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Advantages and Disadvantages of DDC (Dewey Decimal Classification) Scheme

Advantages of Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)


Major Advantages of DDC are:DDC

  1. The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system has a long history (127 years) of expansion and adaptation to the needs of the communities it serves.
  2. The DDC is published in both full and abridged versions, as well as, now, online versions of the full and abridged editions in a format called ‘Web-Dewey.’
  3. The DDC uses very well recogized Arabic numerals and the numbered notation makes it easily understandable from one culture to another.
  4. The DDC breaks down into relatively well structured and ordered disciplines, divisions, and sections. Thus, the scheme is hierarchical, like a family tree, showing the relationship of specific subjects to the parent subject.
  5. The DDC has bi-weekly updates to its current edition put out online.
  6. The class numbers are easy to write, type and remember– at least to hold in one’s mind long enough to get from a library’s catalogue to the shelves.
  7. The Dewey scheme has an excellent relative index and the schedules are inexpensive.
  8. The scheme allows for the close classification (lengthy numbers for specific subjects) or broad classification (shorter numbers where fewer details are required).
  9. Alternative placing is provided for several subjects so that the differing libraries can cater to the requirements of their own clientele.
  10. The Classification scheme allows for expansion so that new subjects can be included. This facility is known as ‘hospitality’.

Major Disadvantages of DDC:

  1. The provision of only ten main classes’ means that the base is too short, resulting in lengthy classification numbers.
  2. The limitations of division and subdivision by only 10 places leads to the squeezing of subjects into a conglomerate last division called ‘others’.
  3. The arrangement of classes has been criticized, especially the separation of language from literature; social sciences from history; psychology from medicine.
  4. There is a bias towards Protestant/American aspects prevalent in both the history and religion disciplines. These problems are being addressed in each new revision and edition.
  5. Within the DDC there are some disciplines that are closely related, yet quite separate numerically like literature 800-899 and languages 400-499.
  6. Within the DDC there are also some classes like ‘Technology,’ in the 600s which the call numbers are very crowded, and others that are very sparse.
  7. The DDC is not as easily expandable as classification systems like the Library of Congress Classification system when new subjects or technologies emerge.
  8. There is the potential for very large classification call numbers as a result of number building, and the need for extreme accuracy by some libraries.

References: (This document is collected from materials available from online/web and organize here for LIS students)

  1. KRISHAN KUMAR. Theory of classification. 1993. Vikas Publishing; New Delhi. p1.
  2. SHARMA (C D). Use of libraries: A guide to better use of libraries and their resources. 1978. Metropolitan Book; New Delhi. p-120.
  3. SHARMA (C D). Op. cit., p 121.
  4. KRISHAN KUMAR. Op. cit., p 4.
  5. INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY (IGNOU). Unit 2: Needand purpose of library classification. IGNOU; New Delhi. p 26.
  6. DUTTA (Dwijendranath). Library classification: Theory and practice. 1962. The Western Book Depot; Nagpur. p 48.
  7. RAJU (Addepali Appala Narasimha). Dewey decimal classification (DDC 20): Theory and practice: A practical and self instructional manual. 1995. T.R. Publications; Madras. p 4.
  8. CHOWDHURY (G G). Introduction to modern information retrieval. Ed. 3. 2004. Facet Publishing; London. p 89.

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Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.

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