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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 100-109: Don’t know much philosophy

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 100 Philosophy and psychology
  • 101 Theory of philosophy
  • 102 Miscellany of philosophy
  • 103 Dictionaries and encyclopedias of philosophy
  • 104 No longer used—formerly Essays
  • 105 Serial publications of philosophy
  • 106 Organizations and management of philosophy
  • 107 Education, research, and related topics of philosophy
  • 108 Kinds of persons in philosophy
  • 109 Historical treatment of philosophy

Ahhhhhh… Sam Cooke. Melodically justifying ignorance since 1960. But those of us who don’t know much about philosophy are in luck: Dewey’s got us covered. Having conquered the first 100 Dewey points, we now enter the mind-melting glass case of cognition dedicated to Philosophy and Psychology. This first 10-spot focuses on philosophy, its theories and important historical figures. If you’re like me, you’re now having flashbacks to that Philosophy 101 course you took freshman year that was very stimulating but also made your brain hurt after every session and where you learned how to extend two pages’ worth of substantive arguments into 10 pages of grade-A high-falutin’ BS. (Or was that just me?)

Anyway, I really am fascinated by philosophy, even if I’m not cut out to study it hardcore. (I’m also noticing that it’s a super annoying word to type, at least for hunt-and-pecker like me. For the last time, hands, it’s not philospohy!) A lot of the books in my library were dedicated to making philosophy accessible to laypeople, which is good because it’s often not. Still, it is everywhere, even when it’s not evident. Just ask the Philosoraptor.

The Dew3:

Plato and A Platypus Walk Into A Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes
By Thomas Cathcart
Dewey: 102 CAT
Random Sentence: “Curiously, Camus looked a lot like Humphrey Bogart.”

The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’oh! of Homer
Edited by William Irwin et al.
Dewey: 100 SIM
Random Sentence: “Can Nietzche’s rejection of traditional morality justify Bart’s bad behavior?”

Astonish Yourself! 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life
By Roger Pol-Droit
Dewey: 100 DRO
Random Sentence: “Do not step out of that shower jet’s narrow circle.”

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 090-099: Kell yeah!

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 090 Manuscripts & rare books
  • 091 Manuscripts
  • 092 Block books
  • 093 Incunabula
  • 094 Printed books
  • 095 Books notable for bindings
  • 096 Books notable for illustrations
  • 097 Books notable for ownership or origin
  • 098 Prohibited works, forgeries & hoaxes
  • 099 Books notable for format

We made it to the end of our first 100 of Dewey! #WeDeweyedIt! And if it wasn’t totally evident by now that the Dewey Decimal Classification is about books, allow it to remind you one more time with this 10-spot dedicated to the things of books themselves: manuscripts, incunabula, and the kind of rare books only super-booksellers dare deal with. My closest encounter with this material happened in a Preservation & Conservation class in library school, wherein we learned about the history of paper, bookbinding, and conservation techniques, and also got to make a few books from scratch (one of which I won in a lottery at the end of the course – still a life highlight). To cap the course we had to write a research paper on any topic course-related; I chose to write a brief history of incunabula (early books) and titled the paper Dream of the 1490s: Gutenberg and the Birth of the Printed Book, a title fans of Portlandia and books will be able to appreciate.

With the exception of the lacuna of despair that was the 040s, this section (in my library at least) has had the slimmest of pickings. The highlight would probably be the legendary Book of Kells (about which a delightful movie was made). Anyone else find something cool in the 090s?

The Dew2:

The Book of Kells
By Bernard Meehan
Dewey: 096.1 MEE
Random Sentence: “According to Pliny, the chief characteristic of the panther was that its sweet breath attracted and stunned other animals.”

Literary Hoaxes: An Eye-Opening History of Famous Frauds
By Melissa Katsoulis
Dewey: 098.3 KAT
Random Sentence: “Abraham Lincoln is famous for many things, but being a great and passionate lover is not one of them.”

