Call numbers

Library of Congress call numbers

Explaining LC call numbers

To organize books on the shelves, the library uses Library of Congress (or LC) call numbers, which have letters and numbers. Books on similar topics are shelved together.

  • Broad classes are identified by a single letter (P=Language and literature)
  • Subclasses by combinations of letters (PR=English literature)
  • Subtopics by numbers (Shakespeare=PR 2750 - PR 3112; Hamlet=PR 2807)
  • The complete call number appears after the location of the item in the library record, for example:

Finding LC call numbers

The library uses Library of Congress (or LC) call numbers, which have letters and numbers. Books on similar topics are shelved together. Here is how to find HM1091 .B47:

  1. First, find the letter(s). Single letters come before double: H, HB, HM

    On the Waterloo Campus, call numbers are located on a number of different floors. For example, HM is located on the 6th floor

  2. Next, find the number: Numbers start at 1 and follow in numerical order, so look for 1,091.
  3. Last, look at the second letter/number. Find the letter first, then the number, which is read like a decimal: .B4, .B41, .B452 all come before .B5

Call number range locations

Visit the Waterloo Library floor plans for more information.

Government documents call numbers (CODOC)

Government Document call numbers are made up of codes that classify documents by country and by departments within countries.

Call number section Example call number 1:
CA1 BS57
C003
Example call number 2:
CA2ON NR403
80P15
A breakdown of CODOC call number construction by section
Country

CA – Canada

CA – Canada

Level of Government

1 – Federal

2 – Provincial

Province/State

ON – Ontario

Dept./Agency

BS – Statistics Canada(was Bureau of Statistics)

NR – Natural Resources

Dept. Subdivision

57

403

Date of Publication

80 (ie 1980)

Title Indicator (monographs)

P15

Title Indicator (serials)

C003

CODOC Shelving Tips

Tip #1

Government documents are shelved by call number, alpha-numerically from left to right. Write out the call number on two lines. For monographs, the second line starts with the date code:

CA2ON NR403 80P15

should be

CA2ON NR403
80P15

For serials and ongoing publications such as annual reports, dates are not given and so the second line starts with the letter/number code for the title.

CA1 BS57 C003

should be

CA1 BS57
C003
Tip #2

Serials are shelved before monographs within each department and agency.

CA1
DA A53
1980/81

comes before

CA1 DA
88 L55
Tip #3

The numbers on line one are whole numbers. The numbers on line two that are a part of the letter/number code are not.

On line one, the number sequence is determined by the entire number as shown, but also note that a blank space following the Dept/Agency code is counted as a zero.

CA1 DA_

comes before

CA1 DA4

which comes before

CA1 DA35

On line two, the number sequence is determined by comparing the digits within the number.

Sequence:

14, 350, 4

would read as

140, 350, 400
CA1 DA35
L435

comes before

CA1 DA35
88 L55