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Welcome back to more unused classifications. Here, we explore for forgotten leftovers of Dewey, trying to find call numbers and classifications that are no longer used and to figure out what they were original used for, why they might have been discontinued, and where we can find those topics now. I hope you enjoy!

416, 426, 436, 446, 456, 466, 476, 486 (Prosody)

The 400s are dedicated to languages, with the 410 classification (which includes 416) covering Linguistics. The no-longer-used class of 416 covers “prosody” which is the study of rhythm and sound in poetry. The rest of the classes listed above would cover the same topic, but in different language families, so 426 is English, 436 German, 446 French, 456 Italian, 466 Spanish, 476 Latin, 486 Classical Greek, etc.

424, 434, 444, 454, 464, 474, 484, (Synonyms and Homonyms)

Class 424 (et. all) were originally used for synonyms (two words that mean the same thing, like “chilly” and “cold” meaning low temperature) and homonyms (two words with the same spelling and possibly pronunciation that mean different things, like “bow” and “bow” –as in “the actor takes a bow” and “I wear a bow in my hair”). Specifically, each class focused on the same general area of interest, but in a different language family. See the listing for 416, et. all for more details.

504 (Essays, Lectures, Addresses)

Instead of dedicating an entire class to scientific essays, this part of the collection was removed completely. I would guess that scientific essays would now be found grouped with their respective topics, so biology essays with the other biology books, etc.

517 (Calculus)

For those of you who hate math, it must be nice to know that Calculus has been dethroned in the DDC. However, you can still find books in our collection. Now, Calculus has a place in 515, under Analysis.

524 (Maps, Observations, and Tables)

Dewey specifically states: “series of observatory publications may be kept together under 524,” but then goes on to suggest several alternative locations for these types of documents depending on some very specific details. So, I’m going to guess that they were better suited in other areas of the collection. I also wonder how many public libraries have extensive collections of “observations and tables”.

544 (Qualitative Analysis)

Dewey describes this classification as “Determination of chemic [sic] elements of substances”.

545 (Quantitative Analysis)

As with the previous class, I’m not entirely sure what these headings mean. But, I suppose that each was meant to house books that help scientists to determine the nature of a substance. It feels a little vague, a little confusing, which is why these topics were probably sorted into the 540s.

574 (Physiological and Structural Biology)

570 comprises all the books on biology. And the previously used class 574 was originally for physiological and structural biology. LibraryThing simply calls it “biology”. Either way, this classification is no longer being used, and books can be found in other parts of the 570s.

589 (Lichen)

I have always thought lichen were really cool. So, I’m of course very upset to learn that they not only had a classification under DDC, but that it was since removed. However, I started to feel considerably better about the topic when I realized what had happened. So, originally, these super-cool organisms were classed under 589 (plant biology). But, lichen aren’t plants (despite appearances). Rather, they are a beautiful symbiotic blending of two other types of organisms: fungi and algae. And no, algae is not a plant, either. It’s a protist. So…instead, you can find out about these super-cool creations under 579 with other fungi and algae.

619 (Comparative Veterinary Medicine)

Instead of giving veterinary medicine a whole classification, you can now find books on this topic under 636, animal husbandry.

626 (Canal Engineering)

It’s a pity that we no longer have a dedicated shelving location for the construction of canals. Fortunately, if you want to learn about these important transportation and trade routes, you can still find them in 386, Navigable Waterways. Or, if you really want to create your own, you can find out how in 627.1.

654 (Telegraph Cable Signals)

So, we no longer use the telegraph system as a mainstream form of communication. Fine. But, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t writing and reading books on the topic! So, what’s a historian to do if they want to learn about this antiquated form of communication? Never fear! You can find everything you’re looking for in 384, Telecommunications, which covers a wide array of topics, including telegraph, interest, cables, broadcasting, telephone, and movies!

655 (Printing, Publishing, and Copyright)

So, we have a couple things to unpack in this classification! For starters, books on printing (like the history of the book) can be found in 002. Publishing can be found in 808.02, and finally, books on copyright are in 346 (private law). I rather liked the idea of having them all together under 655, but it makes sense to shelve them where they currently are.

656 (Transportation, Railroading, etc.)

I think it’s easy to see why this is not longer a classification. Instead of having a separate call number dedicated to just books on the construction of railways, it makes more sense to include it with the other books on transportation, putting it in 385 with the other books of railroads. Or, you could shelve them under 625, which is dedicated to roads and railroads. Model trains (in case you’re curious) would also be in this section.

689 (Other Trades)

Sometimes, a topic is too vague and that makes it really easy to reclassify it. “Other trades” doesn’t tell us much. We do, however, know that it refers to the manufacture of products for specific purposes (680). We also know that this classification was discontinued in 1942.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. In the 14th edition, classification 688 was not being used. It wasn’t discontinued–it just was never classed. But, by the time the 23rd edition was published, it had been given new life as a category for “other final products and packaging technology,” which refers to anything from costume jewelry to non-motor land vehicles. I’m going to make an educated guess and say that after the 14th edition, much of the contents of 689 were simply grouped into 688.

699 (Carbuilding)

699 covers “railway and tramway cars, passenger and freight, with or without motors. For highway cards see 629.2”. Again, this is a call number that seems a bit too vague, and perhaps better reclassified. Railway and tram cars can go in 625. And while I’m not entirely sure what was meant by “highway cars”, the class of 629.2 covers land vehicles, including cars. Vehicle repair (which I think would be the most practical part of “carbuilding” would be in 629.28 with vehicle maintenance.

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.