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Finding Resources: How to Read the Library Call Numbers

July 2020
TIP - Call numbers group materials on similar subjects together to facilitate browsing. So, if you find one book that closely matches your topic, you will likely find others next to it on the shelf that fit with your research.

How are the books arranged on the Shelves in the Library?

Books are arranged by call number 000-999, using the Dewey Decimal Classification System.  It is a numerical system using groupings of ten classes.

Reading a Dewey Decimal Call Number

To read the Dewey Decimal call number:  355.51 J27

355.51: The number in front of the decimal is read as a whole number (three hundred and fifty five), then treat the rest as a decimal. 355.51 would come between 355.5 and 355.52.

J27: For the final number, go to the letter first and then read the rest as the whole number. J27 would come between H785 and K12.

The following books are in the correct order.

First book, 813.04 O38. Second book, 813.04 O4. Third book, 813.13 I32. Fourth book, 813.2 B35.


Dewey Decimal Classification 
The beginning numbers of a Dewey Decimal call number indicate what broad classification your book is in.
000 - Generalities, Computer Science, and Information
100 - Philosophy and Psychology
200 - Religion
300 - Social Sciences (anthropology, archeology, sociology, military)
400 - Language
500 - Natural Sciences (biology, astronomy, etc.) and Mathematics
600 - Technology (applied sciences)
700 - The Arts
800 - Literature and Rhetoric
900 - Geography and History
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