|3.4.1 Understanding call numbers
Have you ever wondered how library resources are assigned their places on the shelves? Each book in the library has a call number.
A call number tells you where the book is located in the library. Call number appears on the spine of books and in OPAC.
Note that the same call number can be written from top-to-bottom, or left-to-right.
A call number label is attached to the spine or front cover of each item. Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Library uses the Library of Congress (LC) Classification System to assign call numbers.
A call number is the address of the book in the library collection.
(a) The first line of a call number may begin with one, two or three letters e.g. QE 352
- The first letter of a call number represents one of the 21 major divisions of the LC System. In the example, the subject "Q" is Science.
- The second letter "E" represents a subdivision of the sciences, Geology. All books in the QE's are primarily about Geology
Most other subject areas will have call numbers with one or two letters. These letters should be read alphabetically A-Z. A call number that begins with A is shelved before one that begins with B, C, etc. and a call number that begins with QE is located somewhere before the one that starts with QL.
(b) The second line is the numbers after letters with one or more digits.
- The first set of numbers in a call number help to define a book's subject.
- "534.2" in the example teach us more about the book's subject. The range QE500-625 are books about "Dynamic and Structural Geology".
Books with call number QE534.2 are specifically "Earthquakes, Seismology - General Works - 1970 to Present".
This line is read numerically. A call number with a smaller number in its second line is placed before one that has a large number for its second line.
(c) The third line is the trickest part of the call number. The letter is shelved alphabetically and the numerical component is read as decimal number. The third line often represents the author's last name. Example : B = Barron
The numbers have to be read as decimals :
0.444 before 0.64 before 0.7 before 0.7543
(d) The final lines of the call numbers may include dates, volume indicators, issue numbers, copy numbers.
Tips on how to read call number