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Reading the Dewey Decimal System

A collection of juvenile literature is located on the second floor. These books are identified by the location "UNCW Juvenille" in the Library catalog. Within this collection all of the nonfiction books are arranged using the Dewey Decimal Classification Schedule (DDC). Below is the general subject breakdown of the DDC and some tips for reading DDC call numbers so you may successfully locate books on the shelf. If you need further assistance, ask for assistance at the Learning Commons Help Desk.

Outline of the Dewey Decimal Classification Schedule


000 Generalities
010 Bibliography
020 Library & information sciences
030 General encyclopedic works
040 [unassigned]
050 General serial publications
060 General organizations & museology
070 News media, journalism, publishing
080 General collections
090 Manuscripts & rare books
100 Philosophy & psychology
110 Metaphysics
120 Epistemology, causation, humankind
130 Paranormal phenomena
140 Specific philosophical schools
150 Psychology
160 Logic
170 Ethics (Moral philosophy)
180 Ancient, medieval, Oriental philosophy
190 Modern western philosophy
200 Religion
210 Philosophy & theory of religion
220 Bible
230 Christianity Christian theology
240 Christian moral & devotional theology
250 Christian orders & local church
260 Social & ecclesiastical theology
270 History of Christianity & Christian church
280 Christian denominations & sects
290 Comparative religion & other religions
300 Social sciences
310 Collections of general statistics
320 Political science
330 Economics
340 Law
350 Public administration & military science
360 Social problems & services; association
370 Education
380 Commerce, communications, transportation
390 Customs, etiquette, folklore
400 Language
410 Linguistics
420 English & Old English
430 Germanic languages German
440 Romance languages French
450 Italian, Romanian, Rhaeto-Romanic
460 Spanish & Portuguese languages
470 Italic languages Latin
480 Hellenic languages Classical Greek
490 Other languages
500 Natural sciences & mathematics
510 Mathematics
520 Astronomy & allied sciences
530 Physics
540 Chemistry & allied sciences
550 Earth sciences
560 Paleontology Paleozoology
570 Life sciences Biology
580 Plants
590 Animals
600 Technology (Applied sciences)
610 Medical sciences Medicine
620 Engineering & allied operations
630 Agriculture & related technologies
640 Home economics & family living
650 Management & auxiliary services
660 Chemical engineering
670 Manufacturing
680 Manufacture for specific uses
690 Buildings
700 The arts Fine and decorative arts
710 Civic & landscape art
720 Architecture
730 Plastic arts Sculpture
740 Drawing & decorative arts
750 Painting & paintings
760 Graphic arts Printmaking & prints
770 Photography & photographs
780 Music
790 Recreational & performing arts
800 Literature & rhetoric
810 American literature in English
820 English & Old English literatures
830 Literatures of Germanic languages
840 Literatures of Romance languages
850 Italian, Romanian, Rhaeto-Romanic
860 Spanish & Portuguese literatures
870 Italic literatures Latin
880 Hellenic literatures Classical Greek
890 Literatures of other languages
900 Geography & history
910 Geography & travel
920 Biography, genealogy, insignia
930 History of ancient world to ca. 499
940 General history of Europe
950 General history of Asia Far East
960 General history of Africa
970 General history of North America
980 General history of South America
990 General history of other areas

Reading Dewey Decimal Call Numbers
  • Every Dewey Decimal (DDC) call number begins with three numbers (003 is never written as 3 in DDC), some with decimal numbers followed by various letters, and/or number combinations.
  • Numbers to the left of the decimal point in Dewey call numbers are whole numbers. Therefore, 015 comes before 150.
  • Numbers to the right of the decimal point in DDC call numbers are decimal numbers. Therefore, 970.13 comes before 970.3.

The following call numbers are in correct shelf order for the reasons given:

  1. 468.642 Ab2a
  2. 468.642 Al1c 1995 - Al comes after Ab
  3. 970 T16n - 970 (970.000) is a large number than 468.642
  4. 970 We 37 - We comes after T alphabetically
  5. 970.01 C72: - 970.01 is larger than 970 (970.0000)
  6. 970.13 B61d - 970.13 is larger than 970.3
  7. 970.3 B36o - 970.3 (970.300) is larger than 970.13 (970.130)