How to read a Library of Congress Call Number (2022)

At the Porter Henderson Library, books are shelved according to the Library of Congress (LC) Classification system. Each book in the library has a unique “call number”, which is a combination of letters and numbers. A call number is like an address; it describes the exact location of the book and tells you where to find the book on the shelves. It also tells you something about the subject matter of the book. Each call number may contain three, four or five lines.

How to read a Library of Congress Call Number (1) Line 1: Defines the general subject class and subclass [B = Philosophy/Religion; BF = Psychology]
Line 2: Classification number - defines a narrower subtopic within the specified class [1078 = Dreams]
Line 3: Cutter number - represents the author’s name or the title of the work [.S5 = Ella Freeman Sharpe]
Line 4: Publication Year [1978 - Usually the year the book was published, but could be the copyright date]
Line 5: Copy number [c.1 - If a library has multiple copies of the same book, these will be identified by a copy number.]

(Video) How to Read a Library of Congress Call Number (University of Arkansas Libraries)

LC call numbers are read from left to right, and from top to bottom. The letters at the beginning of the call number are alphabetical. The numbers immediately following are in basic numerical order, i.e., 5 then 6, 50 is after 49 and before 51, and 100 is after 99. The cutter numbers are sorted first by the letter and then by the number as a decimal.

(Video) How to Read LIbrary of Congress Call Numbers Tutorial

Location Prefixes
Some call numbers are preceded by a location prefix indicating that the item is shelved in a specific location and may have loan restrictions. For example:

(Video) How to Read Library of Congress Call Numbers

REF - Reference item located in the Reference Collection in the southeast corner of the Learning Commons on the First floor of the Library (non-circulating).
RAD - Reference item located on the corner of the Research Assistance Desk (non-circulating).
Juv - Item located in the Juvenile Collection in the southwest corner of the Basement of the Library

(Video) HOW TO: Read a Library of Congress Call Number

Use the major classification headings listed below as a basic guide to browse shelves in the Porter Henderson Library.

(Video) Reading a Call Number (Library of Congress)

A - General Works AE - Encyclopedias AG - Dictionaries and other general reference works AI - Indexes AM - Museums. Collectors and collecting AN - Newspapers AP - Periodicals AS - Academies and learned societies AY - Yearbooks. Almanacs. Directories AZ - History of scholarship and learning. The humanities B - Philosophy, Psychology, Religion BC - Logic BD - Speculative philosophy BF - Psychology BH - Aesthetics BJ - Ethics BL - Religions. Mythology. Rationalism BM - Judaism BP - Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc. BP - Buddhism BR - Christianity BS - The Bible BT - Doctrinal Theology BV - Practical Theology BX - Christian denominations C - Auxiliary Sciences of History CB - History of Civilization CC - Archaeology CD - Diplomatics. Archives. Seals CE - Technical Chronology. Calendar CJ - Numismatics CN - Inscriptions. Epigraphy CR - Heraldry CS - Genealogy CT - Biography D - History: General & Outside of the Americas DA - Great Britain DB - Austria, Liechtenstein, Hungary, Czechoslovakia DC - France DD - Germany DE - Greco-Roman world DF - Greece DG - Italy, Malta DH - Low Countries, Benelux Countries DJ - Netherlands (Holland) DJK - Eastern Europe (general) DK - Russia, Soviet Union, Former Soviet Republics - Poland DL - Northern Europe, Scandinavia DP - Spain, Portugal DQ - Switzerland DR - Balkan peninsula DS - Asia DT - Africa DU - Oceania (South Seas) E - History: United States F - History: United States - Local & Americas G - Geography (General), Atlases, Maps GA - Cartography GB - Physical geography GC - Oceanography GE - Environmental Sciences GN - Anthropology GR - Folklore GT - Manners and customs GV - Recreation, Leisure H - Social Sciences HA - Statistics HB - Economic theory, Demography HC - Economic history and conditions HD - Industries, Land use, Labor HE - Transportation and communications HF - Commerce HG - Finance HJ - Public Finance HM - Sociology HN - Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform HQ - The family. Marriage. Women HS - Societies: secret, benevolent, etc. HT - Societies: secret, benevolent, etc. HS - Communities. Classes. Races HV - Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology HX - Socialism. Communism. Anarchism J - Political Science JA - Political science (General) JC - Political theory JF - Political institutions and public administration JJ - Political institutions and public administration (North America) JK - Political institutions and public administration (United States) JL - Political institutions and public administration (Canada, Latin America, etc.) JN - Political institutions and public administration (Europe) JQ - Political institutions and public administration (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.) JS - Local government. Municipal government

