Understanding Call Numbers

What is a call number?

Call numbers are like an address for a house or a URL for a web site. They provide a path to locating a book or other resource. At York Libraries we use the Library of Congress classification system to make our call numbers.

Call numbers are on spines of books AND displayed in the online catalogue

Spines of books In the catalogue
IMG_5837_edited_5 call_number3

How do I read call numbers?

The key is to read each piece of the call number individually. For example: HF 5386 S33 2007

HF Read the first line in alphabetic order:A, B, BF, C, D….H, HB, HF, J, L, LA, LB, M….
5836 Read the second line as a whole number:1, 2, 3, 45, 100, 101, 1000, 5001, 5380, 5386…
S33 The third line is a combination of a letter and a number. The letter often refers to the author.Read the letter alphabetically.Read the number as a decimal, e.g. .S33=.33, .S338=.338
2007 This is the year the book was published.

 

An example of call numbers in order on a shelf

HF
5386
K536
2000
HF
5386
K77
HF
5386
K776
1993
HF
5386
R155
HF
5386
S33
2007
HF
5386
S4127
1989
HF
5386
S54
1996