Call NumbersPage address: http://lib.mnsu.edu/help/callno.html
Reading a Call Number
From the Online Catalog to the Shelf
Libraries use classification systems to organize the books on the shelves. A classification system uses letters and/or numbers (call numbers) to arrange the books so that books on the same topic are together. This arrangement results in "serendipitous browsing:" you find one book in the catalog, go to the shelf, and, an even better book is sitting right next to it.
Libraries in the United States generally use the Library of Congress Classification System or the Dewey Decimal Classification System to organize their books. Most academic libraries use Library of Congress Classification System (LC).
Anatomy of a Library of Congress Call Number
Book title: Uncensored War: The Media and Vietnam
Author: Daniel C. Hallin
Call Number: DS559.46 .H35 1986
The first two lines describe the subject of the book.
DS559.45 = Vietnamese Conflict
The third line often represents the author's last name.
H = Hallin
The last line represents the date of publication. Older items may not include the year.
Tips for Finding Books on the Shelf
Read call numbers line by line.
Read the first line in alphabetical order:
A, B, BF, C, D... L, LA, LB, LC, M, ML...
Read the second line as a whole number:
1, 2, 3, 45, 100, 101, 1000, 2000, 2430...
The third line is a combination of a letter and numbers. Read the letter alphabetically. Read the number as a decimal, eg:
.C65 = .65 .C724 = .724
Some call numbers have more than one combination letter-number line.
The last line is the year the book was published. Some older items do not include the year. Read in chronological order:
1985, 1991, 1992...
Here is a shelf of books with the call number order explained.
Content for this page provided by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The original content can be found through the Online Library Learning Center.