You are here: Home Learn to Research Find Choose My Sources Call Numbers

Call Numbers

1. Call Numbers | 2. Dewey Decimal System | 3. Locating a Book

The call number of a book is its address in the library. Usually the call number is located on the spine of a book and has at least two lines. The call number is sometimes letters and not numbers at all. Below are examples of some typical call numbers. Your library may use others. Ask the librarian. 

734 tells me that this is in the nonfiction 700 / fine arts section. AND tells me that the author's name begins with "And" as in "Anderson".

If the first line of the call number is a series of numbers, the book is in the nonfiction section of the library. Nonfiction books contain information that is true. All books with the same number are about the same topic.

The second line of the call number is the beginning letters of the author's last name. If the Dewey numbers are exactly the same for two books, those two books will be in alphabetical order by the second line of the call number.

Books in the nonfiction section are in numerical order using the Dewey Decimal system.

FIC stands for Fiction LOW stands for the author's last name

If the first line of the call number of the book is FIC, the book is a fiction book. Fiction books are stories that are not factual or not true.

The second line of the call number is the beginning letters of the author's last name.These beginning letters are a clue as to that name. Many books may be written by different authors with names that start with the same letters (LOWRY and LOWMAN) so it is important that you know the complete last name of an author to quickly and accurately locate the book.

Since all fiction book call numbers have the exact same first line, they are put in alphabetical order by the author's last name.

  REF stands for reference. 912 tells me that this is a 900 /history & geography book HAM stands for the author's last name.

If the first line of the call number is REF it goes in the reference section of the library. Encyclopedias, atlases, dictionaries, and almanacs are the kinds of book in this section. Some books are in the reference section because they do not circulate like other library books and often do not circulate at all.

The second line of the call number is the Dewey number that indicates the subject of the book. It is just the same as books on the same topic in the nonfiction section.

The third line of the call number is the beginning letters of the author's last name. Books with the same Dewey number are shelved in alphabetical order by this line.

Books in this section are in numerical order using the Dewey Decimal system.

stands for story collection POE stands for the author's last name.

The first line of this call number stands for story collection. This is the section of the library where short stories are shelved.

The second line of this call number is the beginning letters of the author's last name.

Since all short story books have the exact same first line, they are put in alphabetical order by the author's last name.

  921 is the Dewey number for individual biographies. FORD is the last name of the subject of the book, Henry Ford in this case.

Biography books tell the life of one person. All biography books have the Dewey number 921 as the first line of the call number.

The second line in most nonfiction books refers to the author but this section is most useful if all the books about the same person are together no matter who the author is. For this reason, the second line is the name of the person the book is about, not the author.

Books in this section are in alphabetical order by the last name of the person the book is about.

Next => Now that you understand how call numbers work, it it is time to learn about the Dewey Decimal system.  

login (staff only)

<h3>form</h3><table></table><h3>cookies</h3><table></table><h3>lazy items</h3><table><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>SESSION</th><td>&lt;bound method SessionDataManager.getSessionData of &lt;SessionDataManager at /session_data_manager&gt;&gt;</td></tr></table><h3>other</h3><table><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>portal_catalog_78944</th><td>{'_daterangeindex_inverse_effectiveRange_2589380': IISet([])}</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>AUTHENTICATION_PATH</th><td>'oslis/virtual_hosting//'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>TraversalRequestNameStack</th><td>[]</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>LANGUAGE</th><td>'en'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>AUTHENTICATED_USER</th><td>&lt;PloneUser 'ElementaryUser'&gt;</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>URL</th><td>''</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>VirtualRootPhysicalPath</th><td>('', 'oslis')</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>VIRTUAL_URL</th><td>''</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>SERVER_URL</th><td>''</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>LANGUAGE_TOOL</th><td>&lt;Products.PloneLanguageTool.LanguageTool.LanguageBinding instance at 0x833522ab8&gt;</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>traverse_subpath</th><td>[]</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>PUBLISHED</th><td>&lt;FSPageTemplate at /oslis/learn-to-research/find/choose-my-sources/call-numbers/edupage_view&gt;</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>_plone_ec_cache</th><td>{34921158768: &lt;Products.PageTemplates.Expressions.ZopeContext object at 0x8317c9bd0&gt;}</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>method</th><td>'GET'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>ACTUAL_URL</th><td>''</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>VIRTUAL_URL_PARTS</th><td>('', 'learn-to-research/find/choose-my-sources/call-numbers')</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>URL0</th><td></td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>URL1</th><td></td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>URL2</th><td></td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>URL3</th><td></td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>URL4</th><td></td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>URL5</th><td></td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>BASE0</th><td></td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>BASE1</th><td></td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>BASE2</th><td></td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>BASE3</th><td></td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>BASE4</th><td></td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>BASE5</th><td></td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>BASE6</th><td></td></tr></table><h3>environ</h3><table><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>HTTP_X_REMOTE_USER</th><td>'ElementaryUser'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>SERVER_SOFTWARE</th><td>'Zope/(2.13.26, python 2.7.12, freebsd10) ZServer/1.1'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>SCRIPT_NAME</th><td>''</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>REQUEST_METHOD</th><td>'GET'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>PATH_INFO</th><td>'/VirtualHostBase/https/'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>SERVER_PROTOCOL</th><td>'HTTP/1.1'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>QUERY_STRING</th><td>''</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>channel.creation_time</th><td>1553628548</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>HTTP_X_REAL_IP</th><td>''</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>CONNECTION_TYPE</th><td>'close'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>HTTP_USER_AGENT</th><td>'CCBot/2.0 ('</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>SERVER_NAME</th><td>'localhost'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>REMOTE_ADDR</th><td>''</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>PATH_TRANSLATED</th><td>'/VirtualHostBase/https/'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>SERVER_PORT</th><td>'51117'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>HTTP_HOST</th><td>''</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>HTTP_X_VARNISH</th><td>'5457207'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>HTTP_ACCEPT</th><td>'text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>GATEWAY_INTERFACE</th><td>'CGI/1.1'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR</th><td>','</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING</th><td>'gzip'</td></tr><tr valign="top" align="left"><th>HTTP_X_VHM_HOST</th><td>''</td></tr></table>