Call numbers are assigned to each book/journal in order to:
- Give you a way to locate the book/journal on the shelf by looking for its unique number
- Arrange books/journals on the shelf in broad subject categories; books with the same call number are on the same subject, so you can find them together
What is a call number?
The call number for a book/journal is the combination of letters and numbers that appears in the online catalog record for the book/journal and on the spine of the book/journal. The University libraries use the library of Congress classification system of call numbers. This system uses one or two letters to indicate the subject area of the book/journal. Successive numbers and letters are used to represent a further definition of the specific subject covered by the book/journal and also to represent the author's name.
The call number on the book Campus Shock by Lansing Lamont is described below:
|LA||L||=||Education; LA = History of Education|
|229||229||=||Student life within the history of higher education in the United States|
|L28||L||=||First letter of author's name|
|28||=||"cutter number" to represent author's name. "L28" is assigned so this book will shelve alphabetically by author with other books on the same subject. There is an invisible decimal point in the "Cutter number" which causes it to be read L.28 or L2.8. The first numbers are the whole numbers.|
How to Locate Library Materials by Call Number
First: Note the specific library location
|Dewey, EXT||Dewey Graduate Library||Downtown Campus|
|SCI||Science Library||Uptown Campus, between the Campus Center and SEFCU Arena|
|ULIB||University Library||Uptown Campus, Podium|
Second: Note where it is in the University Library
|A thru L||Third Floor|
|M thru Z||Second Floor|
|*,**,***, OVER||Second Floor, NE|
|Innovate, Make, Create Center (IMC)||Basement|
|Juv, juvenile||Basement Floor (behind IMC)|
|Law||First Floor, SW|
|over*||Second Floor, NE|
|Ready Ref - at the beginning of Reference||First Floor, SW|
|Ref||First Floor, SW|
How Are Call Numbers Arranged?
Basically, call numbers are arranged alphabetically and numerically by the letters and numbers that comprise the call number. There are some important rules to remember, however:
N 73 H35
NA 73 H35
NA 519 H35 1978
NA 519 H35 1985
The first line of a call number is almost always a letter or two letters (occasionally 3 - ex. KFN). A single letter will shelve before the same letter followed by another letter :
P before PE, L before LA
The second line of the call number is a whole number. It may be extended with a decimal :
10 before 100, 35.2 before 350, 759 before 7337.
- The third line of the call number is treated as a decimal, although it does not contain a decimal point. Any line subsequent to the first that begins with a letter is treated as a decimal number
- In cases where a book has been republished in a new or revised edition, the new date of publication is added at the end of the call number to distinguish it from other editions of the same book.
If the Book You Want is Not on the Shelf
- First, check the call number on the University libraries' online catalog to see if the book is already checked out to someone else, is on Reserve, or has some other special status.
- If not, ask at the Circulation Desk to have a search done on the book.