• Thank you Pat.  I found the order form and will be placing the order shortly.


  • The order form for the printed copy of the Dewey 200 Religion Class  isn't easy to locate on the OCLC website.  It is on the same form that is used for subscriptions to WebDewey, a product far too expensive for most church libraries.   Go to and look for the link labeled Printable Order Form.  It's listed immediately above the more prominent "Request a free 30-day trial of WebDewey."  Unfortunately the description of the order form does not even mention the 200 Religion Class.

    I'm describing how to locate the information, since the link changes every time OCLC updates their website--and also whenever they update the order form itself.

        200 Religion Class - extracted from the complete Dewey Edition 23 (©2012) - $30.00
        Abridged Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index, Edition 15 (©2012) - $82.40 (reduced from $103.00)

    This combination is used by many church libraries, including mine.  New editions are generally published every 7-8 years.

  • My suggestion would be to order the recently updated version of the Classification Guide for Church Libraries available through LifeWay.  When you order you can download and print it immediately.  There is also a free subject headings guide available in the list at the bottom of the main page on this CLN website.  All of these Dewey numbers and subject headings have been carefully researched to confirm that they meet the needs of most church libraries.

    That being said, you can contact OCLC, the company which publishes the Dewey resources to see if you can purchase a copy.  The website is listed below.  Read the statement which I copied from the website regarding the newer Dewey religion numbers.

     This is a statement copied from the website on the page listing this item:  

    "Another exciting feature of 200 Religion Class is an optional arrangement for the Bible and specific religions based on a chronological/regional view. For some time now, we have been exploring the development of an alternative view of 200 Religion to reduce Christian bias in the standard notational sequence for the Bible and specific religions." 

    I'm not sure I wish to use the "alternative view . . .  to reduce Christian bias"   . . .

    • You can see the "optional arrangement" here: Basically, it arranges the world's religions chronologically and regionally, but without changing the Dewey numbers.

      I guess libraries using this optional arrangement would still shelve in Dewey numerical order, but could use this as a kind of alternate "directory" to their religion collection. This optional arrangement will probably get most of its use outside the Americas and Europe, where religions other than Christianity have a larger presence, but I can see some public libraries here posting it, too. I am glad they left the Dewey numbers themselves unchanged, though.
      • The Dewey Editorial Policy Committee recently approved an optional order for 220–299 that utilizes the optional arrangement we discussed back in 2015. You can find it discussed here. The numbers themselves are here.

        The blog post emphasizes “that the set of notations generated by the mapping do not constitute official optional numbers for the 200s. The mapping exists only as a subsection of the Manual note at 220-290 Optional arrangement for the Bible and specific religions; no option notes have been added to standard numbers in the 200s.” One public library in Kansas has announced that it will begin using the optional arrangement. Adoption may be slow, however, because of the resources required to reclassify so many books and because a library using the optional arrangement won’t be able to borrow Dewey numbers from other libraries as easily as they can currently. Still, you may hear more about this in coming years.

        Mapping 220‒290 standard notation to the Optional arrangement for the Bible and specific religions
        Guest post by Rebecca Green The 2012 publication of the last print edition of 200 Religion Class was accompanied by a Dewey blog posting that include…
      • The Christian bias built into Dewey is pretty evident when you realize that all of Judaism is assigned a single number (296) and many other major world religions have even less space (Buddhism, 294.3; Hinduism: 294.5) Just think how long your numbers would need to be for any meaningful division of topics if Christianity were allocated that small a section of Dewey!

        Here's a succinct explanation of the most dramatic changes to Dewey affecting Christian libraries:

        "The 200s were changed to reduce Christian bias. This was spread out over Editions 21 and 22. In DDC 21 we saw Christianity moved from 200 to 230 along with the removal of the subdivisions of Christianity from 201-209 to 230-270. . . . In DDC 22 Comparative religions is relocated from 291 to 200. The subdivisions of 291 are moved to 201-209. “Religious mythology, general classes of religion, interreligious relations and attitudes, social theology” has been relocated from 291.1 to 201. For example the attitude of religion toward economics has been moved from 291.1785 to 201.73." ("DDC 22 - Dewey Decimal Classification Edition 22 – Just What You Need to Know," by Donna Schroeder. TechKNOW, August 2003, p. 2)

        In the libraries where I work, I took advantage of these changes to weed out of date material from the 291 section.  For those items which remained, I re-assigned the new Dewey numbers so that they would not be separated from newer materials being added to the collection. For the benefit of future library workers, I documented the changes in a non-public field and penciled the new numbers in Cataloging-in-Publication data on the books themselves.

        Of course this evening I see that there are a few titles added more recently which slipped through with 291 numbers.  Updating those is a project for next week!

        • Thanks for the explanation of the changes.

    • Thank you Sandra and Pat for your replies.  I know about the Classification Guide for church libraries though Lifeway.  In fact, I do have the recently updated version.  I just always like using the 200 Religion Class myself rather than the Lifeway publication, as it does not seem detailed enough for me.  That is an interesting statement.Sandra, about the alternative view.  I'm not sure I would like that either. 

      I have gone to the OCLC website but could not see where to purchase one either, Pat.  Perhaps I can call them, somehow.  At any rate, thanks for your suggestions.


      • " to reduce Christian bias" - I think this is a poor choice of wording. Maybe  it's a contemporarily  "politically correct" thought, but any "bias" is not in the content but rather that so much of the 200 section number range (generally religion and mythology) is/was set aside and used for the Christian faith. At the time of Mr. Dewey, an American, the Christian faith was the main faith of the American people, with the Jewish population a small percentage and other faiths a combined negligible percentage. Church life was one of the main social structures, if not the main one.  Mr. Dewey was devising his system for American libraries and American users. Times have changed and  Americans are a far more diverse lot religiously, as well as from an intellectual/educational standpoint. In addition, nearly every country in the world has adopted Dewey (notable exception, Sweden - there may be a few others). Obviously other countries have far more non-Christian literature and media than just a copy of the religious book(s) which they would designate as holy or scripture, to be cataloged. So it makes sense that they might perceive the lack of a similar amount of "room" (really numerical range) on the shelf or range assignment as "bias." I doubt that it was ever intended to be so. Mr. Dewey was into organizing and categorizing (among other pursuits) but his lack of foresight was probably not due to intentional bias. - Just my thoughts.

      • Carol,

        Click on "Printable Order Form" in my previous response. If you have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your PC, it should download the PDF form you need to place the order.  The form says "No Telephone Orders, please."  Check with a friend, or church office staff if you have trouble  downloading it.

        I too prefer using the full Dewey version for the 200's.  As our collection of materials in that Dewey area expanded, I had to go back and change older items from abridged numbers to more specific ones in order to keep related materials together.

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