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Finding Sources: Using call numbers to find books

This guide is a general introduction to finding different types of sources available at Jennings Library, including books, scholarly and newspaper articles, music and videos, databases, and statistics.

Library of Congress System

Reference books and the circulating collection at Jennings Library are classified using the Library of Congress system of call numbers.

About Call Numbers:

A uniqu identification   number 
Each book (or other item) has its own unique call number which is taped to the lower outside edge of the book’s spine.

A miniature   subject   formula 
Books written about the same subject have similar call numbers, which groups them together on the shelf, making it easier for you to browse the library’s holdings on a specific topic.

A  location   code 
A book’s call number also appears in the entry in CALCAT, the online catalog which lists the holdings of Jennings Library. Once you have located the entry for a specific book in CALCAT, make a note of its call number and then look for the book in call number order on the library shelves (also called the “stacks”). Location codes tell you where in the library the books will be found, i.e. Reference Department, Circulating Stacks, etc.


Dewey Decimal Call Numbers 
Most   school   and   public   libraries use a system called   Dewey Decimal (DDC)   call numbers which begin with Arabic numerals. In Jennings Library, Dewey Decimal call numbers are used for children’s picture books as well as juvenile fiction and non-fiction and Curriculum materials.

Library of Congress Call Numbers 
Most academic and research libraries use an entirely different system called   Library of Congress (LC)   call numbers, which begin with letters of the English alphabet. For example, the book with the title   A history of modern Germany : 1871 to present   has the call number:


In CALCAT, the call number in the example given above is listed   on a single line , with spaces between the four parts:

DD 220 .O67 1991

In the LC system, the first letter of the call number indicates the   general   subject area. The second letter indicates the   specific   sub-section within the general subject category. In the example given above, the first     in the call number indicates that the book is a work of  history . The second     indicates that it is a work of   German history .

In the LC system, works of fiction are assigned call numbers in the same way as nonfiction. Most works of fiction can be found in the   s, the section for literature .


Library of Congress call numbers usually have four lines or elements:


First line: 
The first line can be   either   a single or a double letter. If a book’s call number begins with a  single   letter which is the same as the   first   letter of a call number which begins with a  double   letter, then the book with the single letter is shelved   first , or to the left, on the shelf. For example, in the section for the   s, the correct sequence would be   P PA PB PC PD   to   PZ , followed by   Q QA QB QC QD   and so on.

Second line: 
The second line of an LC call number is always a   whole   number from     to   9999 . If the letters on the first line of the call number are the same, the book with the   smaller   number on the second line is shelved to the left of the book with the   larger   number. (Note that in the Dewey Decimal system, the largest number is 999.)

Third line: 
The third line of an LC call number is always a decimal point, followed by a letter and a number. Books are shelved alphabetically according to the letter to the right of the decimal point. For example, a book with   .G   on the third line of its call number would be shelved to the left of a book with   .H . If two books have the   same   letter on the third line, then the book with the smaller   decimal   number is shelved to the left of the book with the larger number. For example,   .G53   is shelved to the left of   .G532   because   .53   is a   smaller  decimal number than   .532 .

Fourth line: 
The fourth line of an LC call number is always a year of publication or a volume number. An earlier edition of the same work is always shelved to the left of a later edition A lower volume number is shelved to the left of a higher volume number.