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The Dewey Decimal System still used despite switch to digital

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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- National Dewey Decimal System Day is December 10. The day is an opportunity to recognize the system that has been helping people find books for more than one hundred years.

"The idea with it especially in children's work-- is that people are interested in topics so the Dewey Decimal System is basically ten subject areas," said Maryce Quinn, Youth Services Librarian for Your Home Public Library in Johnson City.

Within those ten areas the more specific your topic, the longer the decimal number.

"You get into the planets, the solar system, outer space, you get into dinosaurs, prehistoric animals, fossils," Quinn said.

So how does this century old work stand up to today's digital world? Youth Services Librarian Maryce Quinn tells me the two are compatible.

"I know I need to go to the library and I want to see what they have I can go to their catalog online and it will tell me the number," said Quinn.

While you won't be using those old wooden catalogs from elementary school, the numbers you pull up online are the very same numbers that were on the cards.

While the two may intermingle now, Quinn says the need to organize physical books may soon become obsolete.

"Digital space is a lot less linear than physical space," said Quinn "It's all about finding the information as quickly and as efficiently as we possibly can and if this gets to the point where it doesn't really work we'll find another system to apply," Quinn said.

Quinn says whatever the new system may be, it will build upon the precedents set by the Dewey Decimal System.

Jack Arpey

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