The Library provides access to all sorts of information resources to support your learning and research. You can search all of the library's collections through the Library Catalogue, or get more information on each type of information resource and how it might be useful to your studies below.
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Guide to Dewey
Guide to Dewey Decimal Classification
The books in the library are arranged on the shelves using the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). It is the most widely used library classification system in the world. The word “Dewey” refers to Melvil Dewey (1851-1931) who devised the classification, and was first published in 1876. The second word “Decimal” refers to the base-ten notation that is used to denote and relate subjects. It uses Arabic numerals treated like decimal fractions. Hence the name of the classification is the Dewey Decimal Classification. It is continuously revised to keep pace with knowledge and is currently on edition 23.
In the Main library, or James Hardiman Library, the collection is spread over three floors. On the podium or ground floor level you'll find the Law collection, Official Publications, European Documentation Collection, and General Reference books, as well as our Atlas and Map Collections. On the first floor you'll find Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Business. On the second floor, you'll find material relating to Computer Science, Engineering, Science and some Medical books. Each of the floor plans indicates where particular Dewey numbers are located.
Towards the back of the Law area across a bridge, the Nursing and Midwifery Library is located. In the Clinical Sciences Institute at University College Hospital, Galway, you'll find the Medical Library.
Within each of these areas of the Library, the books are shelved by classification number. The classification number (also called the class number or shelf number) appears on a label on the spine of the book. It is made up of the Dewey number and the first three letters of the author's surname or the first three letters of the title, whichever is the main entry on the catalogue. Books are placed on the shelf in increasing numerical order of the Dewey number. When two books have the same Dewey number they are arranged in alphabetical order of the first three letters from the author's name, or, first three letters from the title of the book. The end of each row of shelves indicates the numbers contained in those shelves.
The Library Catalogue will tell you the exact Dewey number of each book. By clicking on the Dewey number a floor plan will be displayed showing you where in the Library to find books at this number.
- 000 Computer science, information & general works
- 100 Philosophy & psychology
- 200 Religion
- 300 Social sciences
- 400 Language
- 500 Science
- 600 Technology
- 700 Arts & recreation
- 800 Literature
- 900 History & geography
Dewey is further divided into 10 branches that are called divisions
000 is the most general class, and is used for works not limited to any one specific discipline, e.g., encyclopaedias, newspapers, general periodicals. This class is also used for certain specialized disciplines that deal with knowledge and information, e.g., computer science, library and information science, journalism. Each of the other main classes (100–900) comprises a major discipline or group of related disciplines.
020 Library & information sciences
030 Encyclopaedias & books of facts
050 Magazines, journals & serials
060 Associations, organizations & museums
070 News media, journalism & publishing
090 Manuscripts & rare books
100 Philosophy & psychology
100 covers philosophy, parapsychology and occultism, and psychology.
130 Parapsychology & occultism
140 Philosophical schools of thought
160 Philosophical logic
180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
190 Modern western philosophy
200 is devoted to Religion.
210 Philosophy & theory of religion
220 The Bible
240 Christian practice & observance
250 Christian pastoral practice & religious orders
260 Christian organization, social work & worship
270 History of Christianity
280 Christianity denominations
290 Other religions
300 Social sciences
300 cover the social sciences. It includes sociology, anthropology, statistics, political science, economics, law, public administration, social problems and services, education, commerce, communications, transportation, and customs.
320 Political science
350 Public administration & military science
360 Social problems & social services
380 Commerce, communications & transportation
390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
400 comprise language, linguistics, and specific languages.
420 English & Old English languages
430 German & related languages
440 French & related languages
450 Italian, Romanian & related languages
460 Spanish, Portuguese, Galician
470 Latin & Italic languages
480 Classical & modern Greek languages
490 Other languages
500 Natural Sciences & Mathematics
500 cover the natural sciences and mathematics.
550 Earth sciences & geology
560 Fossils & prehistoric life
580 Plants (Botany)
590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology (Applied sciences)
600 is Technology.
610 Medicine & health
650 Management & public relations
660 Chemical engineering
680 Manufacturing for specific uses
690 Construction of buildings
700 The Arts
700 covers the arts: art in general, fine and decorative arts, music, and the
Performing arts. Recreation, including sports and games, is also classed in 700.
710 Arts, planning & landscape architecture
730 Sculpture, ceramics & metalwork
740 Graphic arts & decorative arts
760 Printmaking & prints
770 Photography, computer art, film, video
790 Sports, games & entertainment
800 Literature & Rhetoric
Class 800 covers literature, and includes rhetoric, prose, poetry, drama, etc.
810 American literature in English
820 English & Old English literatures
830 German & related literatures
840 French & related literatures
850 Italian, Romanian & related literatures
860 Spanish, Portuguese, Galician literatures
870 Latin & Italic literatures
880 Classical & modern Greek literatures
890 Other literatures
900 Geography & History
Class 900 is devoted primarily to history and geography. It also includes biography and genealogy.
910 Geography & travel
920 Biography & genealogy
930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)
940 History of Europe
950 History of Asia
960 History of Africa
970 History of North America
980 History of South America
990 History of other areas
NOTE: Some deviations from above are used by James Hardiman Library, notably 490 for Irish language and 828.99 for Anglo-Irish literature. Please consult the catalogue for more details.
Have you ever wondered how the numbers are built? Hierarchy in Dewey Decimal Classification is expressed through structure and notation. Notational hierarchy is expressed by length of notation.
See the following example:
300 Social Sciences
332 Financial economics
332.41 Value of money
332.414 Factors affecting fluctuations in value
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