For information on Library Services available during COVID-19, please see our news update.

Glossary: Call number

A call number is a number assigned to an item in the library. Each item has its own unique number.

You use a call number to find an item on our library shelves (stacks). Signs in the library tell you which call numbers are on which floor.

Our library, like most academic libraries, uses the Library of Congress Classification Scheme to assign call numbers. These call numbers always begin with letters, followed by numbers, followed by a decimal. The beginning letters represent the broad subject category under which the item belongs. Sometimes items are in special locations, such as Reserve, Reference, Folio, Pamphlet, Government Publication, etc. Always start your search with TOPCAT, get several relevant call numbers, and then browse the shelves around those items for more possibilities.