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Phillips Library: LC Classification System

The numbers

The Library of Congress Classification System (LC)

LC call numbers

Phillips Library uses the LC classification system to maximize effeciencies in processing materials. The LC  classification system is a complex schema using letters and numbers to create a shelf location (call number). The resulting shelf arrangement allows you to browse subject areas of the book shelves; you find one book in the catalog on a topic, go to the shelf, and there should be similar books contiguously shelved.

From WorldCat Discovery to the Shelf

When searching WorldCat, note call numbers and availability for each item in results lists. 

Sometimes the same book is available as an ebook and printed book.  When you see the Other Editions & Formats link, use it!

example

 









 

 





Note:  Only print books have shelf location numbers associated with them. 

 


Anatomy of a Library of Congress Classification Number

Call number 'LB 2395 .C65 1991' on the spine of a book and in the online catalogBook title: Uncensored War: The Media and Vietnam
Author: Daniel C. Hallin
Call Number: DS559.46 .H35 1986

The first two lines describe the subject of the book.
DS559.45 = Vietnamese Conflict

The third line often represents the author's last name.
H = Hallin

The last line represents the date of publication.


Tips for Finding Books on the Shelf

Call number 'LB 2395 .C65 1991' on the spine of a book and in the online catalogRead call numbers line by line.

LB
Read the first line in alphabetical order:
A, B, BF, C, D... L, LA, LB, LC, M, ML...

2395
Read the second line as a whole number:
1, 2, 3, 45, 100, 101, 1000, 2000, 2430...

.C65
The third line is a combination of a letter and numbers. Read the letter alphabetically. Read the number as a decimal, eg:
.C65 = .65 .C724 = .724

Some call numbers have more than one combination letter-number line.

1991
The last line is the year the book was published. Read in chronological order:
1985, 1991, 1992...

Here is a shelf of books with the call number order explained.

Ten Library of Congress call numbers in order on a shelf. On the first line, 'LA' before 'LB'.  On the second line, '2327' before '2328'. On the combination letter number line 'B' before 'C'. For the numbers after the letter on the combination line, '.55' before '.554' and '.554' before '.63'.  For the last line, '1987' before '1991'.

 

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