JV - Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration

(Video) How to Read a Library of Congress Call Number

JX - International law (This class was used by the Library of Congress until 1997. The Library has over 1,000 titles under JX, with no plans at this time to reclassify them into the new classes, JZ and KZ.)

(Video) Understanding Library of Congress Call Numbers

JZ - International relations K - Political Science KB - Religious law in general. Comparative religious law. Jurisprudence KE - Canada KF - United States KG - Latin America - Mexico and Central America - West Indies. Caribbean area KH - South America KJ - KKZ - Europe KL - KWX - Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica KZ - Law of Nations L - Education LA - History of Education LB - Theory and practice of education LC - Special aspects of education LD - Individual institutions - United States LE - Individual institutions - America (except United States) LF - Individual institutions - Europe LG - Individual institutions - Asia, Africa, Indian Ocean islands, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands LH - College and school magazines and papers LJ - Student fraternities and societies, United States LT - Textbooks M - Music ML - Literature on music MT - Instruction and study N - Fine Arts NA - Architecture NB - Sculpture NC - Drawing, Design, Illustration ND - Painting NE - Print Media NK - Decorative arts NX - Arts in general P - Language PA - Greek language and literature. Latin language and literature PB - Modern languages. Celtic languages PC - Romanic languages PD - Germanic languages. Scandinavian languages PD - English language PF - West Germanic languages PJ - Oriental languages and literatures PK - Indo-Iranian languages and literatures PL - Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania PN - Literature (General) PQ - French literature - Italian literature - Spanish literature - Portuguese literature PR - English literature PS - American literature PZ - Fiction and juvenile literature Q - Science QA - Mathematics QB - Astronomy QC - Physics QD - Chemistry QE - Geology QH - Natural history, Biology QK - Botany QL - Zoology QM - Human anatomy QP - Physiology QR - Microbiology R - Medicine RA - Public aspects of medicine RB - Pathology RC - Internal medicine RD - Surgery RE - Ophthalmology RF - Otorhinolaryngology RG - Gynecology and obstetrics RJ - Pediatrics RK - Dentistry RL - Dermatology RM - Therapeutics, Pharmacology RS - Pharmacy RT - Nursing RV - Botanic, Thomsonian, and eclectic medicine RX - Homeopathy RZ - Other systems of medicine S - Agriculture SB - Plant culture SD - Forestry SF - Animal culture SH - Aquaculture, Fisheries, Angling SK - Hunting sports T - Technology TA - Engineering (General). Civil engineering TC - Hydraulic engineering. Ocean engineering TD - Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering TE - Highway engineering. Roads and pavements TF - Railroad engineering and operation TG - Bridge engineering TH - Building construction TJ - Mechanical engineering and machinery TK - Electrical engineering. Electronics. Nuclear engineering TL - Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics TN - Mining engineering. Metallurgy TP - Chemical technology TR - Photography TS - Manufactures TT - Handicrafts. Arts and crafts TX - Home economics U - Military Science UA - Armies: Organization, distribution, military situation UB - Military administration UC - Maintenance and transportation UD - Infantry UE - Cavalry. Armor UF - Artillery UG - Military engineering. Air forces UH - Other services V - Naval Science VA - Navies: Organization, distribution, naval situation VB - Naval administration VC - Naval maintenance VD - Naval seamen VE - Marines VF - Naval ordnance VG - Minor services of navies VK - Navigation. Merchant marine VM - Naval architecture. Shipbuilding. Marine engineering Z - Books (General). Writing. Paleography. Book industries and trade. Libraries. Bibliography ZA - Information resources (General)
(Video) How to Read a Library of Congress Classification Call Number

