Alumnae Library
Holly Stevens
Head of Circulation & InterLibrary Loan



Alumnae Library
Matthew Sheridan
Head of Digital Special Collections & Technical Services


Call numbers

Information at Your Fingertips

A Guide for Survival in the Information Jungle


Subject Divisions | LC Classification - Full | Tips for Finding Books | Call Numbers | Locating Library Materials by Call Number


Subject Divisions

Library of Congress (LC) call numbers begin with letters that represent the 21 subject divisions of the LC system:

A - General WorksM - Music
B - Philosophy, Psychology, ReligionN - Fine Arts
C - Auxiliary Sciences of HistoryP - Language & Literature
D - History - GeneralQ - Science
E - History - Western HemisphereR - Medicine
F - U.S. Local HistoryS - Agriculture
G - Geography, Anthropology, RecreationT - Technology
H - Social SciencesU - Military Science
J - Political ScienceV - Naval Science
K - LawZ - Library & Information Science
L - Education 


Tips for Finding Books on the Shelf

Call NumberRead call numbers line by line.

1. LB (L call numbers are education related)
Read the first line in alphabetical order:
A, B, BF, C, D... L, LA, LB, LC, M, ML...

2. 2395 (Two thousand three hundred ninety-five)
Read the second line as a whole number:
1, 2, 3, 45, 100, 101, 1000, 2000, 2430...

3. .C65 (Author line)
The third line is a combination of a letter and numbers. Read the letter alphabetically. Read the number as a decimal, eg:
Some call numbers have more than one combination letter-number line.

4. 1991 (Year of Publication)
The last line is the year the book was published.
Read in chronological order:
1985, 1991, 1992...

Call Numbers

Following the letters are numbers which help to define the subject of the material:


The call number has several parts to it:

BR represents a specific area of Religion, namely Christianity.
145 further defines this book as Church History.
.L87 is the Cutter number, which is a code for the author's last name (in this case, Lortz).
1992 is the date of publication which is sometimes added to the call number.

This call number system allows materials on related subjects to be shelved in the same area. For example, if a patron goes to the book shelves to locate the call number BR 145 .L87 1992, other books on Church History would be found in the vicinity.


 Locating Library Materials by Call Number

Book and journal call numbers are shelved in alphabetical and then numerical order. Since there is a decimal point on the third line of the call number, the following books would be found in this order:

The first line is alphabetical (e.g., B is shelved before BR).

The second line of the call number is a whole number (e.g., 138 is before 145).

The third line of the call number is the first letter of the author's last name followed by a decimal number (e.g., .L87 is before .P87).