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Understanding Call Numbers

Once you have searched DELCAT and located an item that looks useful to you, how do you find it in the Library?


The first step is to locate and write down the item's call number. A call number acts as a book's address on the shelves. Just as each house on your street has a unique number, so does each book in the Library.

The call numbers group books together on the shelves based upon subject. This means that if you find one good book on your topic, you are likely to find others on the same or similar topics next to that book on the shelves.


The first letter(s) in the call number are alphabetical. The Ms come after the Ls, but before the Ps.

The second part of the call number is numerical. A book marked P 96 would be found between P 95 and P 97.

The third part of the call number begins with a decimal point. It is a combination of a letter and a number. The letters are read alphabetically (i.e P96.M, P96.N, P96.O, etc.), but the numbers are read as decimals rather than whole numbers.

It is difficult to explain how call numbers work. The best thing to do is to give it some practice. Click on the "Next" button to view a video that outlines this process for you.


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