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 080-089: Paging Carrot Top

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 080 General collections
  • 081 Collections in American English
  • 082 Collections in English
  • 083 Collections in other Germanic languages
  • 084 Collections in French, Occitan & Catalan
  • 085 Collections in Italian, Romanian & related languages
  • 086 Collections in Spanish & Portuguese
  • 087 Collections in Slavic languages
  • 088 Collections in Scandinavian languages
  • 089 Collections in other languages

In case you don’t remember (or have tried to forget) (a) payphones, (b) the “comedian” Carrot Top, or (3) the AT&T “Collect” commercials featuring Carrot Top and payphones, let me enlighten you. (Warning: this video might give you unwanted flashbacks to Carrot Top and the early 2000s.) For some tragicomedic reason that’s the first thing I thought of when coming upon this section of Dewey, dedicated to “collections” in all their vague, aggregated glory. But true to their nature, this collection of collections brings together a diverse array of topics into one accessible place. Most of these books I’d still consider bathroom reading rather than weighty nightstand material, though I guess that will depend on how things are going in the bathroom.

The Dew3:

My Bad: The Apology Anthology
Edited By Paul Slanksy
Dewey: 081 MY
Random Sentence: “I did take some lives and I’m very sorry for that.” -David Berkowitz

‘Found’: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items From Around the World
By Davy Rothbart
Dewey: 081 FOU
Random Sentence: “DID YOU JUST SEE THE BACKSTREET BOYS?”

Best-Loved Chinese Proverbs
By Theodora Lau
Dewey: 089.951 LAU
Random Sentence: Don’t try to scoop the moon from the bottom of the sea.”

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 060-069: Museum’s Rules

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 060 General organizations & museology
  • 061 Organizations in North America
  • 062 Organizations in British Isles; in England
  • 063 Organizations in central Europe; in Germany
  • 064 Organizations in France & Monaco
  • 065 Organizations in Italy & adjacent islands
  • 066 Organizations in Iberian Peninsula & adjacent islands
  • 067 Organizations in eastern Europe; in Russia
  • 068 Organizations in other geographic areas
  • 069 Museum science

It’s becoming evident that the first 100 of Dewey is tailored for folks who already love the library and its humanities brethren. Like the “first fruits” of library science, the best stuff (at least according to people like me who geek out about books, libraries, museums, and other districts of Nerddom) comes first, before every other discipline, as an intellectual offering to St. Dewey.

Museums aren’t the only subject of the 060s, but they are the most interesting since books about Iberian organizations apparently don’t circ well. (There were a lot of books on the so-called Robert’s Rules, a reference authority for parliamentary and meeting procedures, but forgive me for not raving about the riveting world of legislative order.)

Does your library have any other interesting books in the 060s? I’ve already admitted by bias toward museums and the like, but is there anything here for non-history geeks? If not, take heart that once we get out of the 100s we won’t find hardcore history until Dewey’s end. Until then:

The Dew3:

The Stranger and the Statesman: James Smithson, John Quincy Adams, and the Making of America’s Greatest Museum, The Smithsonian
By Nina Burleigh
Dewey: 069.09753 BUR
Random Sentence: “Perhaps Adams’s preference for looking at the skies was motivated by his hopelessness at what he witnessed on the earth.”

Cabinets of Curiosities
By Peter Mauriès
Dewey: 069 MAU
Random Sentence: “From the monsters of folklore and mythology to the freaks of real life was no very long step.”

The Secret Museum
By Molly Oldfield
Dewey: 069.5 OLD
Random Sentence: “It might seem a bit of a weird thing for him to have done, that is, if you’ve read his novels but don’t know much about butterfly mating.”

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 050-059: Killer serials

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 050 General serials & their Indexes
  • 051 Serials in American English
  • 052 Serials in English
  • 053 Serials in other Germanic languages
  • 054 Serials in French, Occitan & Catalan
  • 055 Serials in Italian, Romanian & related languages
  • 056 Serials in Spanish & Portuguese
  • 057 Serials in Slavic languages
  • 058 Serials in Scandinavian languages
  • 059 Serials in other languages

Journalism, the saying goes, is the first draft of history. It takes the first stab at what’s going on the in the world, with the assumption that future historians will take that draft and make corrections, additions, and judgements with the benefit of distance. With this in mind, bringing all those “first drafts” together into one publication (like the examples below do) creates a different and unique dynamic, where an overarching story emerges out of a series of first drafts–a whole that becomes greater than the sum of its parts. It’s fun to walk through the whole history of something and see how certain events were experienced at the time compared to how they are interpreted today.

