whereas Judaism and Islam get one number each. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:58, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

The entire system is outdated with search and find[edit]

You go to a library. You're looking for a book written by a partnership of people, part fiction, part biographical, part scientific, utilizing more than one language, and covering more than one subject, while listing recipes. Where to start? How did the librarians and bookstores decide which shelf to put it on? Search and find knowing a few key words handles the problem of finding it. However, it's for the browser, looking for similar works, that gets floored. Amazon online handles the problem well. Any practical person reading this article for clues will get nowhere. JohnClarknew (talk) 20:27, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

No library or bookshop intends its classification scheme to be the sole means of finding items, and either should have an electronic catalogue that can be searched using key words. (Amazon's catalogue may sometimes make it easier to find a given item, but not consistently in my experience.) EALacey (talk) 21:06, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
What I mean is Amazon's ability to put up similar titles under a "if you like this book, you might also like ..." which is for the browser. Bookstores and libraries don't do this. JohnClarknew (talk) 05:37, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Criticism of LC[edit]

Is it necessary to have the paragraph criticizing the LCCS at the end of the criticisms of the DCC? This seems more an attempt to 'salvage' the DDC at the end of the criticisms. Everything has its shortcomings. I don't think we need to list the shortcomings of similar/competing ideas just to make this one feel better. Ffenliv (talk) 18:24, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

I think it's time to remove the entire comparison to LCC. While it may be an interesting topic, it doesn't belong in this article. Can we come to some agreement about this? LaMona (talk) 18:31, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
WP is an encyclopedia. It can hold no opinions. Instead, it should report facts as stated in reliable sources and opinions of those notable for their expertise, giving them due balance. Like most older articles, this one makes claims not supported by references. Such claims may be deleted by anyone challenging them. That's how WP works. David Spector (talk) 18:54, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

no such word as "hospitability"[edit]

this requires an alternative. word not found in 4 dictionaries (including cambridge, onelook, merriam-webster, and —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:25, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Maintained how?[edit]

Besides its frequent revision, DDC's main advantage over [LCC]...

At another point we say that DDC is "infinitely hierarchical". Does that mean classifications are infinitely long, in principle? Does revision merely extend the strings? If they change more fundamentally, as US zipcodes or telephone exchanges do, what happens to the stock of books?

What is the scope of one decimal, by design? all printings of one edition? (more than that, I learn from the article) all fiction by one author? etc

Probably the article should give an example or three in order to help define the DDC. For one idea, what is the longest current DDC? Is DDC part of a standard system that incorporates but extends it? Or do specific users of the DDC assign all of the prefixes or suffixes (separated by spaces or newlines, i think)? --P64 (talk) 17:38, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

(afterthought) Alternatively, do users commonly use only part of the DDC? If a book is called as "813.5 x1alphanumeric", is its DDC almost sure to be 813.5 or likely to be longer "813.5.numeric"? --P64 (talk) 23:00, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Source 2[edit]

There is very important information in source 2 that should be in the article.

walle1357, a nice wikipedian :) (talk) 18:06, 9 December 2011 (UTC)


The article lists Dewey's Table as so:

  • standard subdivision
  • areas
  • subdivision of individual literatures
  • subdivisions of individual languages
  • racial, ethnic, national groups
  • languages
  • persons

I thought the Dewey Tables were:

  • T1 Standard Subdivisions
  • T2 Geographic Areas, Historical Periods, Biography
  • T3 Subdivisions for the Arts, for Individual Literatures, for Specific Literary Forms
  • T4 Subdivisions of Individual Languages and Language Families
  • T5 Ethnic and National Groups
  • T6 Languages

Which comes from this pdf Which you can download from this website — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:30, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

You are quite correct, the existing article is using DDC 22, the PDF to which you refer is using DDC 23. There are a number of updates required both to this page and to the page List of Dewey Decimal classes. Unfortunately OCLC have moved the previously 1,000 summaries out of the public area and hidden them behind the DeweyWeb. DeweyWeb is available on subscription only, so the pages are likely to remain out of date until someone in a major library decides to update them. I have, however, updated the table list just now. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 22:56, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
There is online access to DDC beyond the 3-digit, 1K list at I will add this to the page. LaMona (talk) 18:29, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

