How are our books arranged on the shelves?

Row of shelving containing books

A sign on the end of each bay of books lists the subjects that are in each of the bays, with their numbers.

Our libraries use the Dewey Decimal classification system, which is the most widely used classification system in the world.  This splits all knowledge into ten main classes:

000      Computer science, information & general works
100      Philosophy & psychology
200      Religion
300      Social sciences
400      Language
500      Science
600      Technology
700      Arts & recreation
800      Literature
900      History & geography

Each of these main classes is split into ten divisions, e.g.

700      General arts
710      Area planning & landscape architecture
720      Architecture
730      Sculpture, ceramics & metalwork
740      Graphic arts & decorative arts

And so on.

The third digit indicates the section, e.g.

725      Architecture: public structures
727      Architecture: buildings for educational purposes
728      Architecture: residential buildings

There is generally then a decimal point, after which the subject is sub-divided further. The decimal point makes the number easier to read, but has no mathematical significance!


727.3              University buildings
728.09429       Houses: Wales

At UWTSD, we also use a three-letter suffix after the numbers.

This generally consists of the first three letters of the author’s name.  If the work has an editor, then either the first three letters of the editor or of the title are used.  If the work is about an artist or an architect, then we use the first three letters of their name. Works about computer programs use the first three letters of the program.

This helps locate an individual work on the shelf.  E.g.

727.6 EXE       Exell, Karen. The global spectacular
720.92 AAL     Stewart, John. Alvar Aalto,architect
006.693 GPU  Engel, Wolfgang (ed.). GPU Zen 2: advanced rendering techniques

Dewey®, DDC® and Dewey Decimal Classification® are the proprietary trademarks of OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. and are used with permission.

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