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General Rules

  • The cutter is an alphabetical notation used for arranging fiction and sub-arranging other library materials on shelves.
  • It is, with few exceptions, based on the first three alphabetical letters of the first filing word of the main entry.
  • Word means characters, written together with or without punctuation, followed by a space.
  • Numerals only at the beginning of the field will be translated to their alphabetic equivalent; all other numerals are ignored.
  • Symbols, punctuation marks and other special characters appearing in the first three characters of the main entry are ignored, unless the symbol is acting as a replacement for a letter. In those instances, the replaced letter should be used in cuttering. A numeral as the second or third character means a one or two digit cutter, e.g.

092      |aDVD 782.42166 U  
110 2   |aU2 (Musical group)  
245 00 |aU2|h[videorecording] :|b360° at the Rose Bowl /|c[director, Tom Krueger].  
246 3   |aU2|h[videorecording] :|b360 degrees at the Rose Bowl  
246 3   |a360° at the Rose Bowl|h[videorecording]

092      |aDVD 780.2 PIN  
245 00 |aP!nk|h[videorecording] :|ba life less ordinary.  
246 3   |aPink|h[videorecording[  
246 1   |iContainer title:|aPink, alive and kicking|h[videorecording]

099      |aCD POP AHA  
110 2   |aA-ha (Musical group)  
245 10 |a25|h[sound recording] :|b[the very best of A-ha] /|cA-ha.  
246 3   |aTwenty-five|h[sound recording] :|b[the very best of A-ha]                                                                   

F2-MF E-@thletesETH


Transliterated Names

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Personal Surname Entries

  • Cutter for the first word of the surname, e.g.
NgNGW.-Jones, J.WJO
  • Exceptions: Use 4 letters for names beginning with Mac

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Surnames with Prefixes

  • Use 3 letters for cutter for names beginning with a prefix
De La RocheDELÓ Sé, DiarmuidOSE
St. John          STJDe HavillandDEH
  • For Arabic surnames that include an article:
    • Al or al is the definte article in Arabic
    • Surnames that begin with al- often refer to the place where ancestors were born
    • Reference works often alphabetize names beginning with al- under the word following al-, e.g. al-Hakami would start with H
    • According to the Chicago Manual of Style, Arabic names are indexed by surnames. Names may be alphabetized under Abu (father of), Abd (servant of) and bint/ibn (daughter/son of), while names are not alphabetized under al- and el- and are instead alphabetized under the following element.
    • Francophone countries are more likely to transliterate al- as el- e.g. Tunisia, but it is an individual’s personal preference.
    • Just to be confusing Āl is a designator of a family or tribal name and is always romanized with a capital letter and a macron. 
al-Hakami, IbrahimALHAl Majid, RashedALM
Āl Aḥmad, JalālALAEl-Feki, ShereenELF
  • See RDA Toolkit, Appendix F, F.11 Recording Surnames That Include an Article and/or a Preposition, for additional guidelines on surnames with prefixes

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Personal Names Direct Order

  • Cutter for the first word.
La TamaraLAAnne Boleyn, QueenANN
G. Love, 1972-GSun RaSUN
Mrs. SmithMRSDa Silva (Vocalist)DA
Mr. JohnMRH. D.  
[initials with space]
Sa-Fire (Musician)  
(ignore hyphen)
SAFTKO (Musician)  
[no spaces between letters]
Viðar Hreinsson  
(substitute d for ð) for an Icelandic name

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Corporate Names

  • Cutter for the first word of the corporate name.
  • Ignore punctuation unless accompanied by a space.
Canada. Dept.CANUnited States. Dept.UNI
De Havilland AircraftDEASS Goddard MemorialASS
De La Soul (Musical group)DEIFLA OfficeIFL
R.O.A.R. (Musical group)ROAI Level (Musical group)I
I-Threes (Musical group)ITHIn ParallelIN
T. Rex (Musical group)TSt. Petersburger KammerchorST
AC/DC (Musical group)ACDA-ha (Musical group)AHA

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Corporate Names with Numerics/Symbols in the First Word

