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I’ve mentioned in my previous posts that there are some classifications that are no longer used or that were never assigned. So, I thought we could wrap up our study of Dewey by highlighting those classes and (when applicable) tracking down their original uses. Now, I’ll be honest, I thought that this was going to be a really chill way to wrap up the series, but it has been surprisingly involved. And I’ve learned a lot, not just about the Dewey Decimal System, but about Dewey himself. Case in point, I learned somewhere along the way that Dewey attempted to simplify written English to use less letters per word and to have things written phonetically. Here’s an example taken from the 14th edition of DDC:

[Bless his heart, but that’s so confusing!]

As a quick aside–it was my original intention to offer this as one huge post, thinking “there can’t possibly be that many unused classifications left.” But, there’s a surprising number of them. So, with that in mind, I’m breaking down this post into a couple of smaller ones.

And one other note that I forgot to mention before: For my original series of posts, I’ve been using Edition 23 of the DDC. But, most of these unassigned classifications were last seen in Edition 16 (published in 1958). Since I’ve been having a bit of trouble finding DDC 16, I’ve gone back even further–and am using DDC 14 to help me learn what those classifications originally were. Any screenshots you see are taken from that edition, which was published in 1942.

007 (Activity and Organization)

I hate to disappoint you right at the start, but classification 007 does not now, nor did it ever, refer to books about James Bond. Rather, it was used for “Activity and Organization in General”. Since that’s under the heading of 000, or General Knowledge, I’m going to assume that was in reference to that: organization of knowledge. However, since this is a vague sort of subheading, I can definitely see why they dropped it from subsequent printings.

008-009 (Unassigned)

These two classes were never assigned. I suppose that means that we could use them at some point, but as of right now, these are not (nor have they been) in use.

013 (Special Classes of Author)

The 010s are dedicated to Bibliography, or the study of books, and 013 was originally for “Of Special Classes of Author”. Dewey lists a couple of examples in DDC14, including 013.282 (books by Roman Catholics); 013.378744 (books by Harvard Graduates); and my personal favorite: 013.91 (authors from special countries— italics mine). What does Dewey mean by special countries? Since the examples all seem to focus on Swedes in various locations, I’m going to assume, Sweden?

018 (Author Catalogs)

018 was originally used for “author catalogs”. I’m going to assume that this refers to bibliographies. I have one in my personal collection, listing all the works of GK Chesterton (and the various editions) published up to the point of that volume’s publication. It even goes on to describe the book’s size and binding. If my understanding is correct, 018 would be a great section for book collectors, but modern readers will be just as successful using Goodreads.

019 (Dictionary Catalogs)

This class is for dictionary catalogs. I’m not sure what that means, but Collinsdictionary.com describes it as “a library catalog having all its entries, including authors, titles, subjects, etc. in one general alphabetical sequence”. The New York Library is even more helpful, describing it as “a photographic copy, in book form, of the Library’s card catalog”. Sounds pretty cool, if you ask me.

024 (Rules for Readers)

Dewey describes 024 as “Rules for Readers” and goes on to describe what I can only assume to be library membership requirements. Subheaded as “For reference and circulating departments,” this class includes all kinds of library rules, from Reader qualifications (024.1); Fees (024.2); and Decorum in Library, including “unwelcome visitors; library cranks” in 024.52.

I suppose libraries really don’t need to devote a shelf to books upon books of rules, nor would there be too many people purposely searching the collection for books on how the library handles loaning of books “of immoral tendency” (024.674), it makes sense that this class was dropped after DDC 18.

029 (Literary Methods)

029 includes Literary Methods and Laborsavers. To keep this very simple, Dewey recommends storing pamphlets, office supplies, and scrapbooks here. Likewise, classes like 029.07 are used for “study and teaching” while 029.1 is “methods” (presumably for studying and/or teaching).