The Dew3:

Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine
Edited by Travis Kurowski
Dewey: 051 PAP
Random Sentence: “In those days, in Iowa City, twenty-five dollars bought a hell of a lot of beer.”

Time: The Illustrated History of the World’s Most Influential Magazine
Edited by Norberto Angeletti
Dewey: 051.09 ANG
Random Sentence: “This was a fascinating, maddening, challenging, and ultimately expanding experience.”

The Classic Era of American Pulp Magazines
By Peter Haining
Dewey: 051.09 HAI
Random Sentence: “It was pretty young girls that evildoers invariably had it in for.”

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 040-049: The Abyss

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

Darkness. Emptiness. Eternally nothing.

This is the first and only unassigned ten-spot in all of Dewey. It used to be the home of Biographies, but most libraries separate biographies into their own section, leaving this vacant lot to the weeds. Of course, on the shelves the 030s and 050s will flow together seamlessly, but in our minds and hearts we all know and carry on the memory of the ancient denizens of the 040s.

RIP

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 030-039: Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the 030s

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 030 General encyclopedia works
  • 031 Encyclopedias in American English
  • 032 Encyclopedias in English
  • 033 Encyclopedias in German
  • 034 Encyclopedias in French, Occitan & Catalan
  • 035 Encyclopedias in Italian, Romanian & related languages
  • 036 Encyclopedias in Spanish & Portuguese
  • 037 Encyclopedias in Slavic languages
  • 038 Encyclopedias in Scandinavian languages
  • 039 Encyclopedias in other languages

You want facts? They got your facts right here. Perhaps this section should be renamed “Bathroom Reading” as there are encyclopedias and fact books galore, including the perennial favorite Guinness Book of World Records and multivolume and multicolored World Book. Once the behemoths of research, this type of printed books seems to be either dead or dying as a primary resource for in-depth study. I feel like a dinosaur for remembering having the set at home and actually using it for school assignments. Despite their diminished status, I’ve come to see them as a great place for serendipity to reign. Open up to a random page and you’ll find something interesting or informative or even delightful.

Just imagine how differently Breaking Bad would have ended if Walter White had stocked his bathroom with encyclopedias instead of a personalized book of poetry. I’m not saying encyclopedias are better than poetry, but I guess I kind of am. Perhaps I’ll change my tune (or my verse?) when I get to the 800s.

The Dew3:

The Best of the Old Farmer’s Almanac: The First 200 Years
Edited by Judson Hale
Dewey: 031.02 BES
Random Sentence: “It’s one thing to be an expert gardener but quite another to win blue ribbons for your efforts at the county fair.”

Mental_floss Presents: Be Amazing
Edited by Maggie Koerth
Dewey: 031.02 KOE
Random Sentence: “The good news: Teleportation is possible.”

The New York Times Presents Smarter By Sunday: 52 Weekends of Essential Knowledge for the Curious Mind
Dewey: 031.02 NEW
Random Sentence: “The particles that produce the weak force are called W and Z.”

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Books Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 020-029: Meta-Dewey

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 020 Library & information sciences
  • 021 Library relationships
  • 022 Administration of physical plant
  • 023 Personnel management
  • 024 No longer used—formerly Regulations for readers
  • 025 Library operations
  • 026 Libraries for specific subjects
  • 027 General libraries
  • 028 Reading & use of other information media
  • 029 No longer used—formerly Literary methods

We’re getting meta up in here. I suppose it’s fitting that the section on libraries should be towards the beginning. Imagine how much this section has changed from Melvil Dewey’s time until now. I wonder how blown his mind would be by the Internet and online catalogs. It’s something we modern users take for granted. I’m old enough to remember using card catalogs, but kids these days (\*shakes fist at sky*) don’t have a clue. Whether that’s good or not is debatable, I suppose, but so long as they’re using the library I’d call that a victory.

Speaking of victory, this section is the first thus far that has books I’ve already read, two of which are below. Yeah reading!

The Dew3:

Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian
by Avi Steinberg
Dewey: 027.665 STE
Random Sentence: “For these reasons, the library has always been run by a strongman.”

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction
by Alan Jacobs
Dewey: 028.8 JAC
Random Sentence: “Fortuity happens, but serendipity can be cultivated.”