  • Do not include numerics in cutter. When a numeric is the first character of a word, cutter for the numeric as spoken in the language of the title.
  • When numeric occurs within the first word use letter(s) given before the numerics.
U2 (Musical group)UUB40 (Musical group)UB
20 Feet (Musical group)TWE2nd chapter of Acts (Musical group)SEC
3 Paraguayos (Musical group)TREXIIth House (Musical group)TWE
Hi-Five (Musical group)HIF  
  • Note: Use 3 letters for corporate names beginning with MAC.
MacGill and Co.MACMachine Head (Musical group)MAC

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Title Main Entries

  • The symbol "#" at the beginning of a title will be cuttered as the word "number"; the abbreviation “No” will be cuttered as NO, e.g.

245 |a #1 hits 1965-1969, cutter: NUM  
245 |a No. 1 70’s rock album, cutter: NO.

  • Cutter for the first filing word only.
  • Numerics or dates in titles are cuttered for the numeric or date as spoken in the language or usage of the title.
  • If the first filing word is a combination of letters followed by numbers, cutter for the letters only.
ABC of scienceABCA B C of scienceA
e.encyclopediaEEN20th century artTWE
1 2 3 gameONE4 maisons [i.e. quatre maisons]QUA
1984 [as a date]NINBMX MotorcyclesBMX
1984 days [as a number]ONED.W.  rides againDW
Da Vinci codeDAES&T presents VCR…EST
St. Elmo’s fireSTIt's magicITS
OS/2OS 1080 Degree snowboardingTEN
M:I:III (Mission Impossible 3)MID.Gray-manDGR
  • Note: Use 3 letters for titles (main entries) beginning with MAC.
MachineryMACMacDonald and IMAC

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Uniform Titles

  • When cuttering for uniform title, that is videorecordings, cutter with the established form of uniform title - not with the English form of name.

240 |a Fille du regiment.  
(Cutter FIL not DAU for Daugher of the Regiment).

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Double Cuttering

  • Double cuttering is used so that items about specific persons, or on certain specific subjects, sit together on the shelves.

E.g. A book about Raspberry Pi (computer) is classified as 005.265 RAS ABC

  • Double cuttering may be used in all classes in Dewey, for all items which are classified by the Dewey Decimal classification (e.g. print materials, videorecordings, talking books) but it is especially important in biography, 920-928 and literature, 800.
  • In literature (800’s) double cutter only for criticism, not for a subject dealt with in the literary text, e.g. book of poems about Bob Dylan is cuttered only for the author of the poems.

E.g. A book about the English painter Stanley Spencer by G. Behrend is classified 759.2 SPE BEH.

E.g. A book about Spencer with the title main entry Stanley Spencer would be classified 759.2 SPE STA.

E.g. If the title main entry were Spencer, also double cutter 759.2 SPE SPE; however, for a book by Spencer on his own work, do not double cutter, i.e., 759.2 SPE.

  • If the main theme of the material is about the subject heading (600/610/611/630), then double cutter.
  • Only double cutter for 650 when required by Dewey or specified in the Manual.
610 |a Titanic (Steamship)910.91631 TIT BAL
611 |a Mount Everest Expedition (1996)796.522 MOU COB
630 |a Microsoft Excel 2003 (Computer file)005.54 MIC FRY
  • If the material has more than two themes, then the cutter would be for the main entry only.
  • Do not double cutter if the Dewey number represents the subject and double cuttering would be redundant.
for a work on Freud150.1952
for a book about the YMCA267.3
  • An autobiography needs only to be cuttered for the author; however a biography written by someone with the same surname would be double cuttered as would a title main entry beginning with the subject's name.
  • If a book is about two people, cutter for the one named first on the title page, or the one given prominence in the text.
  • A book with the title main entry Shakespeare's influence on Keats would be classified 821.7 KEA SHA
  • Note: The second cutter is always for the main entry. If a book is about three or more people do not double cutter; instead cutter for the main entry.
  • Autobiographies may not sit together because of their cutters; this will be an infrequent occurrence if an author uses a different name from time to time, i.e. Roseanne, Roseanne Arnold, Roseanne Barr.