DDC vs LC[edit]

LaMona, the link you provide to the comparison of DDC and LC is valuable, but that page only seeks to tabulate the actual differences. The text you removed sought to explain the differences, including contrasting the relevant stengths and weaknesses. Might I sugest reinstating some or all of the text with a {{See also... hat note to provide the link? Consider WP:RF, would a casual reader gain anything from a long table? Regards, Martin of Sheffield (talk) 08:42, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. Ideally, perhaps, we could have a single paragraph that summary-style summarizes those strengths and weaknesses, with a Seealso hatnote, that could be placed within both this article, and also within the LCC article (which I note just has a lede section and a large list, currently). –Quiddity (talk) 15:38, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
I think the text belongs on the comparison page, not here. In the article on DDC you could justifiably compare it to any number of classification systems, of which LCC is not the most likely (the most likely, IMO, would be UDC). The "DDC v LCC" issue is very US-centric. If anyone wants to copy the text to the comparison page, that would be great, however, it must be sourced. Meanwhile, I'll have some historical info to add soon on why we ended up with two primary classifications rather than just one. Most of what was on this page was unsourced, and that's something I'm trying to correct. LaMona (talk) 17:56, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

Relativ Index[edit]

Folks keep reverting the title from "Relativ Index" to "Relative Index." Dewey did actually spell it "Relativ" and that spelling remained until the 1950's. Please leave the titles as they are spelled in the actual works. LaMona (talk) 18:01, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

LaMona, I don't have access to the source, but I think the changes to "pamflet" and "rerum" are also wrong, the next sentance notes Dewey's use of "reformed" spelling. There are also some other changes the IP made (redundant "first", unnecessary use of first name, capitalisation of "library") so I'm going to revert to Yintan's version. Regards, Martin of Sheffield (talk) 09:19, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
Martin, many of the early volumes can be found digitized on the Open Library or Google Books. I may make a list of those ... don't know if having a section on editions would be over-much, but I now have a table with editions, dates, # pages, editor. I could add URLs. It could be a separate page. LaMona (talk) 14:18, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
The Dewey Decimal organisation itself (OCLC) spells it "Relative Index". It is therefore just plain eccentric to use Dewey original spelling for this or other words. Although certainly, a note can be added saying that that is how he himself spelled it. Kanjuzi (talk) 16:52, 25 December 2016 (UTC)

DDC editors[edit]

This statement: "While he lived, Melvil Dewey edited each edition himself:" is not true. cf. Comaromi, p. 214 "By the time the fourth edition was published the DDC had a new editor, May Seymour." I will compile a list of the editors as well I can. LaMona (talk) 18:10, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

major edits happening[edit]

I am making major edits to the page at the moment, and will try to keep the page in a usable condition. I will be adding new sections and doing some reorganizing as well. I'm happy to share my thoughts on this. I'm doing some drafting in my Sandbox, since I'm having some trouble figuring out where things go. Help is welcome. LaMona (talk) 00:39, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

I'll be in and out all day, but will try to help out and tweak small things.
(Note: If things start to look weird, check the "edit source" and search for any stray "nowiki" tags. If you paste wikimarkup into the visualeditor, it adds nowikis in places.) –Quiddity (talk) 00:55, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I admit that I've had some struggles with the visual editor, and for anything but simple word replaces prefer the source. I guess I'll get used to it. LaMona (talk) 01:22, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

OK, I've completely re-done a history section. If it's TMI, let me know. Ran into some problems with the visual editor and references, but I think I've fixed them. I will soon have a revised (but not terribly detailed) adminstration section that lists most of the editors over the life of DDC. Once again, help is always welcome. LaMona (talk) 19:15, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

History section is great. I've given it a once-over, and fixed a few small things, and added some links. I look forward to reading more. :) –Quiddity (talk) 20:27, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

