Exploration of the Sciences: Dewey Class 500
MAT 259, 2019
Sarah Wells

I was interested in SPL interest in science related books (Dewey 500-599) over time, particularly I hypothesized a decrease in adults getting information in the age of the internet, but perhaps less of a decrease in children checking out materials. So I explored all of Dewey 500 data in the Seattle Public Library inraw table from 2006 to 2019 pulling itemType, count, and checkout time data.

SELECT left(deweyClass, 3) as deweyC, DATE_FORMAT(cout, '%Y-%m') AS yearmonth, itemType, COUNT(*) AS count, AVG(TIMESTAMPDIFF(DAY, cout, cin)) AS avgcouttime FROM inraw WHERE deweyClass LIKE '5%' AND (itemType LIKE '%bk' OR itemType LIKE '%dvd' OR itemType LIKE '%vhs') AND YEAR(cout) > 2005 GROUP BY deweyC , yearmonth , itemType;

I first plotted the results a broader query, but the data set was too large and most of the counts were too small. The placement is determined by dewey, date, and count and the size is correlated to length of the checkout. This was hard to view as the results included every title, so I switched to the current to build a better picture.

Final result
I plotted the results of Query 2 in a similar way, position by dewey, date, and total count for each dewey integer from 500-599 and year in the months from 2006 to 2019. Again the size is determined by the average checkout time, but to be able to see each point they are still relatively close in size. The color is associated to the categories of Adult Books - pink, Children Books - green, Adult Videos - red, Child Videos purple. One can also hover over point to obtain it's specific information. The general trend shows that most categories peaked between 2008 and 2011. My hypothesis is that getting information on the sciences through the internet increased around 2010. Additionally, I added in a transparent shape connecting the points to easier see trends. Using this, we notice that as hypothesized Adult Books checkouts show a strong decrease as time moves forward, but we still see reasonably consistent usage of Children's Books. Examining videos, I find it interesting that though neither began with a huge number of checkouts relative to books to start with, Adult Videos and Children's Videos seemed to decrease in a proportionally similar manner. Another thing I noticed was a few gaps in the Dewey data showing very few checkouts. I examined a few to find they are the topics of Topology and Analysis - both higher level Mathematics topics. As a Mathematics student, I am curious the cause of this. Perhaps higher level math is only accessible to mathematics scholars whereas anyone with interest might have more success or curiosity about other scientific topics?

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