What are call numbers and how do I use them?


The Libraries use several different call number systems to shelve items. The most common call number systems are Library of Congress (example: PR4565 .A1 1982) and Dewey Decimal (example: 825D55 ONM22).

When you look at a record in the library catalog, write down both the Library location and the call number.

Write down call number

Go to the library location indicated, then look for maps and signs indicating where specific call number ranges are shelved.

Browse the shelf to find the call number. Spend a few minutes looking and ask us if you have any questions.

Tip: You may see abbreviations like Mfiche or Mfilm or additional words like Reference, Folio, Quarto, etc. in the call number. Use the library map or ask for more information about the location of these items.

Handout: Making Sense of Call Numbers: Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal (PDF)


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