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How to read a call number

Most of the UIUC Libraries use a modified Dewey Decimal classification system to keep their books in order. Libraries not using the Dewey system, like the UGL, use the Library of Congress (LC) classification system .

In the Dewey Decimal classification system, books on similar subjects are grouped together by means of their call numbers.

The main Dewey Decimal classes are:

000 Generalities
100 Philosophy and psychology
200 Religion
300 Social Sciences
400 Language
500 Natural sciences and mathematics
600 Technology (Applied sciences)
700 The arts (fine and decorative)
800 Literature and rhetoric
900 Geography and history
( To see all 1,000 numbers spelled out, see our full Dewey Decimal system chart.)

Each class is further subdivided at the hundred divisions and the the thousand sections. Numbers are placed after a decimal point to further identify material more specifically by subject.


 

Making sense of a call number

Here is a sample of a book title and Dewey decimal call number. Note how, as we analyze the call number, each line leads to more specific information about the book's topic:

142.780973 C826e

Existential America by George Cotkin

100

Philosophy & psychology

140

Specific philosophical schools

142

Critical philosophy

142.7

Phenomenology

142.78

Existentialism

142.780973

About Existentialism in America (0973 at the end means history and description about America)


Cutter Numbers

The second line in the call number is called the Cutter number, and it further distinguishes the book. The Cutter Number indicates the author of a book. In the case where there is no author, the title of the book is used. The Cutter Number is taken from a table matching names to a set of numbers.

Cotkin

C826

 

If the author has several works in a subject area, you will see a work mark at the end of the Cutter Number. The work mark is usually the first letter or letters of the first distinctive word in the title.

Existential

C826e


Additional Numbers

Since the UIUC Library has such a large collection, there may be some additional information after the Cutter Number line.

Some examples include:

813
Sa33c
1994

1994 is the year of the edition

Q 503
G131
2004
v.3
Q means that the book is oversized. Oversized books may be organized together or they may be integrated into the rest of the collection. This depends on the library.
v.3 is the volume number
813
Sa33c
1951a
cop.2
cop.2 is the copy number

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