Simpler spelling

DEWEY.jpgWhenever I write something in Word, it will still usually suggest several spelling changes where I have used centre or some other version with which the US spell-checker is unfamiliar.
I notice from that invaluable resource that Melvil Dewey – spelling reformer as well as library innovator – is responsible for the shortened catalog as opposed to long catalogue.
He suggested spelling his own name Dui. I have suggested that we call WebDewey Gui Dui. Nobody seems to think it is a very good idea …

4 thoughts on “Simpler spelling”

  1. I think it’s not only a good idea, but one that can be improved upon: Gui Dui for Lui, which of course means Graphical User Interace to Dewey for Library User Interfaces. Works for me.

  2. You can watch Dui’s spelling reform in action by looking at the introductions to the early editions of DDC. After the first edition, each edition’s introduction gets more and more “reformed” until one of the last that he edited is nearly unreadable (but great fun). I no longer remember the exact editions, but it would be great if someone could put them up on the web as a study in spelling reform. I know that I pulled the early editions out of storage at Berkeley some decades ago and had a great time reading through them. I got them out to compare the growth of DDC but found that the introductions were what was really interesting. BTW, he didn’t change the spelling in the DDC entries themselves, just the intro.

    Karen Coyle, who worked on MELVYL for many years and has named her dog Dewey.

  3. Yes, there was a lot of simplified spelling in DDC, up to Edition 14 (1942). One problem with it was lack of consistency, e.g., in Edition 14, in the schedule:
    “100 Philosofy in general”; but in each of the three summaries:
    “100 Filosofy”.
    There’s no entry under “Filosofy” in the Relative Index, or under “Philosofy”, but there is one under “Philosophy”. So how was the user to guess which kind of spelling was used where?

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