Doin’ the Dewey

Ben wished the world was organized by the Dewey decimal system. That way you’d be able to find whatever you were looking for…
Brian Selznick

364.1523, 641, 822.33, 910

Or, to express this in words, true crime, cookbooks, Shakespeare and travel essays. These are just a small random sample of the multitude of subjects and information you can find using the Dewey Decimal system. Doin’ the Dewey is second nature, something that I’ve used for most of my life to find what I’m looking for.

The human brain is hardwired to categorize and sort data. Sometimes it’s in long term memory, sometimes it’s in short term, sometimes it’s an image and sometimes it’s an aroma. Scientists are working on ways to map how the brain works, to try and discover how the brain organizes and retrieves all of the data that comes our way, and they’ve come up with some amazing conclusions.

Going to a library is a bit like being inside an enormous brain. Libraries house an astonishing amount of information, and just as with our brains we need to be able to retrieve anything at any time as quickly and as accurately as possible. The retrieval system in a library also needs to be replicated in varied locations and expand as needed to accommodate new materials, which is where the Dewey Decimal system comes in. Every subject and classification has its own number, and is the same in every public library in Winnipeg, so you can transfer the knowledge from one location to the next and still find what you’re looking for. It even works for any format – print, audio or video.

Still not feeling confident that you too can do the Dewey? Here’s a quick and easy overview of the Dewey classifications and what you can find where:

000 – Computer Science and Information

In this section you can also find information on UFOs, Bigfoot, the paranormal, the Guinness Book of World Records, books of lists, and so much more.

 

 

 

 

100 – Philosophy and Psychology

Here you’ll find selections ranging from the Platonic method to the latest insights on the human mind. The ideologies may conflict, but on these shelves everyone lives in harmony.

 

 

 

 

300 – Social Sciences

This section is home to money management, true crime, fairy tales, politics and the environment, to name but a few of the fascinating subjects on these shelves.

 

 

 

 

 

400 – Language

If you’re into grammar, need a dictionary or want to learn a new language this is the place to go.

 

 

 

 

500 – Science

Biology, chemistry, astronomy, natural sciences, mathematics,  if it’s part of the known or theoretical universe you’ll find it here.

600 – Technology

Whether you want to fix a bicycle, plant a garden, raise a pet, cook something new, or find a new way to connect with your child you’re sure to discover something in this section.

 

 

 

 

700 – Arts and Recreation

Crafters, painters, decorators, knitters, musicians and sports fans all come together in one section.

 

 

 

 

800 – Literature

Poetry, prose, humor and essays all  in one easy to find location. You’ll find some of the most beautiful and timeless literary works of all time, and guides to help you interpret them.

 

 

 

 

900 – History and Geography

Whether you want to travel back in time, or get the latest recommendations before your journey across the globe, the materials you find in the 900s will guide you on your way.

 

 

 

 

If’ you’re interested in an in -depth look at the Dewey classifications, stop by the Millennium Library and take a look at the Dewey decimal classification and relative index or the DDC as it’s affectionately known. These four volumes encompass every detail and decimal point in the world according to Dewey, and if it’s not in there then it’s quite likely whatever you’re after doesn’t exist.

 

 

 

 

See how easy doin’ the Dewey can be?

-Lori

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