Tag: Melvil Dewey

DDC 420-429: Nouns and Pronounce

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 420 English & Old English
  • 421 English writing system & phonology
  • 422 English etymology
  • 423 English dictionaries
  • 424 No longer used—formerly English thesauruses
  • 425 English grammar
  • 426 No longer used—formerly English prosodies
  • 427 English language variations
  • 428 Standard English usage
  • 429 Old English (Anglo-Saxon)

While I know a little Spanish, English is (obvs) my primary language. And what a weird language it is. I’m so glad I didn’t have to learn it later in life, because in some ways it makes no sense. Especially pronunciation: this well-known poem illustrates that well. But because it’s second nature to me, it’s hard to tell how English stacks up against other languages vis a vis difficulty in grammar and pronunciation, logical spelling, and poetic beauty. I certainly enjoy writing in English, though I often wish all those silent letters—like in its buddy French—could die. Isn’t tho much better, prettier, and more sensical than though? That superfluous ugh is just… Ugh….

The Dew3:

I Love It When You Talk Retro: Hoochie Coochie, Double Whammy, Drop A Dime, and the Forgotten Origins of American Speech
By Ralph Keyes
Dewey: 422
Random Sentence: “Rutabaga is funny. Potatoes aren’t.”

Death Sentences: How Clichés, Weasel Words, and Management-speak Are Strangling Public Language
By Don Watson
Dewey: 428
Random Sentence: “You are trapped in the language like a parrot in a cage.”

An Exaltation of Larks: The Ultimate Edition
By James Lipton
Dewey: 428.1
Random Sentence: “So, Mr. Safire, how about a phumpher of schwas?”

DDC 310-319: “Sports statistics… interesting subject. Homework, Tannen?”

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 310 General statistics
  • 311 No longer used—formerly Theory and methods
  • 312 No longer used—formerly Population
  • 313 No longer used—formerly Special topics
  • 314 General statistics Of Europe
  • 315 General statistics Of Asia
  • 316 General statistics Of Africa
  • 317 General statistics Of North America
  • 318 General statistics Of South America
  • 319 General statistics Of other parts of the world

Man… some slim pickin’s here. Besides the series of World Almanacs that go a few years back, literally the only other books my library has are the two other ones featured below. (Not even the Grays Sports Almanac? C’mon library!) On the one hand, this reveals the woeful lack of interest in statistics, which are fundamental tools for understanding our world. On the other hand, statistics are super boring (if you aren’t a Nate Silver acolyte at least), so I’m hardly weeping here.

Does anyone else’s library have a paucity of statistical representation in the stacks? And does anyone care? I’m not trying to be flippant here; public libraries have a obligation to the reading habits and desires of their local citizenry and not necessarily to a completist’s quest for ALL THE INFORMATION. So if that means, skimping on the stats, then so be it. More room for cooler stuff like history and… really anything that isn’t statistics.

The Dew3:

The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2014
By Sarah Janssen
Dewey: 310
Random Sentence: “Illinois electricity use/cost: 770 kWh, $90.80.“

America’s Ranking Among Nations: A Global Perspective of the United States in Graphic Detail
By Michael Dulberger
Dewey: 317.3
Random Sentence: “In 2011, India had 12 times the population density (persons per square mile) as the United States.”

The Unofficial U.S. Census: Things the Official U.S. Census Doesn’t Tell You About America
By Les Krantz
Dewey: 317.3
Random Sentence: “But in the end, even Stephen Hawking says time travel is probably not going to happen.”

DDC 240-249: Ain’t your mama’s Christian writing

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 240 Christian moral & devotional theology
  • 241 Moral theology
  • 242 Devotional literature
  • 243 Evangelistic writings for individuals
  • 244 No longer used—formerly Religious fiction
  • 245 No longer used—formerly Hymnology
  • 246 Use of art in Christianity
  • 247 Church furnishings & articles
  • 248 Christian experience, practice, life
  • 249 Christian observances in family life

The thing I like about sections like this is how it surprises. Even though (or perhaps because) I grew up in the Christian world and am very familiar with its tropes, biases, and tendencies, I love when I find new things—perspectives that challenge conventional wisdom or allow for greater nuance and a rich, learning experience.

Anne Lamott (featured below) is a good example of this: though she is a Christian writer, she could hardly be more unconventional or irreverent in her approach and writing style. People who have either struggled with religiously oriented literature or written it off entirely would be pleasantly surprised by writers like her who, as the saying goes, ain’t your mama’s Christian writer. This is just one example of how Dewey, and really libraries in general, can surprise you if you take the time to browse and let serendipity be your guide.

The Dew3:

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will
By Kevin DeYoung
Dewey: 248.4
Random Sentence: “Wisdom sounds good but how does it work?”

Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith
By Anne Lamott
Dewey: 248.4
Random Sentence: “I was an out-of-control alcoholic then–but in a good way, I had thought.”

Sin Bravely: A Joyful Alternative to A Purpose-Driven Life
By Mark Ellingsen
Dewey: 248.4
Random Sentence: “Such a diminution of sin is what the American public wants.”

