Dewey Decimal Guides

The Crowell Library in Chicago uses the Dewey Decimal Classification System to assign call numbers to books. This system divides the collection by subject, and the second line of the call number is determined by the author's last name. Above are links to the general summary of the Dewey Decimal System and a more specific breakdown of the Religion section. 

Below is an example and explanation of a call number:

  Call Number Line Description
Dewey Decimal Classification 282 Subject (Catholicism)
Cutter Number B162d Author (John Bain)

 

The number "282 B162d" is for the book The Developments of Roman Catholicism. Located in the 280 section of the library are books on "Church denominations & sects." This book is located in 282, which narrows the topic to the "Roman Catholicism" section. It is assigned a "B" in the second line (B162d), called the cutter number, because "Bain, John" is the author; the "d" is the first letter in the title of the book. If there is no author, the first letter of the title is assigned here, and in this case "D" would take the place of the "B."

This information is most helpful to you if you are searching for books on specific topics. You can use the online catalog as a guide to find where the books are located. For example, after doing a search for the topic "marriage," you'll find that there are two main locations for material on marriage; 248.844 and 306.8. The books at 248.844 will be on marriage viewed from a Christian perspective, since the 200's are religious books. Those at 306.8 will address marriage from the secular perspective of the social sciences. 

Once you have a general idea of where a topic is shelved, you can browse the shelves that correspond to that number to find other, relevant materials. With the knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System, you may not need to search for and write down a lot of different call numbers and titles. 

Learn more about the Dewey system and number correspondence (pdf).

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