Posted by: eheino | October 3, 2014

ETL505 Module 5: WebDewey

Module 5 was all about the Dewey Decimal System. Finally something I am already familiar with.. sort of!

The more I got into this module the more bewildered I became. Dewey is hard!

Although complex, Dewey is the system used by most libraries basically because that is the way it has been for a long time. People generally know how to find things using Dewey, so changing it now would be annoying for users, as well as librarians.

So this module taught me how to construct a Dewey number, and it certainly is complex! Each number represents something about the item, from the very broad, to the very specific. The more numbers after the decimal point, the more precise the number is in defining the topic.

It is reasonably easy to construct a number with 3 digits, but working out what comes after the decimal point and where to find it is where the ‘fun’ begins.

Here is an example of a complex Dewey number:

641.59593

That number is for an item on Thai Recipes, and was part of our last exercise. To make a number you can search in WebDewey for key words that describe the item, and then find the number that matches the item the closest. There can be a bit of experimenting involved in this to find the exact number. Sometimes the number isn’t there completely, and you need to build further by using the tables.

Fortunately we weren’t required to start from scratch with making numbers, and instead were using the search functions in webdewey to find the answers to the questions, and select a number to meet the description. It was quite difficult though, and I sometimes found it difficult to work out where the answers came from. The tables are still a mystery to me, I’m not entirely sure how they work even after having completed all the exercises. Hopefully that won’t be a key component of the assignment!

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