040-049 (General Collected Essays)

The entirety of this classification, from 040-049 is unassigned, having last been used in DDC 16. This was originally for General Collected Essays. Essays, of course, can now be found in the 800s, subclassed under author’s country of origin (for example, American essays in 814 and French essays in 844).

104 (Essays, Lectures, and Addresses)

As above, the now unassigned class 104 was dedicated to “essays, lectures, and addresses”, presumably in the context of Philosophy (or in Dewey-speak, “Philosofy”).

112 (Methodology)

This class was originally for “Methodology”, described by Dewey as “Philosofic [sic] clasification [sic] of knowledge. Terminology.” As the study of knowledge is also covered under Epistemology in 120, I suppose this class was redundant.

125 (The Infinite)

Originally, 125 covered the topics of the infinite, the finite, and indefinite. Sounds vast!

132 (Mental Derangements)

It should come as no surprise why “Mental Derangements” was removed from the DDC in 1965. First, the term is not exactly politically correct (for more proof, look to 132.2– “Idiocy” yikes!). But, being strictly practical here, it makes far more sense to shelve books on mental health in the 600s, alongside the books on physical health. So, the former class 132 can now be found in 616.8.

134 (Hypnotism)

Formally “Hypnotism,” 134 now sits idle. If you want books on hypnotism, you can find them in 154.7, under Subconsciousness > Hypnosis. You are getting sleepy…..

136 (Genetic Psychology)

136 was originally used to categorize books on how our genetics and evolution affect our mental characteristics. This included studies of how our intelligence was influenced by our social circles (136.27), heredity (136.3), and the deeply controversial study of phrenology, otherwise described as “mental characteristics influenced by race” (136.4). A lot of the terminology in this section is dated and can be viewed as offensive, so we’ll stop here.

151 (Intellect)

Covering the topics of “intellect and the capacity for knowing”, 151 delved quite deeply into the idea of genius, looking at links between genius and madness (151.162), “classes of genius” (151.18), and “tests of general intelligence (151.222). The class wraps up rather strangely with 151.3 (animal testing–think more labyrinths and buttons than cosmetics or medication) and 151.4 (plant behavior).

157 (Emotions)

Emotions, affections, and sensibility was covered in 157. This includes, but is not limited to how we feel and express our emotions, their intensity, and even “passions” (uncontrolled emotions).

159 (Will and Volition)

I’ll admit, I spent a hot second trying to figure out who this Mr. Wil Volition was before I realized that 159 was about Will and Volition. Oops. Here were books about concepts such as free will (159.1) and our habits (159.3).

163 (Assent and Faith)

This is another that I wasn’t entirely sure about. 163 is described by Dewey as “Assent Faith” with a note directing librarians to also consider class 234.2 “Doctrinal Theology” as another shelving location. My confusion arises as to what “assent” means in this context and why the books here weren’t just shelved in 234.2 to begin with. I suppose we can answer the second question first. That’s probably where those books are now. From a quick bit of research, it appears that assent faith refers to a submission or agreement with a faith. In short, 163 appears to have housed books on logic through the lens of faith. It’s a bit confusing, which is why I assume that the call number was unassigned and reorganized.

164 (Symbolic and Algebraic Logic)

Another interesting class, 164 is symbolic and algebraic logic. While brief, the listing goes on to offer subcategories such as “logical machines” and “logical topics”. DDC didn’t really expand on the topic, and I was horrible at philosophy, but my research describes symbolic logic as using symbols to stand in for certain words or phrases, much as in mathematics and science, symbols can be used as a stand-in for more complex concepts. For example, if I wanted to refer to Pi (the number), I don’t usually write it out (or at least, start to write it out) like this: 3.1415926… I would just use the symbol π as a stand-in. While my brief exploration of this topic has certainly been interesting, I can’t imagine that it was a very well-populated part of the collection, and I understand why later editions of DDC removed class 164.

Well, that’s all for today, folks. Join us next week as we continue into the our study of unassigned Dewey call numbers!


I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.