My Ideal Bookshelf
edited by Thessaly La Force
Dewey: 028.9 MY
Random Sentence: “I picked all of these books because I think you should always judge a book by its cover–or its spine, in this case.” -Oliver Jeffers

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Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 010-019: Books, man…

More Teach Me How To Dewey

The Rundown:

  • 010 Bibliography
  • 011 Bibliographies
  • 012 Bibliographies of individuals
  • 013 [Unassigned]
  • 014 Bibliographies of anonymous & pseudonymous works
  • 015 Bibliographies of works from specific places
  • 016 Bibliographies of works on specific subjects
  • 017 General subject catalogs
  • 018 Catalogs arranged by author, date, etc.
  • 019 Dictionary catalogs

Ohhhhh yeaaahhhh… Pure, unadulterated book crack. This is where things start to get good. Book lovers don’t have to go far to get their fix in Dewey. Bibliographies of all stripes serenade perusers of the stacks like the Sirens in The Odyssey, each its own rabbit hole of bookish delight. Be careful not to linger for too long here, though, as there’s so much more to see. (Although, if you’re already overwhelmed by the panoply of book choices before you, then perhaps a curated bibliography is a good place to start your reading adventures.)

The Dew3:

Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason
by Nancy Pearl
Dewey: 011.73 PEA
Random Sentence: “Ah, the lure of the open road, or the open water, or simply the great unknown.”

A Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books
by Alex Beam
Dewey: 011.73 BEA
Random Sentence: “Make no mistake: This was no charitable act of cultural enrichment.”

Bizarre Books: A Compendium of Classic Oddities
by Russell Ash
Dewey: 016.082 ASH
Random Featured Book: Romance of the Gas Industry by Oscar Norman

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Libraries Teach Me How to Dewey

DDC 001-009: You’re wrong about aliens and books

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

We’re really doing it, buddies! Teach Me How To Dewey (aka the Dewey Domination System, aka Operation Climb Mountain Dewey) is in effect, library card at the ready to check out some sweet books, and maybe a movie or two if we’re feeling lucky. Generally, each post that explores a new Dewey ten-spot will have an overview of the section along with some commentary from the Dewer (that’s the Dewey doer) and 3 featured books (Dew3? Book Drops of Dewey?). These books won’t necessarily be the best of their bunch, but rather representative or quirky titles the average patron otherwise wouldn’t have discovered. Shall we begin?

The Rundown:

  • 000 Generalities
  • 000 Computer science, knowledge & general works
  • 001 Knowledge
  • 002 The book (i.e. Meta writings about books)
  • 003 Systems
  • 004 Data processing & computer science
  • 005 Computer programming, programs & data
  • 006 Special computer methods
  • 007 [Unassigned]
  • 008 [Unassigned]
  • 009 [Unassigned]

There I was, all excited to begin the great Dewey quest when, after an intriguing start in the “generalities” section, I got deluged by shelf after shelf of booktorials on “information systems” and Microsoft Word 2003 and other software guides that were already obsolete like three months after publication. If someone was starting at zero with Dewey and work their way up (like, say, a first-time library patron browsing for books or a librarian blogging about super cool things like classification systems), they probably wouldn’t be hooked yet. The section on “the book” is probably popular among librarians and bibliophiles, but even that didn’t have enough in my library’s stacks for me to linger.

And yet, in the very first leg of the journey we have already encountered the mythical Unassigned areas. I like to think of them as the Elephant’s Graveyard of Dewey. (The Librarian King GIF in 3… 2…) So mysterious yet full of power and portent. What book bones lay there? Will any new subsection dare enter that haunted terrain?

Oh, I just can’t wait for 010.

The Dew3:

Wrong: Why Experts* Keep Failing Us–and How to Know When Not to Trust Them
by David Freedman
Dewey: 001 FRE
Random Sentence: “Okay, so lousy research can slip past peer review into journals.”

Aliens Among Us
by Ruth Montgomery
Dewey: 001.94 MON
Random Sentence: “Their fleet is smaller than the Ashtar group, but equally dedicated to helping earthlings.”

The Smithsonian Book of Books
by Michael Olmert
Dewey: 002 OLM
Random Sentence: “Such men often became moralistic, platitudinous bores.”