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LIS 1001 Fall 2014: Call Numbers

For use with the classes taught by Librarians

Understanding Call Numbers

 

 

 

Understanding Call Numbers

Have you ever wondered how library books are assigned their places on the shelves? Did you know that the call number -- the number placed on the spine of the book -- is a code which provides valuable information about the book?
This page will provide an introduction to understanding and using library call numbers.


What are call numbers for?

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 spine of the book. Note that the same call number can be written from top-to-bottom, or left-to-right.


Like many academic libraries in the U.S., we use Library of Congress Classification for call numbers. This system uses a combination of letters and numbers to arrange materials by subjects.  Click here to see the Library of Congress Classification Outline.

Reading Call Numbers

Read Call numbers line by line:

Read the first line in alphabetical order:

Read the second line as a whole number:A single letter (Q) comes before two letters (QD)

1, 2, 13, 76, 76.76, 76.8, 80, 137, 200, 1999, 2000, etc.

BF

77

P35

2008

 

The third line is a combination of a letter and numbers:

Find the letter first, then read the number as a decimal, looking at each digit in turn from left to right.

.01, .1, .19, .20, .75, .755, .76

(Note: this line may carry over to the next line, or there may be more than one letter-number line)

Finally, some books have the publication year as the very last line:

1971, 1986, 1997, 1999…

What does the call number mean?

Remember that Library of Congress Classification arranges materials by subjects. The first sections of the call number represent the subject of the book. The letter-and-decimal section of the call number often represents the author's last name. And, as you recall, the last section of a call number is often the date of publication.
example:

BF 77 P35 2008

How Books are Arranged on the Shelf

To understand how call numbers are put in order in Library of Congress Classification, again look at each section of the call number.

What does the call number mean?

Remember that Library of Congress Classification arranges materials by subjects. The first sections of the call number represent the subject of the book. The letter-and-decimal section of the call number often represents the author's last name. And, as you recall, the last section of a call number is often the date of publication.
example:

BF 77 P35 2008

How Books are Arranged on the Shelf

To understand how call numbers are put in order in Library of Congress Classification, again look at each section of the call number.

 

Find a Book by Call Number

How do I use the call numbers to find a book in the stacks?

If you search for a book under the subject of Psychology, one book you will find is called Psychology as a Major. The Call Number is BF 77 P35 2008.

Books and multimeda are arranged on our shelves according to the Library of Congress (LC) classification system. Each is assigned a unique call number based on its subject matter and other characteristics. Items on the same subject will often be grouped together.

Each call number consists of several elements. For example, consider:

BF
77
P35
2008

The FIRST line, BF, is based on the broad subject of the book. Within Class B for Philosophy, Psychology and Religion, BF represents psychology.

The SECOND line, 77, defines the subject matter more finely. When looking for the book, read this as a whole number with a decimal component. In this example, BF 77 represents a subdivision of BF.

The THIRD line, P35, usually indicates author, but may also represent a further subject subdivision, geographic area, etc. There may also be a fourth line, formatted the same way. When looking for the book, read the numeric component as if it were preceded by a decimal point. read ).

The YEAR of publication, such as 2008, may also be present. These file in chronological order and often indicate successive editions of a book. The call number may also have additional elements, such as volume numbers.

In using a call number to locate a book on the shelf, consider each element in turn before moving on to the next segment.

Call Numbers for Psychology

Subclass BF                                                                                                         

BF1-990 Psychology                                                                                                                                 

BF38-64 Philosophy. Relation to other topics

BF173-175.5 Psychoanalysis

BF176-176.5 Psychological tests and testing

BF180-198.7 Experimental psychology

BF203 Gestalt psychology

BF207-209 Psychotropic drugs and other substances

BF231-299 Sensation. Aesthesiology

BF309-499 Consciousness. Cognition Including learning, attention,

comprehension, memory, imagination, genius, intelligence, thought

and thinking, psycholinguistics, mental fatigue

BF501-505 Motivation

BF511-593 Affection. Feeling. Emotion

BF608-635 Will. Volition. Choice. Control

BF636-637 Applied psychology

BF638-648 New Thought. Menticulture, etc.

BF660-685 Comparative psychology. Animal and human psychology

BF692-692.5 Psychology of sex. Sexual behavior

BF697-697.5 Differential psychology. Individuality. Self

BF698-698.9 Personality

BF699-711 Genetic psychology

BF712-724.85 Developmental psychology Including infant psychology, child psychology, adolescence, adulthood

BF725-727 Class psychology

BF795-839 Temperament. Character

BF839.8-885 Physiognomy. Phrenology

BF889-905 Graphology. Study of handwriting

BF908-940 The hand. Palmistry

BF1001-1389 Parapsychology

BF1001-1045 Psychic research. Psychology of the conscious

BF1048-1108 Hallucinations. Sleep. Dreaming. Visions

BF1111-1156 Hypnotism. Suggestion. Mesmerism. Subliminal projection

BF1161-1171 Telepathy. Mind reading. Thought transference

BF1228-1389 Spiritualism Including mediumship, spirit messages, clairvoyance

BF1404-2055 Occult sciences

BF1444-1486 Ghosts. Apparitions. Hauntings

BF1501-1562 Demonology. Satanism. Possession

BF1562.5-1584 Witchcraft

BF1585-1623 Magic. Hermetics. Necromancy

BF1651-1729 Astrology

BF1745-1779 Oracles. Sibyls. Divinations

BF1783-1815 Seers. Prophets. Prophecies

BF1845-1891 Fortune-telling

BF2050-2055 Human-alien encounters. Contact between humans and extraterrestrials