I'd like to re-order the page so that it reads:

- History
- Administration
- Design
- Influence

I'd also like to remove the link to "duodecimal" since I consider that confusion to be highly remote. I will next be working on a short piece comparing DDC to other classifications, including LCC, EC (Cutter) and perhaps Bliss. Let me know if there are any objections.LaMona (talk) 15:58, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Remove link to duodecimal?[edit]

I can't imagine that anyone has ended up on this page looking for duodecimal. Should we remove that link? LaMona (talk) 15:15, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

I'd say keep it. It is just a one line template, not a great thing. I can remember talking to my late father many years ago and he made the duo/dewey mistake so yes, it can occur. On the other hand if anyone has strong feelings I won't object. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 22:39, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Dewey system? or Decimal Classification?[edit]

I see that there are many references to the "Dewey system" in the text. Dewey himself referred to it as "the Decimal Classification," which was its title at least through the 1930's. I have not been able to establish when it began being called the "Dewey Decimal Classification" but that was not its original name. Would it make sense to refer to it in the text as "Decimal Classification" rather than the "Dewey system"? The former is a proper noun, the latter is not.LaMona (talk) 13:28, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Dewey and trademark vs copyright[edit]

I edited a few sentences that implied that the Library Hotel lawsuit was about copyright (when in fact it was about trademark). Since there has been a discussion over at Wikidata and also here in en:wp about using Dewey, and because people keep bringing up the "copyright" suit, I fixed it. However, since I work for OCLC, I may have a CIO, so I want to invite others to check it out for themselves. This was not well reported in the popular press but there's a copy of the original filing here:‎. Merrilee (talk) 22:26, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Merilee - you are absolutely right that the issue was Trademark, and if that wasn't clear in the article I am glad that you cleared it up. Copyright is on the published TEXT; trademark is on the name. WE've been through this a few times in this article. LaMona (talk) 00:23, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Dewey Decimal Classification/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Zanimum (talk · contribs) 22:17, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Well, my home collection is sorted by Dewey, my mother worked at a library (albeit dealing with periodicals), I work at GLAM institution (albeit an archives), and I'm sitting in a library, so it's sort of inevitable that I'll choose this article to review! -- Zanimum (talk) 22:17, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Thank you! I also should tag User:LaMona who did most of the work on this article. I'll be happy to answer any questions/concerns you may have! SPat talk 20:20, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. FYI, there is one sentence in the article that is unsourced, and I am inclined to remove it. It gives an example of how some aspects of a topic may be located at distant points in the classification. However, this is true for any classification that allows only one place per item, so it is a characteristic of single-point classifications in general, not of Dewey. LaMona (talk) 16:56, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
It's your call what way to proceed. -- Zanimum (talk) 02:41, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

"Early development (1873–1885)", "Forging an identity", both pass.

Period of adoption (1885–1942)

  • "in 1930 the Library of Congress began to print" is the first reference to that institution, so some sort of wikilinking to LC or LCC would be appropriate for international readers.

Sorry I've not been on top of this quicker, I've been blitzing a couple other GANs. But I'm back! -- Zanimum (talk) 02:41, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Additional comments[edit]

Hello to you both! Thanks for reviewing this article, Zanimum, and thanks to LaMona and Spat for your edits to this quite notable article. It's really pleasing to see these quite relevant topics being proposed for GA nomination. I hope you don't mind, Zanimum, if I chime in with a quick comment (I'm supposed to be on wiki-break, but I couldn't help myself!) that there appear to be some issues with references on this article. Some paragraphs aren't sourced (listed here):

  • "Editions 3-14, published between 1888 and 1942, used a variant of this same title."
  • "but Cutter's classification was not as fully developed as Dewey's."
  • "The first electronic version of Dewey was created in 1993. Although hard copy editions continue to be issued at intervals, the online WebDewey and Abridged WebDewey are updated continuously."

