Friday, January 16, 2009

Introduction to The Dewey Decimal System

The Dewey Decimal System is used to organise resources in most school libraries.

Each subject is given a number and the books and other items are arranged on the shelves in number order, according to their topic.

The person who designed this system is Melvil Dewey

Biography of Melvil Dewey
Born in New York, USA on December 10, 1851, Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey later shortened his first name to Melvil and changed the spelling of his family name to Dui.

Dewey was from a poor family and worked as a student assistant in a college library to help pay for his education. It was while here, aged 21, that he invented the system that is now used to classify books and other items including internet resources, in libraries around the world. Known as the Dewey Decimal Classification system it organises information into 10 main subject areas.
The system changed the way libraries organised their books and other items. Librarianship became a respected profession.
Before Dewey's system became widely used, each library had its own way of organising items and often it was the librarian only who knew where each item was shelved. This made it difficult for people to find things in libraries.

Dewey helped establish the American Library Association (ALA) in 1876 and was the secretary of ALA and later its president. He edited a library journal that helped to promote library standards and a company that he formed sold library supplies.

In 1883, Dewey became the librarian of Columbia University in New York City. He founded the first ever library school at the university on January 1, 1887.

Dewey suffered a stroke and died in Florida, USA, on December 26, 1931.

Remember: Always acknowledge where you find information. If you use any of the information on this page acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:Thomas & Sydenham, 2003, Melvil Dewey: a biography [Online], Available:
Home Work
Please write and answer these questions on a foldersheet. They are due Tuesday, January, 20th 2009.
1) How did Dewey help to pay for his education?
2) How many subject areas are included in the Dewey Decimal Classification system?
3) How old was Mr. Dewey when he created this classification system?
4) Where and when was Mr. Dewey born?
5a) What system did libraries use before the development of the Dewey Decimal System?
6) Was Mr. Dewey's system beneficial for library users? Why? Why not?
7) In which year did Dewey become the librarian of Colunbia University in New York City?
8) When did Dewey establish the first library school?
9) How is each subject classified in the Dewey Decimal System?
10a) What ailment did Mr. Dewey suffer from?
10b) Did he survie this ailment?
10c) When did Mr. Dewey die?
See you next lesson. Ms. Cooper (BTGOG)

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