While we’re patiently waiting for your search, here are some random facts about the Dewey Decimal system:
- Its inventor changed his name in the spirit of spelling reform. Melvil Dewey’s birth name was Melville, but he decided to change it because he favored the move to make the English language more logical, making him a language lobbyist. He also changed his last name to “Dui,” but that didn’t catch on.
- Dewey wasn’t an easy guy to work with. While he was credited for his push to bring women into the growing field of library science, his treatment of women came under scrutiny, and he was ostrasized from industry groups for it. On top of that, he wasn’t all that open to feedback: The Library of Congress wanted to use his system for classification, but when they offered some suggestions for the system, he chose not to listen to it—which led the LOC to develop their own classification system. However, the system’s success became hard to ignore, and by 1930, they started classifying materials under Dewey as well.
- The system of classification may present itself in a series of cards inside of a giant organizing system, but really, it’s more of a branch-like system, in which main subjects become more and more narrow the further you get in.
- The first electronic version of the Dewey Decimal system, called "Electronic Dewey,” was released in 1993 for DOS. A Windows version didn’t come out until 1996, well after Windows had become the standard operating system for PCs.
- The system is facing increased modern competition. In recent years, libraries have attempted to move to new organization systems which are intended to move away from the “impersonal” feel of the Dewey Decimal system.
There, now you can say you learned something without even hitting the search button.
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