Secondly, some of the sources that are provided as URLs don't have an access date or full citation provided. Lastly, there doesn't appear to be any mention of criticism of the current system as it is used currently. However I've done only a brief skim and will leave the review to your capable hands! I wish you all well, --LT910001 (talk) 15:59, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for your comments! Sorry I didn't respond earlier. I just re-did some of the reference formatting to include publisher and accessdate information. I'll need to visit my university library to address your other points, which I will try to do soon. Thanks again, SPat talk 21:24, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
Turns out I had lot of real-life work last week. However, I think I have addressed your points, namely, I've added references to those three paragraphs and have included a paragraph on criticism (unfortunately, I don't have access to Comaromi's book, and hence have had to re-word some passages). Do let me know if you have any further comments. Sorry for the delay! SPat talk 03:00, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your edits, my concerns have been addressed. --LT910001 (talk) 02:53, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
I do have Comaromi, so I could source any facts that are lacking a citation. Also, I wonder why there is a need for current criticism? I could try to find some, but in fact it's not a much discussed matter at the moment. Being about 150 years old, what could be said pro and con has pretty much been said. Did you have particular issues in mind? LaMona (talk) 02:39, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

I see this is tagged for a second opinion request. What exactly is the second opinion needed on? Wizardman 16:08, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Wizardman, I am guessing that this is because (Zanimum) hasn't contributed to the review in about a month, but I am not sure as I did not request the second opinion. --LT910001 (talk) 02:53, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
I was hoping that someone could review the content added in response to LT910001's requests. -- Zanimum (talk) 01:40, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Dewey Decimal Classification/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Rosiestep (talk · contribs) 15:02, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

I'll review this article within the week. --Rosiestep (talk) 15:02, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Part 1[edit]

