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Call Numbers (Library of Congress Classification): Introduction

How to find books and other materials using their Library of Congress call numbers.

Finding a Book

Call numbers in the library catalog and on the spine of the book

When you look up a book in the Library's online catalog, the call number listed for a book is how you will find it on the shelf (shorter books may have their call number in the bottom left hand corner of the cover). The call numbers are arranged alpha-numerically.

The Anatomy of a Call Number

The first two lines describe the subject of the book.
SF 426 = Dogs

The third line often represents the author's last name or the beginning of the responsible group's name.
A53 = American Kennel Club

The last line represents the date of publication.

Example of a call number

What is the Library of Congress Classification System?

College and university libraries use the Library of Congress Classification System to organize their books, DVDs, and more. The benefit of having a standard classification system is that no matter what academic library you go to, your research subject should be in the same call number range.

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