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Dewey Decimal Classification: Home

A quick guide to Dewey Decimal Classification at BGU

How are books arranged on the library shelves at BGU?

Materials in BGU Library are arranged on the shelves according to the Dewey Decimal Classification system.

This system was introduced to BGU in summer 2019 when the library team undertook a major project to change classification systems, from Bliss Classification to Dewey Decimal Classification.

The only area of the Library still classified according to Bliss is the Lincolnshire Collection on the first floor. Children's resources in the Teaching Resources Collection are classified using a simplified version of Dewey Decimal Classification.

How do I find a specific book?

First, find the book's shelfmark using our online catalogue, WorldCat.  Once you have the shelfmark, go to the correct floor (shelfmarks 000-613 are on the ground floor and 614-999 on the first floor) and use the guiding at the ends of the shelving rows to find the correct section. 

Shelfmarks are displayed on the spines of the books, followed by the first three letters of the author's surname (or 'suffix'), e.g. ‘150 GRO’. The suffix allows books to be arranged in Dewey order and then in author order. Books with no suffix (e.g. books with no named author) are shelved together at the start of the designated shelfmark.

The best way to understand the system is to try to find something using the guidance above - if you have any difficulty, don't hesitate to ask for help!

What is Dewey Decimal Classification?

Developed in 1873 by American librarian and educator Melvil Dewey (1851-1931), and first published in 1878, the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme (DDC, or just ‘Dewey’) is the most common library classification system in the world and is used by most school, public and college libraries in the UK, as well as many university libraries. 

How does Dewey work?

Dewey is a numerical system beginning at 000 and ending at 999. It places all knowledge into ten main classes, as follows:

000         Computer science, information and general works
100         Philosophy and psychology
200         Religion
300         Social Sciences
400         Language
500         Science
600         Technology
700         Arts and Recreation
800         Literature
900         History and Geography

Dewey shelfmarks are always at least three digits long, e.g. 150 is the shelfmark for developmental psychology.

If a subject needs to be further sub-divided a decimal point is placed between the third and fourth digits, e.g. 155.4 is the shelfmark for child psychology. BGU shelfmarks never contain more than eight digits (five digits after the decimal point).

Click here for a summary of the Dewey scheme produced by OCLC Inc. (the organisation responsible for its publication); pages 1-5 introduce the scheme and the summaries start on page 6. Use Ctrl-F on your keyboard to search for subjects.

Alternatively, click on the pdf document below to view the leaflet produced at the end of our 2019 reclassification project showing (on page 2) a summary of the main Dewey classes used at BGU.