  • The current lead is too brief. Per MOS:INTRO, "The lead section should briefly summarize the most important points covered in an article in such a way that it can stand on its own as a concise version of the article."  Done
  • "...first published by Melvil Dewey ..." - should mention published in the U.S.  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Introduce Melvil Dewey --a sentence or two-- somewhere early in this section  Done LaMona (talk) 19:06, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
Early development (1873–1885)
  • Three of the four paragraphs start with the word "Dewey" - needs tweaking YesY I'm not really a style expert, so I don't know if that suffices 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "In 1876 he published" - "In 1876, he published"  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "He used the pamphlet, published in more than one version during the year, to solicit comments from other librarians. " - can you expand on the solicitation?  Done LaMona (talk) 23:19, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "Dewey applied for and received copyright on the first edition in March 1876." This should be part of the preceding paragraph which is also about the events of 1876.  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • The paragraph which starts with, "The second edition was published in 1885..." seems more apropos for the Period of adoption (1885–1942) section as it mentions 1885, 1888, 1942.  Done 22:58, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "Dewey modified and expanded his system considerably for the second edition. In an introduction to that edition Dewey states that "nearly 100 persons hav [sic] contributed criticisms and suggestions ..."" and "The second was 314 pages, with 10,000 index entries; 500 copies were produced. - These 3 sentences would fit better with the paragraph which also discusses the second edition.  Done 22:58, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "The first edition was 44 pages in length, with 2,000 index entries, and was printed in 200 copies. " - this should be grouped with the info on the 1st addition.  Done 22:58, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
Period of adoption (1885–1942)
  • "One of the innovations of the Dewey Decimal system..." - would this paragraph be a better fit in the earlier section?  Done clarified time period LaMona (talk) 23:24, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "in 1894 the first abridged edition" - "in 1894, the first abridged edition"  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "in 1930 the Library of Congress " - "in 1930, the Library of Congress "  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "However, the Dewey Decimal Classification was more popular among public libraries" - can you expand on this?  Done LaMona (talk) 14:57, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "During this time, Dewey Decimal Classification got its first international attention." - a bit clunky.  DoneLaMona (talk) 18:01, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "This would require some changes to the classification" - "This would have required some changes to the classification"  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Forging an identity (1942 - )
  • I'm not keen on the header's "(1942 - )". Any other options, maybe something like (1942 - present day)?  Done (per precedent) 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "With the deaths of Melvil Dewey, May Seymour, and Dorcas Fellows," - The first mention of Seymour and Fellows shouldn't be about their death when further into the article, we learn a bit more about them.  Done LaMona (talk) 21:54, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "the Dewey system had lost the people who had worked" - "the Dewey system lost the people who had worked"  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "the bibliographic edition had become" - "the bibliographic edition became"  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "However, by now the" - "However, by now, the"  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "+ .05 form division for periodicals " - is form the right word here?
"form division" is what it is called in the classification scheme. Not that that makes it clearer to non-librarians. It could be changed to just say: division for periodical publications. I'll try that.LaMona (talk) Done 17:08, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
  • which "prevents confusion of different books on the same subject." - which "prevents confusion of different books on the same subject". (period placement)  Done (talk) 23:39, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
  • American Library Association - Place (ALA) after it and clean up later uses, i.e. Administration and publication section  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "The most common book number system used in US libraries today is the one invented by Charles Ammi Cutter which was originally invented as part of his Cutter Expansive Classification." - How about moving this to the end of the following paragraph?  Done I removed the entire sentence, because it didn't make sense there. (talk) 23:39, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Maricopa County Library District - Any additional counties? Is this trending?  Done (added ref to a couple of other places) 23:51, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "in Arizona, USA" - in the U.S. state of Arizona  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "Despite its widespread usage, the classification has been criticized " - this paragraph is about criticism rather than influence
Administration and publication
  • "...edition 20 by John P. Comaromi." - edition 20 was edited by John P. Comaromi  Done LaMona (talk) 00:01, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "Copyright in editions 1-6 (1876–1919) was held by Dewey himself. Editions 7-10 were held by the publisher, The Library Bureau." - the second sentence doesn't work as a stand-alone  Done LaMona (talk) 23:31, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "a not-for-profit founded by Melvil Dewey" - a not-for-profit organization founded by Melvil Dewey  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "Currently" - see WP:PRECISELANG  Done 00:04, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "which is a ten-member international board that meets twice each year." - a ten-member international board which meets twice each year. (nonrestrictive clause)  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "Dublin, Ohio, United States" - Dublin, Ohio, US  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "In 2003 the " - In 2003, the  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • They need a bit more attention, as identified on the article's talkpage. For example, Lois Mai Chan (2007) is both Ref3 and Ref13.  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • "Consider as an example a book on the network protocol IPv6. It will be located at 004.62, after general networking books at 004.6. The shelf location is thus defined." - this should be in a Notes section, not in the Reference section.  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Authors are sometimes specified as lname fname (Refs 34, 35, 36, 37, etc.) vs. fname lname (Refs 3, 7, 12, etc.) - it's standard to use the lname fname convention.  Done (at least the ones I could find) 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • At least one ref (#44) is missing the publisher's name  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • page should be denoted as 'p.'; pages as 'pp.' - several refs (i.e. 18, 19, 20, 42, etc.) need to be tidied  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • where Online Computer Library Center is the publisher, refer to it by abbreviation, OCLC, throughout the refs  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Majumder - is there a URL? Comment There is but the website is currently having some issues. Will get back later if those are resolved. SPat talk 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
Further reading
  • This header should be changed to Bibliography  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
External links
  • Remove the deadlink  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Why include the 2006 Straight Dope URL in the EL section vs. incorporating some of its content into the article?  Done 23:55, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Why include the Dewey Blog?  Done 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

This should be it. I'll put it on hold for the usual 7 days. --Rosiestep (talk) 16:12, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the thorough review. Hopefully we'll be able to get to most of the points sometime this week. I've done the easy bits, will get to the meatier stuff later. SPat talk 21:09, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
User:Rosiestep User:SPat This has been completed. And more, of course. Any other suggestions are very welcome! LaMona (talk) 14:57, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Part 2[edit]

