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Understanding Call Numbers

What's a Call Number?

A call number is a number, or a letter-number combination, that indicates where an item is located in the CRC. Like many academic libraries, the CRC uses the Library of Congress classification system for call numbers. This system uses letters and numbers to arrange materials in the CRC by subject . Each book, video, DVD, kit, or poster in the CRC has a unique call number. The call number is the number that you will find when searching the online catalog for books, DVDs, or other library materials. It indicates where the item is located in the CRC.

Why Use Call Numbers?

The Library of Congress system organizes items by subject. When you locate a book on a specific topic, there should be other books on the same topic shelved in the same area. Call numbers are based on what the book is about. Call numbers can help you find more information on your topic. The first letter (or letters) of the call number indicate what the book is about, in general. For example, books that begin with LB are about teaching and education. The book The New Elementary Teacher's Handbook has the call number LB2844.1.N4 J65 2002.

How Do I Read Call Numbers?

On the book the first part of the call number is the collection code. This indicates in which area of the CRC you can find the book. After the collection code is the first part of the call number, which indicates the general subject area. The CRC has several collection codes. The second line is a whole number, and it makes the subject more specific. The third line is letters and numbers. This is the cutter number, and it follows a formula that often signifies the author or title of the work. The final line is the year that the book was published.

On the shelves you read the call numbers in alphabetical/numerical order. Read the shelves from left to right. After the first letters (that indicate the subject of the book) read the next number as a whole number: 1, 2, 3, 32, 235, etc. The next line (the letter-number combination) is read as a decimal number: 1.2, 2.35, 3.2, 12, 24.

Finding Journal Articles on Education Topics

The CRC collection includes numerous journals and magazines, which are useful for browsing for general information, getting ideas for research topics, and for personal and professional interest. When searching for articles on a specific topic, however, it is often more beneficial to search the EBSCOhost databases. EBSCOhost databases contain articles from over 7,500 leading journals and magazines including numerous journals in the field of education. You can search the databases by keyword, subject, author, title, and more. You can limit your search so that you retrieve articles that are full text, articles that are published by scholarly journals, and limit your results by date.

As always, if you have questions, please call 237-6798 or come see us in person at the CRC in Building V. We are here to help!