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Dissertation Information for John Phillip Comaromi

NAME:
- John Phillip Comaromi

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA) (1969)

ADVISORS:
- Russell E. Bidlack

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- Wallace J. Bonk
- Edmon Low
- Robert G. Schafer

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: A HISTORY OF THE DEWEY DECIMAL CLASSIFICATION: EDITIONS ONE THROUGH FIFTEEN. 1876-1951

Abstract: This study is a history of the DEWEY Decimal Classification through its first fifteen editions (1876-1951). The study is essentially the biography of a book: how it came to be and how it grew.

The sources for the study were the correspondence and papers found in the Melvil Dewey Collection at Columbia University; the files of Forest Press, published of the DDC, at Lake Placid Club, New York; the editorial files at the Decimal Classification Division of the Library of Congress; librarianship periodicals current for the period of this study; and the first fifteen editions of the DDC.

The history of the DDC has not been told. There have been biographies of its founder, Melvil Dewey, in which we find sketched the outline of its history, but this study is the first attempt to treat in depth the development of American librarianship. The reader will find that although fifteen editions of the DDC are discussed, almost half of the study is devoted to an examination of the logical structures of the first two editions (1876; 1885). The reason for this is that the structure of knowledge that one finds in the second editions is essentially that which one finds in subsequent editions. The second half of the study examines subsequent developments in the DDC. The problems involved in publishing the DDC are discussed as well.

In 1876 Melvil Dewey published the first edition of the DDC. Its outline had been drawn from a scheme done by William Torrey Harris, whose though in this matter had been influences by the ideas of Sir Francis ?? and C. W. F Hegel. Dewey and Several members of teh Amherst College faculty provided the 1000 headings that composed the classification.

American librarians soon came to adopt the scheme for its ease of application and general usefulness. Their acceptance prompted a much expanded second edition, which appeared from Columbia College in 1885. Following hard upon its publication came the harsh criticism of fellow librarians Jacob Schwartz and Frederic Perkins, both of whom had published library classifications, who attacked many aspects of the scheme and Dewey's claims to originality. Dewey and others denied the charges and refuted the criticism.

In increasing numbers American and foreign libraries adopted the scheme. In 1890 Dewey authorized a translation into French for the Institut International de Bibliographie.

The third and last edition under Dewey's editorship appeared in 1888. In 1891 came the fourth edition, edited by May Seymour, who continued until her death in 1921. During her tenure the DDC grew steadily in size and significance. Jenie Dorkas Fellows succeeded her as editor in 1921, stepping down in 1937. From 1876 to 1937 there had been continuity in editorial policy and direction. Dewey had removed himself from an active role in librarianship in 1906, but he had not given up control of the DDC. His death in 1931 and Miss Fellows' retirement broke the editorial continuity and brought on a crisis that would culminate in 1951 in the unsuccessful fifteenth edition. The fifteenth edition, nevertheless, made possible some necessary modernizing.

The current editor, Benjamin A. Custer, with assistance from the Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee and a committee of the American Library Association, brought out in 1958 the sixteenth edition and subsequently in the seventeenth edition in 1965, which two editions, taken together with the fourteenth edition, comprise the most widely used library classification.

MPACT Scores for John Phillip Comaromi

A = 0
C = 1
A+C = 1
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:18:41

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Students under John Phillip Comaromi

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- Mahvash Keshmiri Momeni - University of Maryland (1982)