Finding call numbers

Category: Resource access and delivery

Purpose: General Interest

Audience(s): Undergraduate student

How to find print books and government publications by call number on the Library shelves.

 

Print books (LC call numbers)

Interpreting 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 the call number HM1091 .B47:

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

See the Waterloo Library floor plans for information about which call numbers are found on each floor.

Government publications (CODOC call numbers)

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

A breakdown of CODOC call number construction by section

Call number section Example call number 1:

CA1 BS57
C003
Example call number 2:

CA2ON NR403
80P15
Country

CA – Canada

CA – Canada

Level of Government

– 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