Library of Congress
The Library of Congress system is used by most college and university libraries to organize books on the library shelves. It is an alpha-numeric system. Each item in the library has a label with letters and numbers (together called a call number) which indicates its place on the shelf. The letters indicate a subject area and the numbers which follow further subdivide the broader topic into more specific categories. In the Shatford Library Catalog you will find LC call numbers on our newer books, shelved on the main floor (2nd floor), Colorado Blvd side of the building. LC call numbers are also used to organize our textbook collection.
|B||PHILOSOPHY. PSYCHOLOGY. RELIGION|
|C||AUXILIARY SCIENCES OF HISTORY|
|D||HISTORY: GENERAL AND OLD WORLD|
|G||GEOGRAPHY. ANTHROPOLOGY. RECREATION|
|M||MUSIC AND BOOKS ON MUSIC|
|P||LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE|
Note the absence of I and O , letters that can be easily confused with numbers .
How to Find books by Call Number
First, convert the call number from the catalog display into a vertical format (as it appears on the spine or lower front cover of the book):
Example: QC 981.8 .G56 D378 2009 becomes:
First Line: Letters are filed alphabetically. Single letters are filed before double letters in terms of shelf arrangement. This series is in correct order: D DA DF DL DT
The first letter indicates a very broad subject area, which is made more specific by adding a second and sometimes third letter. K = Law in general KF = Law in the United States KFC = Law in California.
Second Line: This line is read as a whole number. Numbers on the second line can range from 1 to 9999 and can also have decimal point subdivisions.
Example: 32 (thirty-two) is shelved before 310 (Three hundred ten). Any number followed by a decimal point is filed decimally.
Examples: 8701 is shelved after 8700.7
8700.7 is shelved after 8700.17
Third Line: This line begins with a decimal point, followed by a letter and number sequence. The letters are read alphabetically (as above). The number is read as a decimal (different from the whole numbers used above).
You can see from the example above that .C444 comes before .C64 because when reading the number decimally, each digit is read individually. 4 before 6 (444 as a whole number would come after 64, but as a decimal each digit is read one at a time.
Fourth Line: Publication date. Filed chronologically. 1999, 2001, 2005, 2011
Fifth Line: Sometimes includes volume numbers (v.2)
The example below breaks the number down line by line.
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QA General subject area is mathematics
76.73 computers (the .73 is specifically for programming languages)
.C 153 for the C++ programming language
S29 Last name of author Savitch
2009 Year of publication
- Library of Congress Classification Outline
- Understanding Call Numbers (California State University Los Angeles Library)
- How to Find Books By Call Number (Kent State Library)
last updated: 11/18/2010 by P. Johnson revision #2