Library of Congress

The Dewey Program at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Acquisitions, Cataloging > Dewey > History of Dewey at LC
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The Library of Congress (LC) has been the biggest single contributor of Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) numbers for American libraries since 1930.  It was originally known as “DC on LC,” that is, Dewey Classification numbers on Library of Congress catalog cards. For the first thirty-five years, twenty to thirty thousand Dewey numbers were added per year by the Library of Congress. The numbers peaked in the 1970s and 1980s with close to one hundred thousand Dewey numbers contributed per year. In FY2013, the Dewey Program contributed 48,893 standard Dewey numbers in original cataloging records. These Dewey numbers appear in MARC records and are made available to libraries when they download records from bibliographic utilities or obtain records from their book vendors. Dewey numbers also appear in every record created as part of the Cataloging in Publication Program.

The DDC association with the Library of Congress began in 1923 when its editorial offices moved to the Library, which was seven years before LC began adding Dewey numbers to LC records. The chief of the Decimal Classification Division was simultaneously the editor-in-chief of the DDC, which was published by Forest Press. In 1988, OCLC acquired Forest Press, and in 1993 Joan Mitchell was appointed as editor-in-chief by OCLC. In 2008, the Decimal Classification Division became the Dewey Section within U.S. General Division, and in 2013 the Section was moved to the U.S. Programs, Law, and Literature Division, where it currently resides. In 2013, after Ms. Mitchell retired, OCLC appointed Michael Panzer as editor-in-chief. 

The Dewey Program combines the classification work by Library of Congress staff and the editorial work by OCLC staff in one office. Having the editorial office within the Dewey Program enables the editors to detect trends in the literature that must be incorporated into the Classification. The editors prepare proposed schedule revisions and expansions, and forward the proposals to the Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee (EPC) for review and recommended action. The current Dewey Program Manager, on behalf of the Director for Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access, represents the Library of Congress at EPC meetings.