Ditching Dewey: Catalog Changes

Making changes in the catalog is an important part of the genrefication process. If possible, I would recommend doing this step of the process over the summer, when most books are returned. Of course, I didn’t…and it took quite some time to “catch” all of the books that were out at the time of the change.


For our fiction books, I first cleaned up the record in Destiny, making sure all of the call numbers followed the F ABC format, instead of Fic ABC. Then, one of my awesome volunteers went section by section, working through the books, adding an extra letter (seen in the photo above) to denote the genre category. Like I said, we did this in the middle of the year, which made it a messy process to complete as books were constantly being checked out and returned. We also did books one by one, because I didn’t think to use the Batch Update feature (DUH!) in Destiny. Lesson learned, and we used batch update when we genrefied the nonfiction section. Here’s what a sample of our fiction section looks like in the catalog:


For nonfiction, we used the batch update feature to add the category name in front of the call number. I didn’t want to get rid of the Dewey call numbers completely just in case…so they’re still there:


This is what things look like in Destiny when you do a Batch Update:

batch update

You would set the update up to make the changes you want, then scan in the books to the barcode list. SO much quicker and easier!

Making catalog changes is definitely not the most glamorous step in the genrefication process, but it must be done (and done correctly!).

Next up in this series is the most glamorous step of all…Signage!

23 thoughts on “Ditching Dewey: Catalog Changes

  1. I want to jump right into this but am a bit nervous! This is my first year in a middle school library and this makes so much sense for middle school students! . I am worried about the mess that I am going to make in the library and giving up the way my library has always been arranged. I can’t quite figure out how to arrange my books but I am going to work on that this week. I am hoping to start with one genre at a time-maybe sports and get that section like I want it, then go to another genre.

  2. Congratulations on NB!! I know how excited you were to have achieved this goal. I did it 10 years ago when I was an elementary library media specialist. Since then my school districted restructured and I moved to an elementary school as a classroom teacher. Last school year I knew I would have the opportunity to move back into the library at our middle school so I went through the renewal process-I was almost as nervous this time around as the first time. I did renew-Yay! and am loving the middle school. I have decided to jump into the genrefication of our library because my students come in looking for a particular genre and then we are searching all over the library. Also I know this will force me to do some heavy weeding-which we really need. So— I have researched and researched and finally have my plan and am so excited about this process. have ordered my labels and drawn out how I am going to arrange my library. I have pulled my sports books (fiction and nonfiction)-that is the first genre that I am going to work on . First problem- I am trying to do a batch change in the call number category from FIC to S FIC which is how I plan to distinguish my sports fiction. Destiny is telling me that is not a valid call number so I know I must change that somewhere in Destiny. Any ideas where? If not, I’ll call the company to see if they can help.

    1. You can’t change it the batch way. Destiny doesn’t recognize any unique call number and you can’t set it up to input your own versions. Unfortunately I discovered this too late. I already started Genrefying and set mine up as HISTORICAL FIC etc. Only after I got halfway through did I discover that Destiny will not recognize that call number. I believe this is why Mighty chose to keep the F for Fiction first in the call number. Destiny does recognize F and FIC

      1. You can do a batch update, but it must be one word. For example, you can’t do HISTORICAL FIC, but you can do HISTORICAL-FIC. I did my fiction collection at the beginning of the year and started with Historical-F, Sports-F, etc, but decided to just change them all to Historical, Sports, etc. Again, that was a simple Global Update to remove the -F. I am not reorganizing dewey. Fiction made sense to me, but to me, nonfiction is already organized into categories.

  3. I was wondering if you are going to explain further how you set up the non fiction books. I thought fiction sounded like a huge task. Non fiction sounds positively daunting.

  4. Thank you all the info on your website! I genre-fied our ficiton section two years ago. We updated the catalog and reprinted all new spine labels before we ever moved the books. We did not do a batch update, but did print new labels by batch scanning. Then we did made the move in one fell swoop with lots of help the day after the kids left for summer break. I have not regretted it – it has been wonderful and kids definitely get the genre concept! It is a pain to have to reprint spine labels when we get new fiction books in, but it is worth it.

    Now I’m working on reorganizing Dewey. It is sooooo necessary to have a user-friendly collection for all. I’m not reprinting the spine labels, but using color coded transparent label protectors. But I do think I will work on updating the catalog record so everyone will know what category a book is under. So far my categories are Supernatural, Religion, Mythology and Traditional Lit, Wild Animals (including Dinosaurs), Pets, Arts/Crafts/Music, Sports, Health (Body, Food, Fitness), History, Social Studies, Math/Science, Nature & Ecology (include insects/spiders), Reference (for checking out!) and Literature (basically Poetry/Plays)

    It is sooo much fun to switch things up and I know it will be a hit. A bit chaotic as I am moving the books first. Maybe I shouldn’t but Dewey has been driving me crazy for years!

  5. Now that I’m in the middle of this I wonder if I am crazy for doing it. I have books everywhere and the library is a mess. I am hoping that we love this after all this!

  6. I am finally finished with the fiction section! I got overwhelmed several times during the process but am so glad I stuck with it. My students have had positive comments so hopefully it will be worth the time and effort. I do plan to do the nonfiction but I need to weed heavily before I even start. Hopefully I have learned some things while doing the fiction section that will save time and my sanity!

