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Dewey Decimal in the UIUC Bookstacks
-Anatomy of a
*Putting it Together
The Cutter Number
Among his other contributions to the wonderful world of librarianship,
Charles Ammi Cutter devised a way to assign an alpha-numeric code for
authors' last names. Use of this system allows all books within a particlar Dewey Decimal number to be arranged alphabetically on the shelf, usually by title. In "local practice" at the University Of Illinois, it's not quite this simple, but by following the shelving instructions we'll go over later, you'll know where to find the book you're looking for.
The Cutter system works as follows--a large book of tables consists of pages and pages of the following sort of thing. Catalogers try to assign distinct numbers for each name.
Doyle D 773
So in this case, David Doyle might get assigned a Cutter of D773, and George Doyle D774. Suppose Frank Doyle also wrote books.... The catalogers would make some room for him by going one more number place--maybe D7735, stuffing him in between David and George, and allowing room for more Doyles around him. It's a bit pesky, and the tables continue to be revised periodically. By the way, vowels and consonants get treated differently--names beginning in vowels, like Umberto Eco, get two letters--thus the Ec we see above. And names beginning with Sc-something get three letters and the usual bunch of numbers. Wow!
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