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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Cataloging Services: Dewey Decimal Classification

Dewey at Illinois

The latest edition of the Dewey Decimal Classification, available through WebDewey, is used for the majority of collections at the University of Illinois Library (see the list of current collections using Dewey).

Local modifications to Dewey are followed for artists, biography and criticism, literature, material by and about Abraham Lincoln, and the S-Collection. For detailed instructions, see the links listed below.

Dewey Procedure

If your book is to be classed in Dewey and does not follow one of the situations that requires local Dewey to be followed, then:

  1. Determine if your book is an added copy or an added volume
  2. Determine if your book is a new edition, conference proceeding, or translation

If none of the above apply, then:

  1. Use any suggested number from 082 or 092 (check briefly for typos)
  2. If no suggested Dewey number, use the subject headings to construct one.
  3. Use the OCLC Dewey Cutter Program on your desktop to create a cutter line according to the Cutter Four-Figure Table.
    • If a 100, 110, or 111 field: use author's name then add a workmark from the first word of the title, omitting articles
    • If no 100, 110, or 111 field: use the first non-article word from the title, and do not add a workmark
  4. Check call number in Alma for uniqueness.
    • If the call number already exists, add digit(s) to cutter to make unique
    • If author has other books in same classification number, only the workmark would be different. Add letter to the workmark to make unique if needed.
  5. Do a call number browse in Alma, leaving off the workmark
    • Select Browse Shelf Listing (Resource Management > Cataloging); --Or
    • From within the MD Editor, select Tools > Browse Shelf Listing

Notes on Cuttering

  • The OCLC Dewey Cutter Program should be on your desktop. If not, access it from the Library Tech Services folder in the start menu.
  • Always Cutter for the main entry (the 1XX field, or the first non-article word of the 245 field if no 1XX field is present). From the first word in the main entry use:
    • 1 letter for consonants
    • 2 letters for vowels
    • 2 letters for S
    • 3 letters for Sc
      Note: the OCLC Dewey Cutter Program will include the correct number of letters.
  • Unless policy states otherwise, always use the Cutter Four-Figure Table option in the Cutter Program.
  • Type each word in your main entry as it appears, with spaces between words until the Cutter Table stops adding/changing numbers.
  • Treat names beginning both with Mc and Mac as Mac when choosing the cutter number.
  • Use the same cutter number for all of an author's works within the same classification.
    • The workmark, taken from the first non-article word of the title of the work, makes the call number unique.  If two or more works by the same author begin with the same letter (general, great, grand) use 2 or more letters for the workmark (g, gr, gra) to make a unique call number.
  • If the cutter number has been used already then expand it for the new main entry by adding numbers.

Collections using DDC

The following table presents the collections currently using Dewey Decimal Classification at the University of Illinois Library.

Library Classification notes
ACES-Funk (includes CPLA Reference & Resouce Center) DDC
Architecture & Art DDC
Carle Illinois College of Medicine

DDC for all incoming materials beginning March 11, 2019

Existing collection in LC Classification.

CAS (Bookstacks) - except Asian material, all new literature, and LABO DDC (Asian material, all new literature, and LABO in LCC)
Chemistry DDC
Classics DDC

DDC for materials received before August 1, 2018

All material received beginning August 1, 2018 should be classed with LC Classification

Conservation Lab DDC
Engineering-Grainger DDC
History, Philosophy, and Newspaper (includes African American Research Center)   


LC Classification for all incoming materials, beginning January 16, 2020

International & Area Studies DDC for Slavic-language material only
Literatures and Languages DDC for non-circulating only

DDC for non-map materials received before Sept. 18, 2018

All material received beginning Sept. 18, 2018 should be classed with LC Classification

Mathematics DDC
Prairie Research Institute DDC
Rare Book and Manuscript Library DDC
Reference, Research, and Scholarly Services DDC
Residence Hall Libraries DDC
Social Sciences, Health, and Education DDC if:
  • added copy where previous copy is already in Dewey
  • added volumes (of serials or sets) where previous vols are already in Dewey

Special classifications for S-Collection and Curriculum Collection

Sousa Archives & Center for American Music DDC
Undergraduate DDC for periodicals for periodical only
University Archives DDC
University High School DDC; local classification for Fiction and Graphic Novels   
Veterinary Medicine DDC