5.1.7: Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)

• Walter D. Butler; Aloha Sargent; and Kelsey Smith
• Pasadena City College, Cabrillo College, and West Hills Community College
$$\newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} }$$ $$\newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}}$$$$\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}$$ $$\newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}$$ $$\newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}$$ $$\newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}$$ $$\newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}$$ $$\newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}$$ $$\newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}$$ $$\newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}$$ $$\newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}$$ $$\newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}$$ $$\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}$$ $$\newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}$$ $$\newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}$$ $$\newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}$$ $$\newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}$$ $$\newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}$$ $$\newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}$$ $$\newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}$$ $$\newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}$$ $$\newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}$$$$\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}$$

The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) was created by Melvil Dewey in 1873 and is still used by libraries today to organize their collections. The DDC strives to assign all the knowledge in the world to 10 different topical areas organized by number so that each range of numbers (starting with 000–099) is assigned a broad topic area. Below is an outline of these topics.

Dewey Decimal Classification System: Topics

000–099: Computer Science, Information and General Works

100–199: Philosophy and Psychology

200–299: Religion

300–399: Social Sciences

400–499: Languages

500–599: Science

600–699: Technology

700–799: Arts & Recreation

800–899: Literature

900–999: History & Geography

These 10 broad topics are then subdivided into 10 more specific topics. As an example, the 900s–History & Geography is divided below.

900s: History & Geography

900–909: History

910–919: Geography & Travel

920–929: Biography & Genealogy

930–939: History of the Ancient World (to ca. 499)

940–949: History of Europe

950–959: History of Asia

960–969: History of Africa

970–979: History of North America

980–989: History of South America

990–999: History of Other Areas

And then these get broken down even further! Let’s look at the 970s.

970s: History of North America

970: History of North America

972: Mexico, Central America, West Indies

973: United States

974: Northeastern United States

975: Southeastern United States

976: South Central United States

977: North Central United States

978: Western United States

979: Great Basin & Pacific Slope region

When we look at this book that we found with OneSearch, we can see that its Dewey number is in the 900s. That means it is part of History & Geography. Specifically, it is a 973, which means it is about History of North America–United States. The .3 refers to the time period between 1775 – 1789.

This page titled 5.1.7: Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Walter D. Butler; Aloha Sargent; and Kelsey Smith via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.