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Dewey: the Library's New Classification System

This is happening during the summer:

All fiction titles will be re-classified, both in the catalogue and on the shelf. Novels and short stories will be given the shelfmark “Skön”, drama will have “Drama”, poetry will have “Lyrik”, and books for children and young people will get “Unga”. We hope that this will be completed before the start of term in September.


The new classification system
- from letters to numbers

Malmö University Library has started using a new system for organising how our books are placed on the shelves. Up till now, we have used SAB, the Swedish classification system which uses letters, but this year, we have started using the Dewey Decimal System which uses numbers instead. You may already be familiar with Dewey from libraries in other countries.

From 1st March, all new books, except for fiction as you can see above, have been given a number and arranged numerically on a temporary shelf. These books will later be moved to their corresponding subject areas in the library. The books in the existing collections will be given the new shelfmarks of numbers, starting this summer at the earliest. This project will take some time to complete - ask at the information desk if you can't find what you're looking for or if you need to know more.

The Dewey Decimal system is made up of 10 main classes or categories, which are each divided into secondary classes:

  • 000 – Information and general works
  • 100 – Philosophy and psychology
  • 200 – Religion
  • 300 – Social sciences
  • 400 – Languages
  • 500 – Science and Mathematics
  • 600 – Technology applied science
  • 700 – Arts and recreation
  • 800 – Literature
  • 900 - History and geography

Most of Sweden's university libraries have decided to follow the National Library by converting to Dewey, the most widely used classification system in the world. There are several reasons for this, not least to improve the visibility of Swedish research abroad. Also, most of the English language material that the library acquires is already classed according to Dewey and these codes can therefore be reused.

Read more about Dewey from the Library of Congress and from Swedish National Library (in Swedish).


Last updated by Maria Brandström