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How to read a Call Number: Home

A call number is like an address; it tells you where the book is located on the shelf. Each book, CD-ROM, journal, etc., has its own unique call number which is attached to the book's spine or down left hand corner of the cover (or envelope).

About a LC Call Number

The Library of Congress Classification (LCC) LC Call Number System is a classification system that is used by most academic libraries in the United States. It is currently one of the most widely used library classification systems in the world.  The LCC system divides all knowledge into twenty-one basic classes, each identified by a single letter of the alphabet. Most of these alphabetical classes are further divided into more specific subclasses, identified by two-letter, or occasionally three-letter, combinations.  The NVCC library uses the Library of Congress Classification Call Number System. 

Twenty-one basic classes

A Call Number Structure

The Library of Congress Classification Call Number System arranges library materials by subject:

  • the first two lines of the call number represent the subject of the item;
  • the decimal-and-letter section of the call number often represents the author's last name or the item title;
  • the last section of the call number is often the year of publication.


YouTube: How to read a LC Call Number by University of Arkansas Library

Alison Wang

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Jaime Hammond
Library L406
(203) 575-8199