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Library Research Tutorial: Adapted from Canvas Course

This Research Guide runs through the same information as the Library Tutorial course in Canvas. Use this guide to quickly access that information without needing to log into Canvas, and use it as a refresher for the main points in the Canvas tutorial.

Call Numbers

You may have used Dewey Decimal call numbers in the past. The Dewey Decimal System is used by most public and school libraries to classify and shelve library materials. 

At the UNK Library, and in most other academic libraries, call numbers based on the Library of Congress Classification System are used instead..

A Dewey or Library of Congress (LC) call number serves as an "address" for placing library materials on the shelf, together by subject. You don't need to memorize the table below; just remember that LC call numbers begin with one or more letters based on subject.

Library of Congress Call Number Classes

A: general works

HM-HT: sociology

Q: math, science, computer science

B-BJ: philosophy

HV: social work, criminal justice

R: medicine

BF: psychology

J: political science

S: agriculture

BL-BX: religion

K: law

T: technology, engineering

C, D, E, F: history

L: education

U: military science

G: geography, anthropology, recreation

M: music

V: naval science

HB-HJ: economics, business, finance

N: fine arts

Z: bibliography, printing, publishing

P: language & literature, communication, media studies

Reading Call Numbers

Reading Library of Congress Classification Numbers

The first line of a Library of Congress call number begins with one or two letters. These letters should be read in alphabetical order. A call number that begins with A is shelved before one that begins with B, and a call number that begins with QE is located some distance before one that starts with QK.

QE
before
QK

 The second line of a call number consists of one or more numbers. This line is read in numerical order, so that a smaller number precedes a larger number.

HD
984
before

HD
1009

The third line is the most difficult part of the call number. The letter following a period is shelved alphabetically, thus:

QE
363.8
.B36
1976
before
QE
363.8
.H35
1974

 However, the number on this third line is read like a decimal. Thus, these examples are in correct call number order:

E
534
.C444
2011
before
E
534
.C64
2004
before
E
534
.C7
2008
before
E
534
.C754
1978


This makes sense if you read these numbers as decimals!

0.444
before
0.64
before
0.7
before
0.754

 The final line of a call number may include a date, volume indicator, issue number, copy number, or other annotation. These are shelved in numerical order following the preceding lines as shown below.

BF
31
.E52
2006
before
BF
31
.E52
2007
before
BF
31
.E52
2008