- Is the Synthetic Expression Method of the Dewey Decimal
- No.38, p.1-22
It is often explained in textbooks that the synthetic expression method (synthesis of notation by auxiliary tables or other parts of the schedule) of the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) is a device for treating complex subjects. However, such an explanation is wrong and based upon a confusion of the “synthetic expression method” for notation system with the “analytico-synthetic procedure” for subject structure. The analytico-synthetic procedure is a procedure for applying division principles to subjects specific to classification systems with multi-dimensional structure such as Colon Classification. While division principles are to be applied in due order in the hierarchical structure, they can freely be applied in the multidimensional structure. Therefore, complex subjects can easily be classified and thus better treated in the latter structure. Also, it is true that most classification systems with the multidimensional structure have adopted the synthetic expression method for their notation systems. However, the subject structure is in principle nothing to do with the notation system of a classification system. Any subject, which can be expressed by the synthetic expression method, can also be expressed by the enumerative method. Therefore, the synthetic expression method of the DDC cannot be an effective device for treating complex subjects (as compared with the enumerative expression method).
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