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Welcome back to our series on the Dewey Decimal System! Today, we’ll be looking at unassigned classifications, pt. 2. These are all those call numbers that are no longer used in MDS for whatever reason. So today, we’ll look up the unused classes, determine what they were once used for, and then find out (if we can) why they are no longer used!

216 (Good, Evil, Depravity)

We’ll start by exploring the 200s: books on religion. And what better place to start than by examining the nature of good, evil, etc. 216 was dedicated to just such a concept. This class was last used in Edition 21 (for a quick refresher, we’re using DDC 23 for this project). If you’re still really dying to get your hands on a book about the nature of good and evil, you can check out the 100s (Metaphysics).

217 (Worship and Prayer)

I’m going to assume that the reason 217 got re-classed was because the idea of worship and prayer could be better organized under each particular religion. For example, Christian worship should be with the 230s or 240s, while the religious practices of other religions would be in 290.

219 (Analogies and Correspondences)

So, I had no idea what this class was referring to. But, a bit of research tells me that “analogies” are a logical tool that compares two concepts to each other. “Correspondences” refers to the connections that bring the two things together. So, since the 200s are religious in nature, if I were to compare Christ to a shepherd, that would be the analogy. And the correspondences would be the various ways that He is like a shepherd. So, I would assume that books in this section would include books that focus on those connections. It seems really heady, which is probably why they took it out of the listing.

237 (Future State)

No, we’re not talking about where Ohio will be in 500 years. Rather, this section is (or rather, was) all about the future state of our souls. Heaven, hell, immortality, etc. could all be found here. But, those classes are also included elsewhere in DDC, including 236, so I suppose there wasn’t a need for a separate listing. As a quick reminder, the 230s are all about Christian doctrine, so you won’t be likely to find titles on reincarnation here.

244 (Miscellany, Religious Novels, Sunday School Books, Allegories, Satires, etc.)

Boy! This sounds like it would have been a fun section. Let’s break this down really quickly. Miscellany is such a general topic that it could easily have been relocated into other classes. Religious novels would be found in fiction, or at the very least in the 800s (literature) as would allegories, satires, etc. This leaves Sunday school books, which I imagine would be housed with the educational books in 268 (Christian Education).

245 (Hymnology and Religious Poetry)

As with 244, class 245 can be easily reorganized into a different area of the collection. In this case, I would move it to the 800s, and organize each poetry collection by the author’s nationality. The hymnals could go to 780 (Music).

256 (Societies for Parish Work)

It’s kind of cool to think that the ladies’ guilds of various parishes would have had their own call number at one point. Although, I suppose in a way, they still do. Instead of using class 256, these sorts of titles can be found in 267, Christian Associations.

257 (Parish Educational Work)

As we addressed with 244 (Miscellany), I think you could easily find educational books in 268, Christian Education, thus making “Parish Educational Work” somewhat redundant.

258 (Parish Welfare Work)

I had a slightly harder time reclassing this call number. Clearly, DDC didn’t think there was enough to justify still using this classification on its own, however. So, instead of looking here for books on parish welfare, I would instead direct you to try 260 (Church, Institutions), 266 (Missions–home and foreign), or 269 (Parish Missions). 🤷

288 (Unitarian, Socinian, Antitrinitarian)

As a quick refresher (especially for my non-Christian readers), a part of standard Christian doctrine states a belief in the Trinity, which states that God is three Persons in one. Unitarians profess to be Christians, but they reject this teaching on the Trinity. In short, they believe that God is ONE being and that Jesus is not equal to God, but begotten of Him. (Don’t worry–that’s the extent of our theology lesson for today!) Likewise, Socinianism is another religious doctrine that rejects the Trinity, as well as other concepts like original sin. And finally, as the name suggests, Antitrinitarianism also rejects the idea of the Trinity. I’m not sure why this particular classification was removed, but my best guess is that these books are now reorganized under 289 (other Christian sects).

291 (Religious Topics of a General Nature, Comparative Mythology)

Religious topics of a general nature are classed under 200. And mythology can be found in a couple of locations, including the folklore section of 398. Mythology could also be assigned under the heading for its proper religion. For the two most popular (right now), you can find Greek Mythology in 292 and Norse Mythology in 293.

298 (Unitarian Universalism and Mormonism)

I was especially curious about 298, as my copy of the DDC had it listed as “Permanently Unassigned” instead of the standard “Unassigned” used elsewhere. And even in edition 14, this was simply left blank! Not even a note to tell me what was originally here. So, I kept digging. And I’ll be honest, I had a hard time finding a book copy of DDC that was older than edition 14. However, LibraryThing assures me that 298 was originally dedicated to “Unitarian Universalism and Mormonism” which leads me to believe that it was absorbed into the system for the same reasons that 288 was. Books on Mormonism, for those who are wondering, can be found in 289.3.

308 (Polygrafy, Collected Works, etc.)

The 300s are dedicated to social science, and while I’m really not sure what “polygrafy” is, Dewey is quick to help us out: “Put here collected works of statesmen; eg. works of Adams, Jefferson, etc.” he says, in the DDC 14. Delving a little deeper using LibraryThing, we can see that 308.1 was originally American politics while 308.5 was “University Debaters”. I’m assuming that these topics were cleanly shuffled into 320, political science.

309 (History of Social Science)

I suppose that the history of social science doesn’t require its own classification. Especially when there are other places it could be. Dewey is also helpful on this point, suggesting that these books could also be “clast” in 913-919 or even 930-999 (Geography and History, for those of you who missed our lesson on the 900s!)

311 (Theories, Methods, Science of Statistics)

310 remains “statistics” but subclass 311 has been absorbed into 310, instead.

312 (Demography and Population)

This class would have statistics about things like births and deaths, and other details about the population. Census statistics. Such statistics are probably better classed more specifically with their country or continent of choice, for example, statistics on Asia being shelved in 315 and Africa in 316.

313 (Special Topics)

I wasn’t really finding much to explain what those special topics were, so we’ll just leave this class at that.

329 (Political Parties)

I think this would have been an interesting classification to keep, especially after seeing the historical sub-classes included. In addition to your Democrats (329.3) and Republicans (329.6), you could also find Federalists, Anti-Federalists, Whigs, and American Know-Nothings.

376 (Education of Women)

The 370s are all about education. And I guess it was decided at one point that we didn’t require a separate section for education of women, so 376 was removed in DDC 20. Now, you can find the same topics shelved in 374, Education for Adults.

377 (Religious, Ethical, and Secular Education)

Again, this is another tricky one to reclass (and it would be helpful for all of us if I remind you that I’m not a cataloger, so these are all educated guesses). I would imagine that much of religious education (but obviously not all of it) would go into 268 (Christian Education), while Ethical Education could probably be sorted into 170 (Ethics). That leaves us with secular education, which I would simply include in 379 (Public Schools and State Education).

396 (Woman’s Position and Treatment)

Super-vague class in my opinion. Dewey says “If a special library about women is wisht [sic], 396 is the best place for it. Suffrage, education, and employment can then be put here…but it would be unwise to bring everything about women here, eg. to remove 618, Diseases of women, from the rest of medicin [sic]. Books on women in general go in 396.”

397 (Gypsies and Nomads)

The Roma or Romani are a group of nomadic peoples originating in India, but now found predominantly in Europe. This is another call number that I couldn’t find much about, but it appears that 909, world history, might be a good starting point, as the culture’s tendency to move often makes it difficult to pin them down to a single geographic region.

Check back with us next week for part 3 of our formally used classifications!

Erin

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.