Today is the birthday of the man who made it easier for people to find library books, Melvil Dewey, born in Adams Centre, New York (1851). He started out as a librarian at Amherst College, where, like most libraries, the books were organized by size and color. Librarians just had to memorize where books were located, and it often took hours to find obscure titles. Dewey decided he could come up with a better way. The result was his Dewey Decimal System.
He divided all human knowledge into 10 main categories and then assigned each category a numerical value: 000-099 would be general works; 100-199 would be philosophy and psychology; 200-299 would be religion, and so on. And then each subject within the major categories could be assigned a numerical value within that range, allowing for infinite subdivisions, so that all books on similar subjects could be shelved near each other. Dewey first published his idea in 1876. His organizational system has since been translated into more than 30 languages, and it is in use in libraries in more than 100 countries around the world.
This is from the Writer’s Almanac