Reference and Instructional Services Department

How to Read a Call Number

The University of Delaware Library uses the Library of Congress classification system to organize most materials. Each book (or bound volume of a periodical) is assigned a call number - a unique number that specifically identifies one copy of one book. A book is shelved according to its call number. Therefore, the call number also serves as a book's address or location in the building. The Library of Congress classification system groups books on the same subject together on the shelves.

A call number is always read line-by-line, from top to bottom. Library of Congress call numbers always start with letters - typically one or two letters, sometimes three.

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Above is an example of call numbers in order, as you might see them on the spines of books on the shelves.

 

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The first letter of the call number indicates the floor where thoses call numbers are shelved. Special locations may be listed before the call number.

 

Call number floor locations:   Examples of special locations:
     
A-H 3rd Floor
J-K LL (Lower Level)
L-N 3rd Floor
P-Q 2nd Floor
R-Z LL (Lower Level)
 
Reference Reference room, 1st Floor
Library Annex Off-site; request items from the Annex using the Library Annex Request Form

 

More Information

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