FAQs

How do you read a library book call number? ›

LC call numbers are read from left to right, and from top to bottom. The letters at the beginning of the call number are alphabetical. The numbers immediately following are in basic numerical order, i.e., 5 then 6, 50 is after 49 and before 51, and 100 is after 99.

How do call numbers work in library? ›

Each book in the library has a unique call number. A call number is like an address: it tells us where the book is located in the library. Call numbers appear on the spines of books and journals and in the library's catalog. Note that the same call number can be written from top-to-bottom or left-to-right.

How do you read the shelf in the Library of Congress? ›

Shelving/Filing Rules of LC Call numbers

Single letters are filed before double letters: The second part of a call number is made up of a number that may have one or more digits. This line is read numerically (as whole numbers) . A call number with a smaller number is shelved before one that has a larger number.

How do I read a Dewey call number? ›

Reading a Dewey Decimal Call Number
  1. Books are arranged sequentially. The first number of a Dewey Decimal call number indicates the general class the call number falls within. ...
  2. Numbers following the first 3 numbers. The numbers define the subject of the book. ...
  3. The Cutter Number is the next set of numbers.
Nov 23, 2021

Which is the correct numerical order of call numbers on a shelf? ›

It is read first alphabetically by letter, and then the numbers are read as a decimal. The last line is the year of publication, and is read in chronological order.

What do the numbers on library books mean? ›

All print or paper copies of books in the library are assigned a call number, usually found on the book spine. The call number represents what the book is about and acts like the book's address on the library's shelves or stacks.

What are the parts of call number? ›

Call numbers generally consist of two or three elements: an LC class number followed by a tag known as the Cutter number (or book number) and often a date.

What is a call number example? ›

The first line of a call number contains 1, 2, or 3 letters, which broadly define the subject area. For example: K - law in general, KF - law of the United States. The second line of the call number is a number, which further defines the subject. For example: books with the call number QE534.

How are call numbers assigned? ›

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.

Are library call numbers universal? ›

A bit late to answer the OPs question, but for the record... the answer is "usually they will be the same, but there is no requirement and there are often good reasons to vary". Factors which may cause a different number to be used by different libraries: Different classification systems.

How do you shelve a call number? ›

Letters in the first line of the call number are shelved in alphabetical order. The second line of a call number is shelved in numerical order. The third line is the trickiest part of the call number. The letter is shelved alphabetical.

How do you use the Library of Congress classification? ›

Books are arranged in order of the LoC number, alphabetically first and then by number. So E200 would come before the book above (E312) and A600 would be before E312. Books with the same LoC number are then arranged by author's name, and then by year.

What is shelving and shelf reading? ›

Shelving has been described as the act of organizing books by call numbers and placing them in their correct locations on the library shelves; while shelf reading is the process of reading the call numbers on books that are currently on the library shelves and ensuring that they are in the proper order.

How do you decode the Dewey Decimal System? ›

Dewey Decimal call numbers are organized as follows: The three numbers before the decimal are the Main Class, organized by the subject of the book. The numbers following the decimal are subdivisions of the main class, organized further by subject and author.

What is 398.2 in the Dewey Decimal System? ›

398.2 is the call number for the fairy tale section for the Dewey Decimal System, and it's an adorable, unusual pendant for fairy tale lovers, librarians and book geeks.

