How to use the Dewey Decimal System

Along with 95% of public libraries in the United States, the Hershey Public Library organizes its collection according to the Dewey Decimal System. Once you understand the structure of the system, it's easy to find specific materials as well as topics for browsing.

Created by Melville Dewey and released in 1876, the Dewey System divides non-fiction works in to ten general categories using numbers that range from 000-999. Each number at the 100 level represents a new category; within these categories, topics are divided into subcategories at the 10 level, and further divided at the 1 level. At this point, decimal points are used for categorization. This use of decimal points allows the system to expand as needed into new areas of information.


Once in these categories, books are filed by the first three letters of the author's last name:

Top Level
Sub category
Sub-sub category
Decimal Level
300 - Social Sciences
     
  320 - Political Science    
    323 - Civil and Political Rights  
      323.4 - Specific Civil Rights, limitation and suspension of civil rights
       

 

NOTE: The Dewey Decimal System applies to Non-Fiction works excluding Biography.

The table below lists the general Dewey Categories:

Categories

 

000

General (includes computer, software, book collecting)

100

Philosophy and Psychology (includes metaphysics, logic, self-help, cognition and unexplained phenomena)

200

Religion

300

Social Sciences (incudes politics, current events, crime, economics)

400

Language (includes English grammar, foreign languages)

500

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

600

Technology (Applied Sciences) (includes medicine, health, diet and fitness, cooking, childcare, parenting)

700

Arts (includes music, painting, sports and recreation)

800

Literature and Rhetoric (includes plays, poetry, literary criticism - but NO NOVELS)

900

Geography and History (includes travel guides, world and US history)

For a complete list of Dewey categories, visit this site: www.oclc.org/dewey

Additional information