Local Decisions

Our handling of the following 000 topics sometimes differs from regular Dewey practice. Consider the alternative numbers outlined for each before using the number in the 082 field of a bib record or a pre-processed B&T number.


Neighborhood: All computer books that are instructional in nature, including technical works on programming and web design as well as popular works on using consumer devices, are shelved in the COMPUTERS neighborhood. Remember to use the appropiate location code (znaa) and spine label prefix (COMPUTERS) for these items.

General Collection: Works that address computer technology from an analytical or historical perspective go in the regular nonfiction collection. If the item-in-hand is primarily comprised of narrative text (not step-by-step instructions and screenshots) and covers topics such as artificial intelligence, the impact of social media on communications, or the use of specific platforms for business marketing, shelve it in 10121.

  • Class books that explore particular applications of computer technology with the topic affected – i.e., books on marketing tools go in the business section (600s), books on social media and relationships generally go in the social sciences (300s).
  • While Science (500) and Technology (600) may seem more natural fits for books on pure computer science topics, Dewey, as a general rule, classes these in the 000s. We’ve generally followed this guidance, so continue to favor 004-006 for works on computer architecture, software development, pattern recognition, AI, and related topics. Here’s the bit from the Manual (the overwhelming majority of the popular works we carry fall in the second category):

    Use 510 plus notation T1–0285 from Table 1 for the use or application of computers in mathematics, e.g., software used for the numerical solution of ordinary differential equations 518.63028553. Use 004-006 plus notation T1–0151 from Table 1 for mathematics applied to computers, e.g., recursive functions used to explain how computers work 004.0151135.


000s vs 800s: Dewey guidance is to class general collections of quotations, speeches, lectures, essays, interviews, and graffiti in 08X, and to reserve the 800s for collections gathered for their literary quality. From the Manual:

Use 080 for essays and quotations collected for nonliterary purposes, e.g., quotations collected to answer reference questions about who said something familiar. Also use 080 for collections of writings, statements, or quotations on a variety of topics, e.g., a collection of quotations by Winston Churchill on various topics goes in 082…. Use 800 for a collection if all or nearly all of the component pieces (quotations, essays, etc.) come from works of poetry, drama, or fiction. Also use 800 if the intent of the collection, as revealed in prefatory matter, is clearly literary, e.g., to exhibit literary style. Class the following in 808.882 specifically: interdisciplinary works on riddles; interdisciplinary works on tongue twisters; riddles as jokes by known authors; tongue twisters by known authors; jokes and jests by known authors, interdisciplinary works on jokes and jests. (Class collections of anonymous jokes or riddles from oral traditions in 398.)

Our Practice: To group most of this stuff together, prefer the 800s. If the number in the bib or in Classify is in the 08Xs, use it only if the book is very clearly not comprised of literary stuff. Prefer 808.882 for quotations.


000s: Dewey reserves a whole portion of the 000s – division 09X – for works on manuscripts and rare books. Use these numbers for items that provide the history, description, or critical appraisal of rare printed material.

700s: If a book focuses on the artistic aspect of rare printed texts, consider the 700s. Dewey instructions are to class “facsimiles of manuscripts reproduced for their illuminations” in 745.67. Note that we have few items here. Unless the item-in-hand is comprised primarily of images – not the original historical text or analysis of the original text – favor the 09Xs.


Dewey puts news media, journalism, and publishing in the 07Xs. Follow this guidance for most works on news gathering, the publishing industry, and the lives of individual reporters. Some exceptions and trouble areas to look out for:

  • Sports reporting: Use 070.4497 for most works by or about journalists who primarily cover sports. If a work is a collection of columns about sports, prefer 796 instead. Also use 796 if the book is more about a specific team or league than it is about the reporter or the media activity around that sport. Finally, consider the BIO neighborhood only if the reporter is so famous that most people – even those who don’t follow sports closely – will recognize the individual’s name.
  • Political commentary: We frequently receive books covering the political climate in Washington, D.C., a particular presidential campaign, or a specific candidate. Review these items carefully, as very similar titles will often come in with numbers in different classes – general publishing (070), the social sciences (324), or US history (973). Try to keep memoirs by political reporters in BIO or 070, political culture books in the 300s, and historical analyses/documentary works in the 900s – but make exceptions as needed.
  • Photojournalism: Dewey classes “pictorial journalism” in 070.49. Prefer this number if an item is about photojournalism broadly and consists primarily of narrative text. As we have most of our photographic collections – especially ones that are more abstract in nature (photography as art) or that represent the work of famous photographers – in 77X, favor this area for examples of photojournalism. Also consider specific topic areas (i.e, 355 for a photojournalist’s work on armed conflicts around the globe) for collections of images by reporters.
The Library will be closed Monday, Oct 9 for Columbus Day.