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REL 020A: Comparing Religions - The Wheel and the Cross - Trainor (Fall 2017)

Library of Congress (LC) Classification System

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (LC) CLASSIFICATION

  • System of Call Numbersand Subject Headings* - which are connected to each other
  • Used by academic libraries
  • Call Numbers and Subject Headings are selected so materials being cataloged will be put on the shelf near similar materials. The first subject heading is the main focus of the book. The call number corresponds to the first subject heading :

What is the Purpose of Call Numbers? (though it starts with letters, it is called a number )

Each book has a unique call number, which provides an address or location for the item, and also provides valuable information about it, such as the subject, first letter of the author’s last name, and date of publication.

Call numbers appear: on the spine of books and in the Classic Library catalog:

 

The Library of Congress (LC) Classification System arranges materials by subjects. The first sections of the call number represent the subject of the book.

In the LC Classification System for the Old Testament, here is a sampling of how the call number would begin:

BS701-1830     Old Testament
BS705-815       Early versions
BS825-1013     Modern texts and versions
BS1091-1099   Selections. Quotations
BS1110-1199    Works about the Old Testament

The letter-and-decimal section of the call number often represents the author’s last name. The last section of a call number is often the date of publication.

Anatomy of a Call Number for the book Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Israel by Kenton L. Sparks
BS Subject Classification (Religion --> The Bible) Alphabetical
1199 Main Subject (works about the Old Testament) Numerical
.E84 Subject which narrows the focus of the book even further Alphabetical
.S63 Author's last name (first initial) Alphabetical
1998 Date of Publication Numerical

When you reach the top of the stairs on the 2nd floor, the floor map on the wall is opposite you.
Look to the left and you'll see the stacks at the beginning of the call number range. (See next image below)

The card at the end of each stack row tells you the call number range in that row. For example, B 3776 .W564 N - BD 111 .P tells you that any call number that comes between B 3376 .W564 .N and BD 111 .P (e.g., B 4023 .L) is on the shelf in that stack row.

When you reach the top of the stairs on the 3rd floor, turn to the right. Then turn right again until you're standing in the aisle between the stack rows, where the majority of the books on this floor are shelved (see image left).

The call number guide card at the end of each stack row tells you the call number range in that row. For example, PR 3588 .I - PR 4469 tells you that any call number that comes between PR 3588 .I and PR 4469 (e.g., PR 3991 .A1 H68 2012) is on the shelf in that stack row.

NOTE! The books are shelved in a "zig-zag" pattern. As you look at the call number guide card at the end of a stack, note the last call number in that stack. To find books immediately following that call number, first look to the row on the other side of the aisle. In the image above, note the gap between PR 4469 on one guide card and PR 5530 on the other guide card. Look across the aisle to find the stack that has books with call numbers ranging from PR 4470 - PR 5529.

Why is it Important to Know the Structure of a Call Number?

Although the most efficient way to locate materials on a particular topic is usually to perform a subject or keyword search in the Library Catalog and then note the call number for each retrieved item, browsing the shelves can also help you locate material appropriate for your topic.


Since books are classified by subject, you can often find several helpful books on the same shelf, or nearby.
For example, within the subject classifications BS1110-1199, you will find books about the Old Testament.

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