DDC 230-239: Fresh loaves and fishes

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 230 Christian theology
  • 231 God
  • 232 Jesus Christ & his family
  • 233 Humankind
  • 234 Salvation (Soteriology) & grace
  • 235 Spiritual beings
  • 236 Eschatology
  • 237 No longer used—formerly Future state
  • 238 Creeds & catechisms
  • 239 Apologetics & polemics

Probably because, not in spite of, Christianity’s hitherto cultural/religious hegemony in the United States specifically, it has inspired a lot of writing. Some good, some terrible, and some I’m not quite sure about. Reading Jesus (below), for example, seems to bring a new approach to the Gospels, which are arguably the most published and referenced texts in world history. At weddings, funerals, and many events in between we hear many of the same verses quoted as inspiration and encouragement, or as argument or counterargument. It’s easy to cherry-pick and plug in a verse for an occasion, but how often does it go beyond that? There’s a lot to consider if we want to get past the tired, old interpretations of religious orthodoxy, so as someone reared in the Christian world I appreciate those who try to look at Jesus and his teachings in fresh ways.

The Dew3:

Disappointment With God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud
By Philip Yancey
Dewey: 231.7
Random Sentence: “Richard does not know Mother Theresa, but he does know me.”

Reading Jesus: A Writer’s Encounter With the Gospels
By Mary Gordon
Dewey: 232
Random Sentence: “The darkness of my grandmother’s bedroom.”

The Great Divorce
By C.S. Lewis
Dewey: 236.2
Random Sentence: “‘Whisht, now!’ said my Teacher suddenly.”

DDC 210-219: Are you there, God? It’s Melvil

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

This Is How We Dewey:

  • 211 Concepts of God
  • 212 Existence, attributes of God
  • 213 Creation
  • 214 Theodicy
  • 215 Science & religion
  • 216 No longer used—formerly Evil
  • 217 No longer used—formerly Prayer
  • 218 Humankind
  • 219 No longer used—formerly Analogies

Once again we’ve got a number of winning Ghosts of Dewey Past. Perhaps it’s fitting that formerly evil is in the section about God. Whether by divine intervention, miracle, or the fortuitous maneuverings of an OCLC employee, Dewey #216 is no longer the damnable hellscape of sin and evil it once was, and I for one am thankful. I was pleasantly surprised to find a quite varied field of God-related books: some that argue for the existence of God, others that aren’t so sure, and some that make a federal case out of their certitude either way. Personally, I’m more interested in the former than the latter. Doubt, like any tool, serves an important purpose in its right context, so leaving some room for it, I think, is a healthy way to look at the world.

But what do I know anyway?

The Dew3:

Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit
By Krista Tippett
Dewey: 215
Random Sentence: “But ‘wonder’ for St. Augustine was a religious experience that drove back to a creator.”

Divinity of Doubt: The God Question
By Vincent Bugliosi
Dewey: 211.7
Random Sentence: “I’ve said that I don’t believe Jesus was insane.”

Galileo Goes to Jail: And Other Myths About Science and Religion
Edited by Ronald Numbers
Dewey: 215
Random Sentence: “As Stark sees it, chimneys and pianos, and all the more so chemistry and physics, owe their existence to Catholics and Protestants.”

DDC 130-139: Calling Questlove

A Teach Me How To Dewey production

The Rundown:

  • 130 Parapsychology and occultism
  • 131 Parapsychological and occult methods
  • 132 No longer used—formerly Mental derangements
  • 133 Specific topics in parapsychology and occultism
  • 134 No longer used—formerly Mesmerism and Clairvoyance
  • 135 Dreams and mysteries
  • 136 No longer used—formerly Mental characteristics
  • 137 Divinatory graphology
  • 138 Physiognomy
  • 139 Phrenology

So many strange words in this section–where to start? I have no idea what Physiognomy (138) means and I’m not even going to look it up. I’m going to pretend that it is the study of a human’s physiological reaction to gnomes. Academic librarians, could you point me to some good physiognomy journals? Publications lacking pictures of gnomes will not be considered. We also have Phrenology, which I’m assuming is the study of The Roots. (Contrary evidence of this assertion also will not be considered.)

Meanwhile, we’ve got a fascinating collection of topics in this ten-spot, including Mental derangements, Mesmerism, and Divinatory graphology, which is the practice of seeking knowledge of the future (divinatory) through handwriting analysis (graphology). Ummmm… OK. I should come out as a skeptic of this kind of stuff: not of the paranormal per se, because I do believe in the spiritual, but of the general wisdom of messing around with all the “dark matter” out there. I’m happy to debate and learn more about it, but don’t invite me to your seance because I’m too busy Deweying.

On second thought, summoning the spirit of Melvil Dewey for a Q&A on this blog would be quite the scoop.

The Dew3:

Cosmic Karma: Understanding Your Contract With the Universe
By Marguerite Manning
Dewey: 133.5
Random Sentence: “In this Pluto house, intellectual freedom is power.”

So You Want To Be Psychic?
By Billy Roberts
Dewey: 133.8
Random Sentence: “Allow the space surrounding you to become slowly flooded with vibrant light, coloured with pink.”

You Can Read A Face Like A Book: How Reading Faces Helps You Succeed in Business and Relationships
By Naomi Tickle
Dewey: 138
Random Sentence: “Individuals with large ear lobes are naturally inclined to support others in their personal growth.”

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