The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system is a general knowledge organization tool that is continuously revised to keep pace with knowledge.

dewey decimal system


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The system was conceived by Melvil Dewey in 1873 and first published in 1876. The DDC is published by OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. OCLC owns all copyright rights in the Dewey Decimal Classification, and licenses the system for a variety of uses. The DDC 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, and DDC numbers are featured in the national bibliographies of more than 60 countries. Libraries of every type apply Dewey numbers on a daily basis and share these numbers through a variety of means (including WorldCat, the OCLC Online Union Catalog).

Dewey is also used for other purposes, e. g. , as a browsing mechanism for resources on the web. The DDC has been translated into over thirty languages. Translations of the latest full and abridged editions of the DDC are completed, planned, or underway in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. One of Dewey’s great strengths is that the system is developed and maintained in a national bibliographic agency, the Library of Congress.

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    The Dewey editorial office is located in the Decimal Classification Division of the Library of Congress, where classification specialists annually assign over 110,000 DDC numbers to records for works cataloged by the Library.
    Having the editorial office within the Decimal Classification Division enables the editors to detect trends in the literature that must be incorporated into the Classification.
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    The editors prepare proposed schedule revisions and expansions, and forward the proposals to the Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee (EPC) for review and recommended action.
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    EPC is a ten-member international board whose main function is to advise the editors and OCLC on matters relating to changes, innovations, and the general development of the Classification.
    EPC represents the interests of DDC users; its members come from national, public, special, and academic libraries, and from library schools. The DDC is published in full and abridged editions in print and electronic versions.
    The abridged edition is a logical truncation of the notational and structural hierarchy of the corresponding full edition on which it is based, and is intended for general collections of 20,000 titles or less.
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    WebDewey and Abridged WebDewey, the electronic versions of the full and abridged editions, respectively, are updated frequently and contain additional index entries and mapped vocabulary.
    The electronic versions and supplemental web postings are the chief sources of ongoing updates to the DDC.
    On the Dewey web site (www. oclc. org/dewey), selected new numbers and changes to the DDC are posted monthly, and mappings between selected new Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and Dewey numbers are posted biweekly.

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    The DDC is built on sound principles that make it ideal as a general knowledge organization tool: meaningful notation in universally recognized Arabic numerals, well-defined categories, well-developed hierarchies, and a rich network of relationships among topics.
    In the DDC, basic classes are organized by disciplines or fields of study.
    At the broadest level, the DDC is divided into ten main classes, which together cover the entire world of knowledge.
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    Each main class is further divided into ten divisions, and each division into ten sections (not all the numbers for the divisions and sections have been used).
    The main structure of the DDC is presented in the DDC Summaries following this introduction. The headings associated with the numbers in the summaries have been edited for browsing purposes, and do not necessarily match the complete headings found in the schedules.
    The first summary contains the ten main classes. The first digit in each three-digit number represents the main class.