What do the Dewey Decimal numbers mean? ›

Shelving Items in "Dewey Order" In the Dewey Decimal System, books are filed digit by digit, not by whole number. This means, for example, that our book at 595.789/BRO would come after 595.0123 and before 595.9. With Dewey decimal numbers, it doesn't matter how long the number is.

Can 2 books have the same call number? ›

A duplicate call number occurs when two or more different items have the same call number in the same location. In such cases it is necessary to change the call number(s) on the affected title(s) to ensure that each has a unique call number.

How are call numbers completed in a library using Library of Congress classification? ›

As you know, LC call numbers are composed of several parts that usually appear in a predictable order. The class or subclass, represented by letters, comes first. It is followed by an Arabic numeral, which is followed by one or more cutter numbers.

What's a call number? ›

A call number is a unique number given to an item that identifies the location and subject content of materials in a library. Call numbers are found on the spine of the book or the upper left hand corner of an item.

Does every book have a Library of Congress call number? ›

In order to find a book on the shelf you will need to know a) the call number of the book and b) the floor on which it is shelved. Please note that books are arranged by call number, not by ISBN number or by title. Every book has a call number.

What is a call number prefix? ›

Call Numbers, the letters and/or numbers placed on the spine of an item, gives you the exact location of the item on the shelf. This is where a call number is located: Fiction Books are shelved with the prefix of F and alphabetically by the first three letters of the authors last name.

Why is call number important? ›

Call numbers are very important in libraries...they tell you the exact address or where the book is found in the Library. Most college and university libraries, including the HCC Library, use Library of Congress call numbers to organize their materials.

How long are call numbers? ›

The call numbers below are in correct order from left to right. Line 4. Many call numbers are only three lines long. Sometimes there will be a second Cutter Number added to the call number, which would follow the same pattern as line 3 as it is actually a continuation of the third line that began with a decimal point.

What is library class number? ›

Definition of class number

: a number or letter (from a classification scheme) assigned to a book or other library material to show its location on the library shelf.

How do you call number group books on the shelf? ›

Books are shelved in call number order, so you can find a specific book when you need it. Call numbers are actually made up of letters and numbers that follow a pattern: a letter or letters, followed by a number, followed by one or two letter-number groups, followed by the year of publication.

How do you shelve a cutter number? ›

Follow these general rules when dealing with cutter numbers:
  1. Treat the letter of the cutter number alphabetically. ...
  2. Smaller first digits after the letter are shelved before larger ones. ...
  3. Smaller second, third, etc.
May 10, 2022

How do you read a shelf? ›

If you are shelf reading in non‐fiction, you'll start with the Dewey Decimal number on the spine followed generally by the first 7 letters of the author's last name. These should be shelved in numerical order starting with 000 and going up to 999. Many books in a section will have the same Dewey Decimal number.

How many books do you need to be considered a library? ›

Mr. Byers cited a common belief that 1,000 is the minimum in any self-respecting home library. Then he quickly divided that number in half. Five hundred books ensure that a room “will begin to feel like a library,” he said.

How do you categorize books in a library? ›

The most common way to shelve books in a library is to use the Dewey Decimal System, which groups books of the same subject together. With this system, every book is categorised into 10 main sections.

What do the numbers on library books mean? ›

All print or paper copies of books in the library are assigned a call number, usually found on the book spine. The call number represents what the book is about and acts like the book's address on the library's shelves or stacks.

What is call number example? ›

The first line of a call number contains 1, 2, or 3 letters, which broadly define the subject area. For example: K - law in general, KF - law of the United States. The second line of the call number is a number, which further defines the subject. For example: books with the call number QE534.

How do you read the Library of Congress call number at the University of Arkansas? ›

How to Read a Library of Congress Call Number (University ... - YouTube

How do you arrange call numbers in order? ›

Books are arranged in alphabetical order, by the letters on the first line of the call number. For example, first come all the D call numbers, then all the DA call numbers, then DB, etc.

Videos

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3. Understanding Library of Congress Call Numbers
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