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Technology in the classroom and teacher resources blog

Is the Dewey System the most appropriate way to organise non-fiction for todays students?

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Dewey – Non-Fiction - The current preferred Library Organisational System

The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), colloquially the Dewey Decimal System, is a proprietary library classification system first published in the United States by Melvil Dewey in 1876.

The Decimal Classification introduced the concepts of relative locationand relative indexwhich allow new books to be added to a library in their appropriate location based on subject. Libraries previously had given books permanent shelf locations that were related to the order of acquisition rather than topic.

Originally described in a four-page pamphlet, it has been expanded to multiple volumes and revised through 23 major editions, the latest printed in 2011. The OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated (OCLC) has maintained the classification since 1988, and also publishes new editions of the system.

The above system works fine generally for non-fiction, although it is in the best interests of students if books are aligned with study themes and the school curriculum. Also, if books are not popular in one section, moving them to another can increase exposure and use.

About 15-20% of my non-fiction is not where the Dewey system indicated but by working in conjunction with teachers is instead where students are most likely to look.

I’ll be writing up how I recategorized my non-fiction fiction over Xmas

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Author: I am a Teacher Librarian from the UK working in Japan. I create all the artwork and videos for the teaching materials within this website. New products and special offers will be announced here first. Everything I post is about products or services that I have tried in my own classes.
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