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English 102

This guide will help ENG 102 students understand the research process and find the resources needed for written assignments.

Understanding the Dewey Decimal System

Upson, Matt, C. Michael Hall, and Kevin Cannon. "The Dewey Decimal System." Digital image. Information Now. University of Chicago Press, 2015. 


The Dewey Decimal System, or DDC for short, is the method our library uses to organize materials. DDC breaks down materials into ten different categories, each of which is assigned to a numerical range. For example, books about literature are located in the 800 range.

Materials in the 800 range are then further subdivided by subjects. In literature, the contents are broken down by the region of the world the author comes from. For example, books found between 810 and 819.9 are about North American authors. 

With a basic understanding of the ten categories, you can browse the collection and have a general idea of where something is located. But understanding how books are arranged in DDC is helpful in two practical ways:

  1. It helps you find the materials located in the catalog.
  2. Once you find something of interest in the catalog, you are able to find books on the same subject simply by browsing the shelf. Because DDC is based on a Relative Index, books on the same subject will be near each other.

But, before you can find materials on the shelf, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. There are three parts of a call number: the DDC number, the Cutter number, and the year of publication. Let's use 635.93 T889 1993 as an example. 635.93 is the DDC number, T889 is the Cutter number, and 1993 is the year of publication.
  2. Numbers are arranged decimally. For example, 612.4571 comes before 612.46 even though 612.4571 appears to be a larger number. Just like mathematical decimals, DDC considers .4571 to be a smaller number than .46.
  3. Cutter numbers are arranged alphabetically and then decimally. For example, these call numbers would be arranged as follows:
    • 635.94 C449 1984
    • 635.94 C45 1987
    • 635.94 D5059 2000
    • 635.94 D51 2008 
  4. Nothing always comes before something. For example, the following call numbers are in order:
    • 812.114 Au74
    • 812.114 Au74 1994
    • 812.114 Au74em
    • 812.114 Au74pr
    • 812.114 Au74pr 1993

How to Use the Online Catalog

Some tips for using our online catalog are found here.

What if I...

... need a book checked out by another patron?
Books checked out to other patrons can be recalled. Fill out the Recall Form to request this service.

... want to use a book/article/resource that Alice Lloyd College does not own?
You can interlibrary loan materials from other institutions. Books, articles, and some audiovisual materials can be acquired using this method. Give us at least a week to request the item in question. Articles are delivered electronically, while books and AV materials arrive through the mail.

... can't find a book on the shelf?
Please ask one of the librarians to assist you in finding it. If the book is needed for the assignment, we can search for it. In any case, it helps us to know which books are misplaced or missing.

... just need help, period?
That's what the Public Services Librarian is here for--to help you find resources. Visit the library during working hours, or schedule an appointment.

Renew Books Online

  1. Visit the Library Patron Login page in the OPAC.
  2. Enter your first and last name as the username.
  3. Enter the 12-digit barcode on the back of your faculty or student ID as the password.
  4. Click submit.