DEWEY DECIMALS IN OUTER SPACE --------------------------- John Pazmino NYSkies Astronomy Inc nyskies@ nyskies.org www.nyskies.org 1979 September 1 initial 2005 June 4 current
[This article was written a quarter century ago. Note the optimism about space travel in the very first sentence! I have two other far future statements in this article. What are they?]
Not too long from now, certainly by the end of this century, outer space and other worlds will be another territory to be inhabited by people from Earth. An Earth fellow, before opening, say, a factory on Io, will want to do a little background reading before making the plunge. After all, it's good to know (among other things) what the factory wage scale is on Io. So he stops at a library here on Earth and the librarian looks up in the catalog. She nods and says, "Yes, we have a recent survey put out on that. The call number is 331.299925, over there toward the back." Or the businessman may be selling railroad equipment and he wants to know what the market may be on Mars. The library has a book on the rail systems of Mars, call number 385.099923. To anticipate the library needs when man's endeavors extend far beyond planet Earth, The Dewey Decimal Classification has already a provision in its coding system for the Moon, the planets, the Sun, and outer space in general. It is an extension of the existing codes for geographic subdivisions. A geographic subdivision is a set of digits added to the basic Dewey call number to indicate the geographic region the classified book deals with. For example, a book on the planetaria of Japan is given the Dewey call number 523.007652. The base number for "planetaria" is 523.0076 and the code for "Japan" is 52. The geographic subdivision codes for other worlds are given below.
99 - other worlds in general 9925 - Jupiter 991 - the Moon 9926 - Saturn 992 - solar system in general 9927 - Uranus 9921 - Mercury 9928 - Neptune 9922 - Venus 9929 - Pluto and beyond 9923 - Mars 993 - meteors and comets 9924 - minor planets 994 - the Sun
The individual planets include any satellites and rings. The codes 995 thru 999 are held in reserve for worlds outside of our solar system. Outer space in general is coded 19. While it is a little hard to imagine a book on the Franciscan missionary work on Halley's Comet (271.30993), the Dewey Decimal Classification is ready to accommodate it.