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Locating a Book

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

Books using the Dewey Decimal system are in numerical order. If you can count, you already have a good idea about which book comes first. If you already understand decimal order from your math class, you already understand the trickiest part of locating books using the Dewey decimal system. It is exactly the same.

Why do you need to understand this to find books in the library?

 

                                      Books 1

These books are in correct Dewey decimal order. It is just like counting. Notice that the only time we worry about the alphabetical order in the second line is when the Dewey number is exactly the same. You can see this in the 567 books.

 

                                  Books 2

These books are also in correct order. If you think they are not in order it is probably because you think that .413 is a bigger number than .51 or .51 is a bigger number than .7 but that is not true. Although .413 is longer, it is not more.
 

To determine which book should come first, focus on the point where the numbers become different.

Compare these two call numbers: 365.413   and   365.51

Beginning at the left, compare both call numbers and look for the first number that is different. The 3, 6, and 5 are all the same. 
Notice that the first number after the decimal point is different. One is a 4 and the other is a 5.
The 4 is smaller so that book should come first. It does not matter how many other numbers come after it.

 

Next => Now that you have learned about call numbers, the Dewey Decimal system, and locating a book on the library shelf, let's go back to the Finding Sources page to pick up where you left off.   

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