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Understanding Call Numbers

Any item physically located in the library has a unique call number, also known as a spine label, which helps you identify items on the shelves.

Watch this short video to learn the basics.

Now look at this sample record found in IUCAT, the library catalog. Note the call number and the location (circled in red).

Call Number in IUCAT

You have a location and a call number...now what?

Identify, using the lists below, on which floor a particular "Location" can be found.

First Floor
  • Atlas Case
  • Bestsellers
  • CD or CD-ROMs
  • DVDs
  • Government Publications
  • Government Publications CD or CD-ROM
  • Government Documents DVD
  • Government Documents Microfiche
  • Indexes
  • Map Case
  • Microfilm/Microfiche
  • Reference
  • Media Kits
  • Videos
Second Floor
  • Bound Journals
  • Campus Archives
  • Children's Literature
  • Current Periodicals
  • Newspapers
  • Rare Books
  • Stacks

After finding the location within the library, the call number ranges posted on the shelving end caps will help you find the call number. The example call number above will be found on the second floor in the STACKS location. The call number range of the shelving end caps will show a call number range of PS3507 – PS3515 .T.

Interested in browsing the shelves? View a detailed list of Library of Congress classification assignments (i.e. broad subject areas).

Last Updated: 30 December 2017

Last updated: 01/18/2018