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Classification System

Classics Library Call Numbers

If the call numbers used in the Classics Library for works by Latin and Greek authors look different than the call numbers you may have seen used in other university libraries, it’s because they are different. The Classics Library separates works according to to the language they were originally written in—Latin or Greek—and then alphabetizes them by the author’s last name. Thus, each Latin and Greek author has a section of the library devoted solely to his or her works. In each section, copies of the complete works of the author are shelved before copies of individual works by the author. That means, for example, that Platonis Opera (the complete works of Plato) will be on shelf before Plato’s Republic.

Here’s how the Classics Library system of call numbers works:


The call number of an edition of the complete works of an author usually has three lines. The first line of the call number contains the classification number which identifies whether the work is by a Latin or Greek author; 871 is used for Latin authors, and 881 is used for Greek authors. The second line of the call number contains the particular number assigned to each author, such as P5 for Plato and O8 for Ovid; the authors are thus arranged alphabetically on the shelves. The third line indicates the date of new or revised editions of the complete works of an author.

First line of call number: Classification number

  • 871 for Latin literature
  • 881 for Greek literature

Second line of call number: Author number

  • Letter is initial of author’s last name
  • Number is position of author on the shelf

Third line of call number: Date of edition

  • Used to identify new or revised editions

Example 1
First edition of the complete works of Cicero
Citation: Cicero. Opera Omnia.

871 (Classification number for Latin authors)

C7 (Author number for Cicero)

Example 2
Revised edition of the complete works of Cicero

871 (Classification number for Latin authors)
C7 (Author number for Cicero)
1963 (Date of edition)


The classification used for the individual works of an author is much like that used for complete works, with two exceptions. First, each particular individual work is represented by a letter or two called a work mark which goes between the author number and decimal. Secondly, instead of using a date, the initial of the editor’s last name indicates a new or revised edition.

Example of first edition of individual work
Citation: Plato’s Phaedo, edited with introduction and notes by John Burnet

881 (Classification number for Greek authors)
(Plato’s author number, work mark for Phaedo, b for Burnet.)

Example of treatment of individual work
Citation: Reeve, C.D.C. Philosopher Kings: the Argument of Plato’s Republic

881 (Classification number for Greek authors)
(Plato’s author number, work mark for Republic, Y for commentary, r for Reeve.)


Works which have been rendered by a scholar in some way are called treatments; the most common treatments are translation and criticism. Treatments, which are indicated in the second line of a call number, are separated from the author number by a decimal and represented by a capital letter. Following the treatment symbol is the scholar’s mark, the lower-case initial of the last name of the scholar responsible for the treatment.

Here are the treatment symbols:

Translations indicated by first letter(s) of language of translation:

A=Arabic; D=Dutch; DA=Danish; E=English; F=French; G=German; GR=Modern Greek; H=Hebrew; I=Italian; L=Latin; R=Russian; S=Spanish; SW=Swedish

Bibliography indicated by letter V

Biography indicated by letter W

Fragments and selections indicated by letter X

Criticism or commentary indicated by letter Y

Lexicons and concordances indicated by letter Z

Example 1
Citation: Plato. The Dialogues of Plato, translated into English with analysis and introductions by Benjamin Jowett

881 (Classification number for Greek authors)
(Author number for Plato, E for English translation, j for Jowett, the translator.)

Example 2
Citation: Concordance of Statius by Roy Deferrari

871 (Classification number for Latin authors)
(Author number for Statius, Z for concordance, d for Deferrari, the concordance