Essay on The Dewey Decimal Classification: Western and Non-Western Cultures

Essay on The Dewey Decimal Classification: Western and Non-Western Cultures

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Introduction DDC: From West to East
This paper is examining how the Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC) has been adapted and translated in both Western and non-Western Nations and the problems that have arisen during this process. In this paper we will first examine what the DDC is which includes looking into its history specifically into how Mr. Custer helped the DDC become an international classification system. Next we will focus on the problems that arise during the process of adapting and translating the DDC from one culture to another. Before the conclusion there will be a literature review that looks into how Western and non-Western nations adapt to the DDC.
The Dewey Decimal Classification System is an organization system used to organize information materials in libraries so that those materials are easier to find. In this world of computers and internet it is normally very easy to get information at just the push of a button. That was not always the case. For in a time before computers a person had to go through a physical object like a book or atlas to find the information that they were looking for. This can be a problem when a person is looking for a specific piece of information that is located in only a small number of books in a library of thousands. The DDC was created to solve this problem by allowing a person to look up a subject which will then lead them to the materials that will contain the information that they are looking for.
Mitchell and Vizine-Goetz (2009) mention that the basic design of the DDC has the information organized into 10 primary classes and those classes are separated into 10 divisions which are themselves separated into 10 individual sections. This organization of classes can be...

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...of Library and Information Sciences, Third Edition (pp. 1507–1517). Taylor & Francis. Retrieved from

New, G. R. (1998). Custer and the Modernization of Dewey. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 25(2-3), 133–149. doi:10.1300/J104v25n02_10

Olson, H. A. (2001). Sameness and difference: a cultural foundation of classification. Library Resources & Technical Services, 45(3), 115–122.

Satija, M. P. ., (2013). Briefs on the 19th (1979) to the 23rd Edition (2011) of Dewey Decimal Classification. DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 33(4), 277–288.

Sulistyo-Basuki, L., & Mulyani, A. S. (2008). Indonesian Librarians’ Efforts to Adapt and Revise the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)’s Notation 297 on Islam. Malaysian Journal of Library & Information Science, 13(2), 89–101.

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