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Call Number Guide

LIBRIS uses the Library of Congress (LC) classification scheme to arrange its collection on the shelves. The scheme uses a combination of letters and numbers to classify the items by subject. To make retrieval easier, the first three letters of the author's name (or title if there is no author) are added to the class number to form the call number.

These call numbers are found on the spines or covers, depending on the thickness of the books. Call numbers may be printed from top to bottom or from left to right.

1. Interpreting a call number

Let’s look at a sample record:


Author: Paul D. Eggen
Title: Educational psychology: windows on classrooms
Call number: LB1051 Egg 2004

Let's examine the details of the call number:


Class and subclass letters
The class and subclass letters, usually one to three letters, give a broad indication of the subject area. The arrangement is strictly alphabetical. Books with call numbers beginning with A are shelved before those beginning with B, B is shelved before BC, BC before BD, BD before D, and so on.

A... BC... BD... D... DA... GE... HQ... LA... LB...

Subdivision number
When the class and subclass letters of the call number are the same for more than one book, we should check the subdivision number. The arrangement of subdivision number is from smaller to larger. When the subdivision number has a decimal point, the figures at the right of the point should be treated as decimals, therefore .22 would come before .3, because .22 is smaller than .3

1050 1050.2 1050.22 1050.3 1051

Author's name or title
This part consists of letters that are usually derived from the author’s last name (or title if there is no author). When the class letters and subdivision number are the same for more than one book, we should check the letters that represent the author's name. These letters are arranged alphabetically.

1004 1004 1004 1004 1004
Cah Cha Coa Mil Som

Year of publication
The year of publication may be added to distinguish between earlier and later editions.

121 121 121 121 121
Mor Mor Mor Mor Mor
  1993 1996 2001 2002

2. Shelf reading

Library materials are shelved by call number, in alphabetical and numerical order. As materials are arranged by subject, books on the same subject areas will have similar call numbers, and they are normally found on the same shelf.

3. Online quiz

Now let's try the call number quiz!

Last updated: December 14, 2016  

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