A recent blog post discussed comprehensive numbers, or alternatively, numbers for comprehensive works. What is the most efficient way to find the comprehensive number for a topic in WebDewey? Often, the most efficient way is to browse the Relative Index for that topic.
First, let’s consider the comprehensive number for a topic marked by an asterisk (*) in Table 2, with a footnote that reads: "*For a specific part of this jurisdiction, region, or feature, see the part and follow instructions under —4–9." In such a case, in the Relative Index the comprehensive number for the topic appears as an unsubdivided entry at the top of the list of entries for that topic (line 2 in the browse display, right after the immediately preceding line given for context in browse displays). This is like the treatment of interdisciplinary numbers in the Relative Index (described in the previous blog post about interdisciplinary numbers and WebDewey). For example, what if we seek the comprehensive number for the Alps in Europe? Browsing the Relative Index for "Alps" yields:
With this display, it is immediately clear that the comprehensive number for the Alps in Europe is T2--4947 Alpine region cantons. By contrast, a simple search for "Alps" yields 17 hits in Table 2, and the record for the comprehensive number is 11th on the list.
What if we seek the comprehensive law number for libel? Browsing the Relative Index for "libel" yields:
Here we find that the unsubdivided entry at the top of the list is not for a law number—that is, not for a number in the 340s. (The unsubdivided entry indicates that 364.156 is the interdisciplinary number for libel; if we look at the record and its upward hierarchy, we find that 364.156 Offenses against reputation and honor is in the discipline of criminology.) For the comprehensive law number, we look for the entry with only the simple disciplinary subdivision, in this case "law." Here the comprehensive law number for libel (345.0256) is a built number (built with 345.02 Criminal offenses plus 56 from 364.156 Offenses against reputation and honor, following the add instruction at 345.023-345.028 Specific crimes and classes of crime). If we want to learn more about why 345.0256 is the comprehensive number, we can look in the upward hierarchy to 345.02 Criminal offenses and follow the see-Manual note to 345.02 vs. 346.03 Criminal offenses vs. Torts (Delicts).
What if we seek the comprehensive religion number for marriage? (The interdisciplinary number for marriage is in sociology at 306.81 Marriage and marital status.) We could browse the Relative Index simply for "marriage," then scan a long list to find "Marriage—religion"; however, browsing specifically for "marriage—rel" will yield a much shorter list, and the entry we seek will be at the top of the list of entries for that topic:
The record for 204.41 Marriage and family life has these notes (among others):
Class here comprehensive works on marriage
For marriage rites, see 203.85
For ethics of marriage, see 205.63
This approach also helps us find the comprehensive number for marriage in the context of a specific religion. For example, the record for 296.74 Marriage and family life has these notes:
Including Jewish child rearing
Class here social theology of marriage and family, comprehensive works on marriage
For ethics of marriage, see 296.363
For marriage and divorce rites and traditions, see 296.444
By contrast, a simple search for "marriage" yields 74 records, with 204.41 Marriage and family life 10th on the list, and 296.74 Marriage and family life 40th on the list.
The comprehensive number for a topic in a discipline may also be the interdisciplinary number for the topic, e.g., the comprehensive economics number for capital. Browsing the Relative Index for "capital" yields:
The unsubdivided entry for "capital" at the top of the list indicates that 332.041 Capital is the interdisciplinary number for capital, and the first subdivided entry indicates that 332.041 is also the financial economics number. In the list are two other economics numbers for capital—that is, two other numbers in the 330s: 339.21 and 338.6041—plus a management number: 658.152. There is no simple "economics" subheading; with this kind of display the classifier can assume that the interdisciplinary number for capital is also the comprehensive economics number for capital.
By contrast, a simple search for "capital" yields 89 records, and the record for 332.041Capital is 38th in the list. A simple search for "capital economics" yields 16 records, and the sought record is 4th on the list.
Sometimes a comprehensive number is not the number for one topic, rather the number for a combination of topics treated together, e.g., harness horses and draft horses. For that kind of comprehensive number, the Relative Index is of no special use, except for finding the numbers for each topic; then we must check the schedule for notes that indicate which number is comprehensive. For example, in the Relative Index we can find one entry for draft horses, another for harness horses:
Draft horses 636.1/5
Harness horses 636.1/4
The entry 636.14 Carriage horses has these notes (among others):
Class here coach horses, comprehensive works on harness horses (carriage horses and light harness horses)
Class comprehensive works on harness and draft horses in 636.15
The entry 636.15 Draft horses has these notes (among others):
Class here comprehensive works on harness and draft horses
For harness horses, see 636.14
These notes make clear that 636.15 is the comprehensive number. If there were no special notes like those, then general rules would apply, such as the first-of-two rule.