The Year Of Living Danishly – A Dewey Discussion

Recently, I borrowed the book The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell.  It is an autobiography of sorts; the author – a journalist – finds herself living in Denmark for a year, and sets out to find out what makes Danes the happiest people in the world.  It’s definitely memoir, lifestyle, social experiment.

And yet I found it alongside travel guides for Denmark.
Cover of book

Why? How is this possible?

Well, it turns out that most libraries classify it as

900 – History and Geography

940 – History of Europe

948 – Scandinavia and Finland

948.9 Denmark and Finland. Trove stops here – 948.9

and then I lose the thread to get to 948.950612. One NSW library uses this specific Dewey number for their electronic copy of the book.

I don’t see this is a history book.  It’s definitely about culture.

But this is not where my library classifies it.

My library classifies it as

900 – History and geography

910 – Geography and travel

914.89 – Using table 2 for 4- Europe 48 – Scandinavia – 489 Denmark and Finland

Which means it sits with the travel guides (Lonely Planet Denmark is 914.8904).

To me, another option (less popular but used enough to warrant a mention on Classify) makes more sense.

300 – Social Sciences

306 – Culture and Institutions

306.09 – Social history

306.09489 – From table 2, 4 for Europe, 48 for Scandinavia, 489 for Denmark and Finland

That at least places it in with social customs, rather than travel guides.

The back of the book has a small topic guide – Society/Travel. But it’s primarily society, not travel and definitely not history.

Dewey Number and Book Number

Mystery #2. My local library uses the title (well the first three letters of the title) as the book number, instead of the author like SCIS does.  Is this common?  I checked two other libraries I’m a member of that Trove listed as having a copy, and they both use “RUSS” for the book number.

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