Week 4: Library Search & Cataloguing

For our CTS lecture this week we had the other Ian, who told us about researching in the library and cataloguing. He taught us how to use the Dewey System, which is the system most libraries use to classify and catalogue their books.


  • 000 General Knowledge
  • 100 Philosophy and Psychology
  • 200 Religion
  • 300 Social Sciences
  • 400 Languages
  • 500 Science
  • 600 Technology
  • 700 Arts and Recreation
  • 800 Literature
  • 900 History and Geography

Besides the ten main classes, you then have the hundreds division, which are the sub-categories for each of the main classes. For instance, within the 700s (Arts and Recreation), there is Architecture (720s), Drawing and decorative arts (740s), Graphic arts (760s), Photography (770s) and so on…

Although it is a great system, the Dewey classification still has its problems. Its subjectivism is one, as different libraries will put the same book in different categories. We all have different perspectives and if, for instance, a book looks at areas such as Science and Philosophy, I may want to put it in the 100s, while others choose to put it in the 500s. It can certainly get confusing…!

Ian also told us about a project/study he made at the Cambridge University Library in 2008, named “Powerhouse”. I found it quite interesting and so I’ll enclose this post with a link to it here, in case someone wants to have a look.



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