The Dewey Decimal System
was created by Melville Dewey in
What is the Dewey Decimal
• A system to organize books on library
shelves so that they are easily found
• Decimal is a Latin word that means 10
• Melville Dewey decided that all
knowledge would be described in 10
How does the Dewey Decimal
Think of it as a code that uses numbers
to help you find the book you want.
Each non-fiction book is put in a certain
group and given a 3 digit number
depending on the subject of the book.
There are 10 basic Dewey sections or
The Dewey Decimal Classification
Each of the 10 Dewey
categories is then divided into
• For example 700 (Arts and recreation) is
subdivided into the following subsections:
• 710 Civic & landscape art
• 720 Architecture
• 730 Plastic arts, sculpture
• 740 Drawing & decorative arts
• 750 Painting & paintings (museums)
• 760 Graphic arts, printmaking & prints, postage stamps
• 770 Photography & photographs
• 780 Music
• 790 Recreational & performing arts
What each number means?
Let’s look at the call number 743.
The 7 is the first number which tells you
which of the 10 main Dewey categories the
book belongs to- Arts and Recreation.
The 4 is the second number which tells you
which of the subdivisions it belongs to-
Drawing and decorative art.
The 3 provides even more specific
information about the subject matter-in this
case it is a book about drawing a specific
• This book has
the call number
743 AME (AME
stands for the
first 3 letters of
the author’s last
Do I have to memorize all the
categories to locate the book I
That’s why we have our new Catalog
System which allows you to search by
keyword and subject. In addition, the
Dewey Decimal Numbers are labeled
on the end of the shelves!
What if I can not find the book
even if I know the call