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Dewey and Doing Research
Melvil Dewey invented the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system when he was 21 and working as a student assistant in the library of Amherst College. His work created a revolution in library science and set in motion a new era of librarianship. Melvil Dewey well deserves the title of “Father of Modern Librarianship.”
Understanding Call Numbers
The Dewey Decimal Classification helps us organize our library and provides a breakdown of specific areas of nonfiction books. This makes it easy to research and gather information about specific topics. Since this is a standard used in most libraries, by learning it now you will be able to use it for the rest of your life.
Using Books for Research
A book doesn't need to be read cover-to-cover to be used for research. Begin by evaluating the item to determine how appropriate it might be.
Look at these parts of a book when deciding how the book might be used in your research:
The Title Page gives publication information such as complete title, names of all authors or editors, edition of the book, name of the publisher and city of publication, and date of publication.
The Table of Contents appears at the front of a book and gives a list of the chapters or sections in a book, usually with the corresponding page number. The table of contents may give a general idea of the topics covered in the book as well as how the book is arranged (e.g., chronologically or topically).
A List of Illustrations, which may appear at the front of a book, gives a list of photographs, drawings, tables, or other types of illustrations used to support the contents of the book, usually with corresponding page numbers.
A Preface, Forward, or Introduction may provide the reader with ideas about the author's intention or purpose for writing the book, and may give an indication of the depth of research presented.
A Bibliography is a list of materials related to a specific topic. The list may be items that were used as sources for the work they accompany, or it may be a list of additional materials on the topic. Bibliographies may be located at the ends of chapters throughout the book, or at the end of the book.
The Index, which is usually located in the back of the book, is an alphabetical list of the specific subjects in the book, along with the corresponding page numbers. Indexes may provide names, dates, events, geographic locations, and other detailed terms related to the contents of the book. Browsing an index is an excellent way to identify exactly where in the book relevant information may be located. An index can also provide subject terms and keywords that might be useful for further research on a topic.
The Glossary of a book will give meanings to words used in the book. Vocabulary words or new words in the book will be here.