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Title:The Historical Development of The Dewey Decimal Classification System
Author(s):Comaromi, John P.
Subject(s):Classification, Dewey decimal
Abstract:Melvil Dewey was born on December 10, 1851 on the tenth day of the tenth month.* To this fact I attribute the reason why Dewey conceived his idea of using Arabic numerals decimally to mark the subjects of books. I call this, happily, the "birthday theory." At this early hour you may not embrace this theory. Perhaps you will find more to your liking the "digital-clock-on-the-bar theory." Parched by a long prayer meeting, Dewey repaired to a local tavern to restore his depleted spirits. While staring over his beer at the digital clock on the bar, he conceived his decimal plan. Fortunately, he had stared at the clock after one o'clock, but before ten, and when the hour did not change. This theory has two known flaws: Dewey did not drink, and digital clocks were not then found on bars or anywhere. I sense your reluctance to embrace this theory as well. Nevertheless, there are only two or three views regarding Dewey's conception that are better than the "birthday theory" or the "digital-clock-on-the-bar theory." None has been proposed that is worse, however, so I withdraw both.
Issue Date:1975
Publisher:Graduate School of Library Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Citation Info:In K.L. Henderson (ed). 1975. Major classification systems : the Dewey Centennial. Papers presented at the 21st Allerton Park Institute. Urbana, Il: Graduate School of Library Science: 17-31.
Series/Report:Allerton Park Institute (21st : 1975)
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Rights Information:Copyright owned by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1975.
Date Available in IDEALS:2007-08-02

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