Arbitrary precision

I love libraries. I have spent a lot of time in them. I have borrowed lots of books from them.

One of the great things is the Dewey Decimal Classification system - which allows you to reasonably quickly find a book (at home I tend to organize books roughly by subject matter and size).

What I have always found odd, is how precise some of the numberings are. I am aware of the gross categorizations, you can look at it here, but many go well beyond being 800 or 650. They include narrowings like 803. They go to even further precision by appending some decimal digits - 808.02.

Today I picked up a book that has a very long decimal sequence 791.430233. Not only that, but it has a further refinement of R514. It makes me wonder me wonder what range of titles lie between 791.430232 and 791.430234.

The book I picked up (among others) is this one, but, before following the link, why not try to find it by the DDC classification.


ghee said…
Hi Richard!Its been a while.
I missed yah for how many days :)

Amazing! reminded me a lot of things.

and im also amazed that you manage to read books even you are so busy.
Richard said…
I read quickly and don't always finish the books (if they are not interesting), I also cut back on sleep so I can read.

It has been hard to blog the past little while because (1) my computer was in for servicing, (2) I do sometimes have to do more than just keep my chair warm at work :)
Barbara said…
I'm constantly amazed that the Dewey Decimal System has continued to work so well with untold changes in the world since its conception. I always loved studying those numbers and reshelving books in my school's library.
Richard said…
I don't think it is so amazing, given that the broad subject matters have not changed. I just find it amusing when books are given what appears to me an arbitrarily large precision for classification.

It doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough to find a book without scanning through hundreds of titles.
I like the simplicity of the Gr. 1-3 library books! Just "E" for picture book and then ABC order of last name of author from there! That's enough for those little guys for now. We do introduce the DDC for science and non-fiction, but very simply.
I don't know one kid who doesn't like going to library classes.

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