  • Generally, the lead doesn't need references, WP:LEADCITE. YesY removed instances of repeated references SPat talk
Period of adoption (1885–1942)
  • "... was 314 pages long, with 10,000 index entries." - which was 314 pages long, with 10,000 index entries.  Done SPat talk
  • "... and still in use today." - and is still in use today.  Done SPat talk
  • Not a fan of 1-sentence paragraphs. Suggest combining the last 2 paragraphs of this section; maybe in chron order.  Done SPat talk
Forging an identity (1942 - present)
  • "... to date" - avoid these types of terms, see WP:CURRENTLY (will need access to Comaromi SPat talk)
  • Ref 4 - typo (worldwid)  Done SPat talk
  • Refs 6, 7, 9 - Author names are in fname lname format - change to lname, fname to match the other authors  Done SPat talk
  • Refs 10 and 42 - differentiate between them as they appear to be the same but aren't  Done (added page numbers) SPat talk
  • Refs 11, 15, 16, 28, 38, 39, 40 - missing a comma after the date and/or the comma is in the wrong spot  Done SPat talk
  • Ref 40 - pp. (not p.)  Done SPat talk 00:39, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

The article has certainly improved with your recent contributions. These additional comments should do it for me. Please ping me again when you're ready for me to re-read the article. --Rosiestep (talk) 04:17, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

I think I've addressed all but one of the points above - hopefully User:LaMona will be able to do the remaining one which requires access to a reference. Thanks for your patience with the review! SPat talk 00:39, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    B. MoS compliance:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:

Good job; looks adequate for GA. --Rosiestep (talk) 02:24, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Pure science? edit war?[edit]

The article keeps going back and forth between 500 Pure Science and 500 Science. The site, which was produced by the current editor of DDC, says 500 Science, as does the OCLC summaries page. I will wait a bit for arguments to the contrary, but I think this makes 500 Science definitive. LaMona (talk) 15:58, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

Also, technology is NOT listed as "(Applied Science)" -- please consider these headings as quotes, not as editable text. --LaMona (talk) 22:14, 20 May 2014 (UTC)


Was Roget's arrangement of ideas in his thesaurus an inspiration at all? What are the precedents for the arrangement of ideas and knowledge in an orderly, numerical, fashion? Wodorabe (talk) 16:23, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

You can see some history at Library_classification#History but that article seriously needs work. I have never heard a mention of Roget in any works about DDC, but that isn't surprising - Roget was organizing words and Dewey (and other library classificationists) were organizing books. The needs and use cases are significantly different. LaMona (talk) 06:05, 18 September 2015 (UTC)

Recent edits of talk page[edit]

Someone (more than one IP) has been editing the talk page. I tried to read through it, and it didn't look like vandalism, but it also made no sense. If you think these edits should remain, please explain here. Meanwhile, they have been reversed. If you think you are editing the DDC page, you aren't, this is the discussion area for the article. LaMona (talk) 21:32, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

Rollback of LT[edit]

There was a sentence added about Library Thing's use of Dewey, but that being one system out of hundreds of thousands, it was definitely WP:UNDUE. If we ever create a page for non-traditional systems using Dewey, with at least many of them, then this would fit. But as the only system named on the page it isn't appropriate. LaMona (talk) 19:57, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

Added criticism, need help with re-using citation[edit]

I added two subsections on criticism and I cited my research based largely on the Power to Name by Hope Olson (it is available on Google Books), and I could not figure out how to reuse the book as a source but change the page number. The source in the religion category is the right number, but the one in the Treatment of Women category should all be on page 8 instead of 22. Can I get some help on that? Craig21215 (talk) 14:16, 20 March 2018 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Craig21215 (talkcontribs) 14:10, 20 March 2018 (UTC)

 Done I've turned on ref=harv in the original reference/citation, then other references can use {{sfn}} to link to the original and add a different page number. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 14:23, 20 March 2018 (UTC)

Inactive external link[edit]

The external link "Dewey Summaries as Linked Data" ( is inactive.-- (talk) 07:20, 21 June 2018 (UTC)