October 26, 2011

Seven forty-whaaat?

If you recognize the Dewey Decimal System classification code in the title of this blog, you're probably (a) a library-type like me or (b) a comics reader and library patron who has learned the number out of necessity, also like me. If not (and even so), what follows is a brief explanation of why I picked good old 741.5 for my title.

Real quick-like, the Dewey Decimal System is a classification scheme; that is to say it's the thing that says which book goes on which shelf. It has many limitations and many critics, but it is nevertheless the scheme that most public libraries use for most of their materials. I have mixed feelings about the Dewey Decimal System, but I'll save those thoughts for another day.

Basically, the scheme works by breaking the whole of human knowledge into each groups, each with its own 100s place.1 700 is "Arts and recreation", 740 is "Drawing and decorative arts", 741 is "Drawing and drawings" (so, both the act and the product) and 741.5 is "Comic books, graphic novels, fotonovelas, cartoons, caricatures, comic strips".2 741.5 is then broken down further based on country of origin and other details. Of course, some libraries (including mine) break comics out into their own collection that doesn't always fit into 741.5, but books (and comics) about comics will always be found there. (More about comics classifications to come.)

So there you have it:
741.5 and then some!

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Notes
1. Dewey hundreds, tens and ones places: http://dewey.info/
2. 741.5 briefly explained in a 2006 post at 025.431: The Dewey blog: http://ddc.typepad.com/025431/2006/02/comicbook_conun.html

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