    1. Michelle, I’m so excited for you!! That is so AWESOME! It’s definitely an overwhelming process, but so worth it. I’m glad that your students are enjoying it…and I think you’ll find that as they get used to it they will love it even more! Give yourself a little break and celebrate your success…then dive into nonfiction. And weed mercilessly!

  7. OK-I have weeded-a lot! So now I am ready to start the nonfiction section and am finding myself somewhat hesitant. Its difficult to move a book from the 300 section to a history section or to move books around. any advice on getting started?
    I so appreciate all your comments and help.

    1. First of all…be proud of yourself for accomplishing all of that weeding!! YAY!

      For me, that’s what made me the most excited about this — getting those military vehicle books next to the history books about war! If you want to just start with the war section, put up some signage, and see how excited your students get to see all of those books TOGETHER, maybe that’s the way to get started.

  8. I’ve started the process by pulling all the historical fiction books. I’m doing it similar to you except I used HF instead of FH. Do you think that will be a problem? We also use Destiny and I’ll check out the batch feature, Did you put your easy books in with the fiction? I’ve stayed clear of that, for now. I think I would use some different genres for the easy section.

    One issue that we have run into is the “seasonal” shelf. I would like to have all the Christmas, Halloween, etc. together from all sections of the library . But, is changing the call number in Destiny enough? Should I do new spine labels? I’m trying to avoid changing the book spine labels at all costs, but we would have e’s, f’s, and numbers all together and I would like some order! So excited to be doing this!

    1. It’s easiest for Destiny reports to leave your leading letter(s) F(IC) otherwise your fiction circulation will have to be totalled. If you want to drill down by genre, you can but if you don’t have it all together, your stats, collection analyses, etc. will be messed up.

      I ended up doing double work on changing in Destiny but did not bother to reprint spine labels. Even so, I’d never turn back on organizing my fiction by genre. I haven’t gotten to the point of reorganizing the non fiction section. I guess I need to read more about how others are doing that! 🙂

  9. Your blog posts have been enormously useful! I want to move away from Dewey and I’m trying to figure out how cataloging/call numbers should work for nonfiction.

    In Destiny, do you specify subcategories in another field? I’m trying to figure out whether it makes sense (or is possible) to include the full location (e.g., HISTORY CIVIL WAR) in the call number, or just to include the broad category, and indicate subcategory in another field.

    Thoughts or examples (from anyone) much appreciated!

    1. I don’t have the sublocation noted anywhere, but I can definitely see the benefit of doing that. I don’t think I would put the full location in the call number — I would put it in a another field in the record.

  10. I am trying to batch update my fiction books so that they are F rather than Fic, but when I go to the update link, the only changes I can make are to Author, Subject, Site specific subject, Series, Material type and Obsolete tag. Call number isn’t a choice. Do you have suggestions about this?

    1. I go to “Update Copies”, then “Batch Update” and under “Select a Copy Field” click “Change Call Number Prefix to”. If you don’t have that, it may be an issue with rights on the admin side, and you may need to speak to your Destiny admin. Hope this helps!

  11. I am just starting the process of reorganizing so bare with me 😉 Did you change the prefix to F + the new section letter and the authors first 3 of the last name (i.e., FH DEF) just in Destiny or did you make changes to the spine labels, too? The fiction section in my library is currently labeled with FIC as the prefix. I wasn’t sure if you had shortened yours or if you had originally had F on the spine labels to begin with before you starting reorganizing. Will it make that much of a difference to kids if you have FH DEF in Destiny Quest, but have your spines labeled FIC DEF?

    1. Just made the change in Destiny. The tinted label protectors on the spines let them know the genre. They use the extra letter in the catalog as a reference (and I have signs posted that explain the letter/color correlation), and just the authors three letters are really what’s important on the spine label (in addition to the color). Some were F and some were FIC — I didn’t change them, just covered them with the tinted label. Hope this helps!

  12. Hi Tiffany We have just finished reorganizing the library by genre! We are attempting to add new books now. When I add a copy I want to use the new call number reference (FF ABC, for example). That means that when I print the new spine labels they will no longer have the FIC prefix that was used prior to genrefication. Is this how you’ve done it? I guess I’m thinking about the librarian that someday will take over this library and how much work it would be for them to change it back if they choose. Also, I don’t want to confuse the kids who are head over heals about the new organization.

  13. I’m new to the Library world and trying to reorganize our school library as well by genre. How do I know what genre to put them in? Some are very obvious and than you have those which I have no clue. The non fiction section I have been able to handle, but fiction I am lost at where to start.

  14. What prefix does everyone use for primary fic/non-fic? Right now, our primary chapter books are ICR (ICR) which is stigmatizing to older students at a lower reading level. Perhaps “J” for Junior? All suggestions welcomed! Thank you!

  15. A little late to the party, but found your blog when I decided to ditch Dewey in the nonfiction section. Just finished weeding and have begun the process of recategorizing. You said you left the Dewey number on the spine, so do you still organize by Dewey within each category and subcategory? For shelving do you just know the subcategory for each book off the top of your head, since it’s not included on the call number? Does that get difficult?

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