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National Dewey Decimal System Day!

Today we celebrate the Dewey Decimal Day to show support to the method of the library classification system used in the around the world.  This day is observed annually on December 10th.

The Dewey Decimal System is a proprietary library classification system which was first published in the United States by Melvil Dewey.  He invented the method of the Dewey Decimal System in 1876 and has been used ever since.  The system has been functional for 140 years, and the most recent revisions were in 2011.

Melvil Dewey was a fan of simplifying his life through the organization and was emphatic about the efficiency of the library system. As an advocate for spelling reform, he changed his name from “Melville” to “Melvil” when he was young to get rid of unnecessary letters.

The Decimal Classification introduced the concept of relative location and relative index which allow new books to be added to a library in their appropriate location based on the subject.  Previously, libraries had given books permanent shelf locations that were related to the order of acquisition rather than a topic.

The classification’s notation makes use of three-digit Arabic numerals for main classes, with fractional decimals allowing expansion for further detail.  By using Arabic numerals for symbols, it is flexible to the degree that numbers can be expanded in a linear fashion to cover special aspects of general subjects.  The number makes it possible to find any book and to return it to its proper place on the library shelves.  The classification system is used in 200,000 libraries in at least 135 countries.

To celebrate this day, you can recognize his legacy celebrating his birthday, and admiring his work every time you go to your local library.  This system was truly appreciated by librarians because of its effectiveness in the classification of the library system.  Share on social media using #DeweyDecimalSystem to show appreciation to the system.

1690 First paper currency is issued in the Colonies

On December 10, 1690, a failed attack on Quebec and subsequent near-mutiny force the Massachusetts Bay Colony to issue the first paper currency in the history of the Western Hemisphere.

France and Britain periodically attacked each other’s North American colonies throughout the 17th and 18th Centuries. In 1690, during one such war, Governor William Phips of Britain’s Massachusetts Bay Colony made a promise he could not keep. After leading a successful invasion of the French colony of Arcadia, Phips decided to raid Quebec City, promising his volunteer troops half the loot in addition to their usual pay. Soldiers were typically paid in coins, but shortages of official currency in the colonies sometimes forced armies to temporarily issue IOUs—in one case, in the form of cut-up playing cards—which troops were allowed to exchange for goods and services until receiving their actual pay. Despite Phips’ grand promise, he failed to take the city, returning to Massachusetts with a damaged fleet and no treasure.

With a shortage of coins and nothing else to pay the troops with, Phips faced a potential mutiny. With no other option, on December 10th, 1690, the General Court of Massachusetts ordered the printing of a limited amount of government-backed, paper currency to pay the soldiers. A few months later, with tax season approaching, a law was passed removing the limit on how much currency could be printed, calling for the immediate printing of more, and permitting the use of paper currency for the payment of taxes.

(excerpted from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-paper-currency-is-issued-in-the-colonies)

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