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Weird Cutters

Most cuttering can be done by following the directions in “Basic Cuttering.” However, there are many situations that these directions don’t quite cover, or that need further explanation. These situations will be covered here.
Tags: Cataloging, Copy cataloging, library information, Resource Management, Training

Why adjust Cutters?

a. So that each book will have a unique call number

b. To arrange authors and/or 600 subjects in alphabetical order under the same Dewey

c. To distinguish between different works with similar titles

d. To distinguish between different versions of the same book (different translators, etc.)


Basic Cutter adjustment:

            Remember that you can consider the Cutter number to be a decimal

            C123 = .1230

            C124 = .1240

            you can fit a Cutter between these two:

            C1235 = .1235


Ex.: Herman Daly’s Cutter from the table is D153


His book, Ecological economics and the ecology of economics, is classed in Dewey 333.7

Unfortunately, Leo Daly already has 333.7 D153 for his book’s call number

Herman comes before Leo

Change Herman’s D153 to D1525 to make it come before Leo’s D1530


On the shelf:

Daly, Herman E.      333.7  D1525e

Daly, Leo A.            333.7  D153e


Fit James Daly in between Herman and Leo: Change James’ D153 to D1527

Daly, Herman E.      333.7  D1525e

Daly, James            333.7  D1527a

Daly, Leo A.            333.7  D153e


Different books by the same author:


a.Herman Daly also wrote Ecological economics : principles and applications which also has the Dewey 333.7

b. This makes the call number 333.7 D1525e, the same as Ecological economics and the ecology of economics, 333.7 D1525e


            Adjust the work mark:

            a. Add a second letter to the work mark

i. The second letter is usually the second letter of the title


Ecological economics and the ecology of economics:  333.7 D1525e

Ecological economics : principles and applications:  333.7 D1525ec

(The titles may not wind up in alphabetical order)

A work mark adjustment problem:


Robert Frost’s Collected poems: 811 F939c

Robert Frost’s Complete poems: 811 F939co

Robert Frost’s Compiled poems: 811 F939com

Robert Frost’s Complete compiled poems:  811 F939comp


To save space, choose a different second letter


Robert Frost’s Collected poems: 811 F939c

Robert Frost’s Complete compiled poems: 811 F939cc

Robert Frost’s Complete poems: 811 F939co

Robert Frost’s Compiled poems: 811 F939cp


Note that titles may not be in alphabetical order


Subjects about which much has been written—Cutter adjustment problems

There are some people/topics which have been extensively studied and written about

Some authors write many books about the same person/topic

When these two aspects combine, Cutters become too long


To review, you can:

a. Treat a Cutter number like a decimal

b. Adjust work marks by adding letters

c. Have different Cutter numbers for the same author under different Deweys

d. Add letters and numbers for translators


1. Title main entries


Different title main entries beginning with the same words must have a different cutter (unless they are different editions of the same work)

Adjust the cutter so that the title main entries will fall into alphabetical order – treat the cutter as a decimal


Ex.: title main entries on soft computing


Soft computing                                             006.3 S6805

Soft computing : fuzzy logic                          006.3 S681

Soft computing agents                                  006.3 S6812

Soft computing and intelligent agents             006.3 S6813

Soft computing for image processing             006.3 S68135


Note that the adjustments allow the titles to be in alphabetical order


2. Conference proceedings


Many conference names (field 111) begin with a very common word such as  International .

Conference proceedings do not have work marks in the Cutter.

There are many differently named conferences on the same topic that need their own Cutter numbers, even if they begin with the same word(s).

As with title main entries, the conference names should be in alphabetical order.

Adjust them as you would title main entries.


International Symposium on New Horizons in Construction Materials (1976 : Lehigh University)

                        Call no.:         624.18 I61 1976

International Conference on Composite Structures  (5th : 1989 : Paisley College of Technology)

            Alphabetically, International Conference goes before International Symposium, so the International Conference call number is:

                                                 624.18 I605 1989

Remember– Always add the date of the conference to the call number after the cutter!


3. Biographies/criticisms that have title main entries that start with the same word

Ex.:     Virginia Woolf  edited by Jane Marcus;

Virginia Woolf and war edited by by Mark Hussey


Cuttering for Woolf, double cutter, and adding a workmark for the title main entry, both call numbers are:




Instead of adding on numbers to the second Cutter ( e,g, V8175) add a letter from the rest of the title

Virginia Woolf  edited by Jane Marcus




Virginia Woolf and war edited by by Mark Hussey





Not all of these will be in alphabetical order.


4. When the author's name is part of the title

When the author's name is part of the title, we do not use the author's name for the workmark. Instead, use the first word after the author's name for the workmark.


Penelope Hobhouse's gardening through the ages : an illustrated history of plants and their influence on garden styles- from ancient Egypt to the present day. / by Penelope Hobhouse.




5. Author's Complete Works

An author's complete works needs to fall at the beginning of his area on the shelf, therefore do not use a work mark in the cutter line at all.

Shannon, Claude Elwood


Claude Elwood Shannon: collected papers




6. Dante as an example of Cutter overkill


Dante’s main work is The divine comedy, which is in three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

Each section is often published separately from the others

Since The divine comedy is originally in Italian, most of the versions we have are translations


We want to keep all the versions together on the shelf.


Call no. for the whole Comedy:  851 D192d

Call no. for the Inferno:             851 D192di

Call no. for the Paradiso:           851 D192dp

Call no. for the Purgatorio:                  851 D192dpu



Adding for criticism, etc.:


Letter for English translation

                        851 D192dE

Letter for translator

                        851 D192dEc (for John Ciardi)

Letter and number for translator also starting with c

                        851 D192dEc2 (for John Carlyle)


Adding these to the individual parts of the Comedy


The Inferno: 851 D192diEc2

The Paradiso:  851 D192dpEe

The Purgatorio:       851 D192dpuEh

Now– imagine if you will– a criticism of the Purgatorio which is also a translation:





What to do?


Consult an expert.

Search under the subject to see how earlier ones were done.

Go through each part of the cutter to see if it can be shortened.

Bend the rules a bit if needed—just use “d” instead of “dpu”, etc.


The important thing is to give it a unique call number that will enable the patron to find the book!