Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Is the Dewey Decimal System Still Used?

Librarians often overhear our patrons bemoaning the demise of the card catalog, but the good news is the card catalog is alive and well and living inside computers! Like a lot of other things from times gone by, the card catalog was digitized and used to create its own doppelganger, the OPAC* or PAC*.  Decoded into laymen's terms that means: all those little cards were magically sucked into the online catalog which you can  use on the library computers, or, and here's the nifty part, you can search almost any library's catalog from any internet-connected computer in the world. How convenient is that? Patrons also claim to miss the Dewey Decimal System (really?) and to that we can reassure all you Melville Dewey fans, Dewey is still here too! Melville D. never went away in most libraries. Non-fiction books are filed by Dewey Decimal number just the way they always were. Absolutely nothing changed about how books are shelved at most public libraries. There have been faint rumblings in recent years that a few libraries have decided to shelve their books in a Dewey-less manner so that the library seems more like a book store. BHPL is not one of those libraries. If you need help decoding the card catalog or finding books or other materials, just ask a librarian at the Reference Desk. We speak Dewey here.

*OPAC, PAC = online public access catalog

Related websites:
Love the DDS? Take a look at this chart from the University of Illinois, Urbana that explains it all.

YouTube has tutorials for everything! Take a look at this video about using a TLC catalog which is similar to BHPL's catalog.

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