The Dewey Decimal System is used to organise resources in most school libraries/resource centres.

Each subject is given a number and the books and other items are arranged on the shelves in number order, according to their topic/subject.

  • Do you know which numbers are given to different topics?
  • Do you know who invented the system?

This kidcyber WebQuest will help you answer these questions and help you to understand how the Dewey system works, so that you can more easily find items in your library.

You will find out

  • about the inventor, Melvil Dewey, and why the system was invented
  • how Dewey numbers are assigned to subjects/topics
  • how the Dewey numbers are used to keep all items about the same topic/subject together on the shelves
  • how to create call numbers

Your Task:

The library computer system has crashed and the librarian is away on leave. You have been asked to help out in the library to help patrons find resources and to re-shelve any returned items.

You will have to use your knowledge of the Dewey Decimal Classification system to locate items, and to correctly shelve returned library items.

You will also prepare some display items to help users learn some Dewey numbers and how call numbers are created.

The Process and resources:

By gathering the resources below and then reading about the topic you will acquire the knowledge needed for the task. You can check you knowledge by completing the kidcyber task pages.

Step 1: Read Melvil Dewey: a biography.

Find the kidcyber page here.

Step 2: Collect a copy of the response page and complete Dewey task 1

Find the task sheet here: Dewey Task 1

Step 3: Read: how Dewey organised information (the 10 main areas)

Find the kidcyber page here.

Step 4: Collect a copy of the response page and complete Dewey task 2

Step 5: Read: how Dewey extended his numbering system in each of the hundreds

Find the kidcyber page here

Step 6: Collect a copy the response page ‘about call numbers’ and how to construct them and complete Dewey task 3.

Step 6: Read: Some more Dewey numbers online

Find the kidcyber page here

Step 7: Collect a copy of the response page and complete Dewey task 4

Step 8: A Presentation

The Presentation

To help other library users locate library resources prepare some illustrated Dewey guides like the one below about technology.

Use your own illustrations, computer graphics, magazine pictures etc. Share them with the class and display in the library.

Step 9: Evaluation


Collect a copy of the evaluation sheet.

Rate how well you think you worked at this kidcyber WebQuest and talk about it with your teacher.