Technology (Applied Sciences) Books: Home Library Organization

April 11, 2021

People who love books often accumulate large collections. It can be frustrating when you want to find a particular book but have trouble tracking it down. You’re pretty sure you have it, but it’s lost among all the others. 

In an earlier post, I outlined the advantages of using the Dewey Decimal Classification system for organizing your nonfiction books. If you have a lot of nonfiction print books in your collection, reading that post is the first step.

Every book collection is different. The point is to narrow your collection down more specifically, so you will be able to locate the books effortlessly when you need to find one. An added benefit is the serendipitous connections that can be made when similar books are placed together.

600s Technology (applied sciences)

The 600s are applied sciences. They are disciplines that have come about as a result of humans tinkering with their environment. Our manipulation of plants and mammals gives us agriculture; our manipulation of physical principles and materials creates all sorts of technology like televisions and bicycles; our manipulation of edible materials creates recipes for food and drink. Libraries that use the Dewey Decimal Classification system, divide those subjects in the order below.

600-609     Technology (applied sciences)

This first in the applied sciences section covers the books that provide overviews of two or more disciplines.  And, like all the sections, general dictionaries, and encyclopedias of general applied sciences and technologies would be shelved here.

Recommended in general applied science and technology books:

  • The Way Things Work, published in 1989, 2000, and 2016 by David Macaulay
  • Inventing Modern America; From the Microwave to the Mouse by David E. Brown
  • They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine: Two Centuries of Innovators by Harold Evans

610-619     Medicine and health

The books covered in the 610s are for humans. Health and medicine books for animals will either be in veterinary medicine in the 630s or in the 590s under animals. Books on medicine, health professions, and biographies of individuals in the healthcare fields go in the 610s.  Works on how to treat diseases and injuries and those on pharmaceuticals and therapeutic interventions, including for mental health issues are shelved in this section. It also houses books on specialized areas such as dentistry, audiology (hearing), geriatrics, gynecology, and pediatrics.

Health and safety go in this area, so do books on nutrition, exercise, and healthy habits.

Recommended medicine and health books:

  • The Take-Charge Patient: How You Can Get the Best Medical Care by Martine Ehrenclou
  • How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman
  • A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes by Adam Rutherford
  • Death by Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics, and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health by Denise Minger
  • Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen
  • How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris
  • The Price of Ovulation: The Truth about Fertility Drugs and Birth Defects, and a Solution to the Problem by Terence Mix

620-629     Engineering and allied operations

Engineering includes concerns like design, quality, remote control technology, and nanotechnology.

Books about computer software and programming belong in the 000s (General Knowledge), but books about computer hardware and hardware systems fit into engineering, so do electronics.  military, nautical, and civil engineering also go here, as do books on structural engineering and landscape architecture.

Finally, the last subdivision houses the books on the branches of engineering relating to transportation, aerospace, and aircraft. Land vehicles like cars, trucks, engines, and motorcycles are placed at the very end.

Recommended books in engineering:

  • The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes
  • The Great Bridge by David McCullough
  • The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

630-639     Agriculture and related technologies

Agriculture has books on farm buildings, tools, fertilizers, pests, and field crops like tea, coffee, and cocoa. This section also includes books for people who raise flower and vegetable gardens of all kinds.

Books on raising animals either for their food or their products like fur, wool, milk, eggs, or honey go in the 630s. Pet books go here, from dogs to snakes to peacocks. The veterinary medicine books go here. Books on beekeeping and silkworm manufacture belong here too.

Finally, books on hunting and fishing conservation are shelved in this section.  Books on recreational hunting, fishing, and the like go in the 700s, Arts and Recreation.

Recommended books in agriculture:

  • Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for Farmers by Mark Shephard
  • The Seasoned Gardener: Garden Wisdom Cultivated from More than Four Decades by Carolyn Singer
  • Garden Wisdom 365 Days by Cheryl Wilfong
  • Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay by William W. Warner

640-649     Home and family management

This section contains cookbooks. In most public libraries, the cookbooks alone take up a hefty chunk of real estate.

Other housing concerns like cleaning, furnishings, and clothing go here. This is also where you find books on how to raise children and care for elderly parents.

Books on managing public institutions like office buildings, hotels, and schools,  are shelved here too.

Recommended books by home and family management:

  • Amy Barickman’s Vintage Notions: An Inspirational Guide to Needlework, Cooking, Sewing, Fashion, and Fun by Amy Barickman
  • Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard and the Reinvention of American Taste by Luke Barr
  • How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food  by Mark Bittman
  • Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage by Charles D. and Elizabeth A. Schmitz
  • 18 Master Values: Be the Parent You Wish You’d Had by Christine Crockett Smith

650-659     Management and auxiliary services

Management and auxiliary services are where the practical books for running businesses are shelved. Business communications, accounting, personnel management, marketing, advertising, and public relations are some of the topics in this division.

Recommended books in management:

  • What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard N. Bolles
  • Conscious Business: How to Build through Values by Fred Kofman
  • The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu

660-669     Chemical engineering and related technologies

This section, while full of useful topics, is not one most people think of reading for fun. Some of the topics covered here are biotechnology, genetic engineering, explosives, food technology, pottery making, and metallurgy.

Recommended books in chemical engineering:

  • Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life by Marcus Wohlsen
  • Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsessions with Bottled Water by Peter Gleick
  • Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller
  • Encyclopedia of Pottery and Porcelain, 1800-1960 by Elisabeth Cameron

670-679     Manufacturing

This section, depending on the library, may contain books on welding, lumber processing, wood products, leather, paper, and textiles.

Recommended books on manufacturing:

  • On Paper: The Everything of its Two-Thousand Year History by Nicholas Basbanes
  • Wearable Prints, 1760-1860: History, Materials, and Mechanics  by Susan W. Greene

680-689     Manufacture of products for specific uses

Handicrafts, scales, clocks, blacksmithing, locksmithing, small firearms, woodworking, leatherworking, bookmaking, sewing equipment, and toys are some of the subjects shelved in this division.

Recommended books in manufacture for specific uses:

  • Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World by David S. Landes
  • A Blacksmithing Primer: A Course in Basic and Intermediate Blacksmithing by Randy McDaniel
  • Book Design and Production: A Guide for Authors and Publishers  by Malcolm E. Baker
  • The Cult of Lego by John Baichtal and Joe Meon

690-699     Construction of buildings

If you’ve ever considered building a shed or a house for yourself, here’s your section. It covers everything from planning to floor coverings.

Recommended books in buildings:

  • House by Tracey Kidder
  • Cheap, Quick, and Easy: Imitative Architectural Materials, 1870-1930 by Pamela H. Simpson
  • Timber Frames: Designing Your Custom Home  by Jeremy Bonin
  • Natural Home Heating: The Complete Guide to Renewable Energy Options by Greg Pahl

You’ve arranged your technology books

Once you have further subdivided your applied science and technology books, be sure to update any records you may have made for them. Part of the joy of having a system is that you will never need to worry about misplacing a beloved book again.

This is a massive section with a wide-ranging set of disciplines. If you have one that makes of most of your book collection, share it below!


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