Locating a Book on the Shelf

Tutorial Topic: 


Learn how to locate a book on the shelf using Library of Congress call numbers.


Use the AVAILABILITY tab to locate the items you want and make a note of the LOCATION, the CALL NUMBER, and the STATUS. Noting these is important and will prevent you from looking in the wrong library location, or looking for a book which is checked out or lost.  

Let’s look at an example: 
book example from search results
1. The location is Howard-Tilton Stacks. This book will be in the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library.  
 
    Locations may include:
 
Location listed Building Location
Amistad Research Center Tilton Memorial Hall
Architecture Richardson Memorial
Business Goldring-Woldenburg Hall
Howard-Tilton Stacks Howard-Tilton Memorial Library
Jones Hall  Jones Hall
Latin American Library  Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, 4th floor
Matas Medical Library Downtown Campus
Mathematics Library Gibson Hall, 4th floor
Music & Media Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, 6th floor
Offsite Depository (Ask at Circulation Desk) Request the book using online form
Vorhoff Library Caroline Richardson Building
 
2. The call number signifies:
QB   Subject area for the book
500   Number for a more specific subdivision of the subject area
.K65  Number for an individual book
1995 Publication date

3. Not Checked Out means that the books should be on the shelf. Checked Out, Renewed, 
In Process, Lost, and Missing statuses indicate that the book is not on the shelf. Howard Tilton 
Reserves items are at the Check-Out Desk on the 1st floor (or on the 6th floor if item is a DVD).
 
For items with the status Check for availability, ask for help at the Research Help Desk.

Most of Tulane’s resources are classified in the Library of Congress Classification System which arranges materials by subject. The first letter denotes the larger subject area (Q for science) with a second letter designating a subdivision (QB for Astronomy).
 
For items in Howard-Tilton Stacks, use the Call Number Floor Guide to determine which floor the book will be shelved:
 
Call Number Floor
A - BF 5
BH - DA 4
DB - LT 3
M - NX 6
P - PF 3
PG - QD  2
QE - Z 1
Periodicals On Display 3

The call number QB falls between call numbers N – QD, so QB 500 .K65 1995 is shelved on the 2nd floor of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. 

Next, look at the signs on ends of the shelves to find the call number area you need.
 
The signs at the end of the book shelves indicate the range of call numbers you will find in that particular row. Find the general area, in this case, the Qs. Then look for the specific area, in this case, QBs. Then find the row where your book is located.
 
QB
65
U7
to QC
1
A4963

Call number QB 500 .K65 1995 falls between the call numbers listed on this sign. The book is in this row.

Read the call numbers on the books in the row to find the book you need.

How to read a call number:

1. Books are arranged alphabetically by the initial letters in the call number ...
H451
.Z682
1998
HA126
.I90
1987
HB12
.I90
2000
HC13
.C55
1952
2. ... then numerically by the numbers after the letter or letters. These numbers are read as whole numbers -
1, 2, 3 ... 101, 102, 103 ... 1001, 1002, 1003, etc.
BF1
.J575
BF699
.D46
BF1028
.B45
1993b
BF1125
.G38
1992
3. The letters that follow the decimal point are read
alphabetically.
BF699
.D46
BF699
.H5
BF699
.J6
BF699
.P7
4. The numbers that follow the the decimal point are in decimal order.
PS3569
.A462345
D45
PS3569
.A5137
F4
1984
PS3569
.A52
B58
1999
PS3569
.A5452
A44
1996
5. There may be a second letter-number combination after the decimal. These should also be read in decimal order.
PS3566
.A6948
B3
1994
PS3566
.A6948
E43
1998
PS3566
.A6948
J64
2000
PS3566
.A6948
W5
1997
6. The four numbers at the end of the record are the publication date.
BF1028
.B45
1993
BF1028
.B45
1993b
BF1125
.G38
1992
BF1125
.G38
1995