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Double Cuttering for Automobiles

  • Double cutter for the first of 1 or 2 specific makes as listed in the 650’s.
  • Do not double cutter if there are 3 specific makes; cutter only for main entry.
  • For more than 3 specific makes: if possible, choose a broader subject heading which would then allow double cuttering.
650 |a Ford trucksFOR
650 |a Chevrolet trucksCHE
650 |a Harley-Davidson motorcycleHAR
  • In general, the first cutter in such cases is for the make of automobile, not for its manufacturer.

A title on how to repair your Ford Pinto by Chalmers-Hunt  
092 |a 629.28722 PIN CHA  
100 |a Chalmers-Hunt, B. L. (Brian Leonard)  
245 |a Ford Pinto owners workshop manual ...  
650 |a Pinto automobile

A title main entry Pinto tune-up & repair  
092 |a 629.28722 PIN PIN  
245 |a Pinto tune-up & repair.  
650 |a Pinto automobile

  • Note: In practice, EPL has been making exceptions to this "make" vs. "manufacturer" distinction (chiefly to satisfy customer demands). Books on car or truck make designated only by letter and number or by manufacturer and number are being cuttered for manufacturer, not for make.
Audi 4000AUDMazda RX7MAZ

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Double Cuttering for Audio-Visual Materials

  • Generally do NOT double cutter for those items which are not classified by the Dewey Decimal system (this affects most sound recordings), e.g.

245   Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre  
099   DVD J SHE  
099   DVD J FAE SHE  
245    Walt Disney's 101 dalmatians

099    DVD J ONE WAL  
099    DVD J WAL  
(there is a general exception for titles prefaced by "(Walt) Disney's")  

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Double Cuttering for Ballets

  • Double cuttering, when classified using Dewey, is mandated to "arrange alphabetically by title."
  • Double cutter based on the 730 uniform title for choreographic work if the 245 is title main entry and if its |a is not the same as the 730.

E.g. 1. Alexander Ekman's A Swan Lake

092 DVD 792.842 SWA ALE  
245 Alexander Ekman's a swan lake|h[videorecording]...  
730 Swan lake (Choreographic work)

E.g. 2. Ondine   

092 DVD 792.842 OND  
245 Ondine|h[videorecording] /|c[film director, Ross MacGibbon].  
700 Henze, Hans Werner,|d1926-2012.|tUndine.      
730 Ondine (Choreographic work)

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Double Cuttering for Musicals, Stage or TV Presentations

  • The instruction in Dewey to “Arrange alphabetically by name of program” does not require double cuttering unless the main entry is not the same as the title of the program, e.g.

092 |a DVD 791.4572 RED  
245 |a The Red Green show.|n1999 season|h[videorecording]

  • Double cutter only if the title of the musical, stage presentation or TV presentation and the 245 |a are not the same, e.g.

092 |a DVD 792.642 MUS MER  
245 |a Meredith Wilson's the music man

  • Double cutter if the videorecording is about the musical, stage presentation or TV presentation, e.g.

092 |a DVD 792.642 ON ON  
245 |a On your toes [about the producing of a musical; record contains a subject heading]  
600 |a Rodgers, Richard, |d 1902-1979. |t On your toes.

092 |a DVD 792.92 IMA PLA  
245 |a The players [about the production of a play; record contains a subject heading]  
600 |a Moliere, |d 1622-1673. |t Imaginary invalid.

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Double Cuttering for Video Games

  • Cutter first for the game's title, then for the creator's name as it appears in the 245 $a, e.g.

092 |a Video game 794.8 RAI TOM  
245 |a Tom Clancy's Rainbow six.|pExtraction|h[game]

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Double Cuttering for Computer Languages

  • Cutter first for program language, then for main entry. Form cutters for program languages from the first three letters of the first word.

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Double Cuttering for Fairy Tales classed 398.2

  • Double cutter adaptations of fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen, Grimm Brothers, Charles Perrault and Aesop, if the work openly states that it is a version of the original story by one of these authors.

092 |a J 398.245 AND ISA  
100 |a Isadora, Rachel  
245 |a The ugly duckling / |c written by Hans Christian Andersen ; retold and illustrated by Rachel Isadora.  
700 |a Andersen, H. C. |q (Hans Christian), |d 1805-1875

  • Double cutter adaptations of anonymous fairy tales for uniform title of the tale, if not redundant.

092 |a J 398.22 ALA DAN  
100 |a Daniels, Patricia  
245 |a Aladdin and the magic lamp / |c retold by Patricia Daniels.

092 |a DVD J 398.22 ALA  
245 |a Aladdin |h [videorecording].

  • Double cutter for legendary characters.

092 | a J 398.22 BUN KEL  
100 |a Kellogg, Steven  
245 |a Paul Bunyan ...  
650 |a Bunyan, Paul (Legendary character)

  • Double cuttering for Mother Goose in 398.8
  • Where the main entry cutter is not MOT, double cutter collections of original Mother Goose nursery rhymes.

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MAC Double Cutters

  • When cuttering for subjects cutter 4 letters for 6XX.
600 |a MacDonald, J. A.MACD630 |a Maclean'sMACL
650 |a Macintosh computerMACI  

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Double Cuttering for Topical Subjects

  • Double cutter for topical subjects where Dewey instructs you to sub-arrange by subject of work.

005.133 (computer program languages)  
629.2222 (passenger automobiles)  
629.287… (maintenance and repair)  
791.4372 (film titles)

  • In such cases, use LC subject headings as a guide in forming the first cutter.
  • Exceptions:
  • Double cutter for:

650 |a Dionne quintuplets.  
650 |a Joan (Legendary Pope)

  • Do not double cutter for biographies of animals, e.g.

Seabiscuit (Race horse)

  • Double cutter for other types of vehicles in:

629.223 [Light trucks]  
629.224 [Trucks]  
629.2275 [Motorcycles]

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  • For added editions of works by Shakespeare, do not add date of publication to call number.
  • Because Shakespeare is already represented by 822.33, do not cutter for Shakespeare (SHA).
    • E.g. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet would have the call number 822.33 U3
  • If the work is a criticism or adaptation of Shakespeare, cutter for the author. There is no space between the cutters.
    • E.g. Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, retold by Alistair McCallum would have the call number Easy English 822.33 H1MCC 

Special Author Table for William Shakespeare 822.33 (from DDC23)

  • A1: Authorship controversies
  • B1: Biography
  • D1: Critical appraisal (class critical appraisal of individual works using the O-Z notation)
  • E1: Textual criticism (class textual criticism of individual works using the O-Z notation)
  • F1: Sources, allusions, learning
  • G1: Societies, concordances, miscellany
  • H1: Quotations, condensations, adaptations
  • I1: Complete works in English without notes
  • J1: Complete works in English with notes
  • K1: Complete works in translation
  • L1: Partial collections in English without notes
  • M1: Partial collections in English with notes
  • N1: Partial collections in translation
  • O-Z: Single Plays: 
    • Use the first number of each pair for the texts. Use the second number for description and critical appraisal.
    • *Do not add the part no. to the call number.
O1-2All's well that ends wellP3-4The merchant of Venice
S1-2Antony and CleopatraP5-6The merry wives of Windsor
O3-4As you like itCP7-8A midsummer night's dream
O5-6The comedy of errorsQ1-2Much ado about nothing
S7-8HamletX3-4Richard II
W1-2Henry IV*X5-6Richard III
W3-4Henry V*U3-4Romeo and Juliet
W5-6Henry VI*Q3-4The taming of the shrew
W7-8Henry VIIIQ5-6The tempest
T1-2Julius CaesarU5-6Timon of Athens
X1-2King JohnU7-8Titus Andronicus
T3-4King LearV1-2Troilus and Cressida
O7-8Love's labour's lostQ7-8Twelfth night
T5-6MacbethR1-2The two gentlemen of Verona
P1-2Measure for measureR3-4The winter's tale

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Last revised: August 16, 2023