Locating Items by Call Number

Each book in the library is assigned a call number, a kind of code or unique address which stands for the book's main subject and tells you exactly where to look on the shelf. Because the books in the library are arranged by subject, if you can locate one book on a subject, chances are that there will be others on the same subject nearby.

You can look up an item's call number in WebCat, the Hekman Library online catalog. Once you have a call number, you need to determine on which floor of the library the item will be found.

In brief, to find an item, first match the letter, then the first set of numbers, and then the next letter/number set. Keep narrowing your search on the shelf until you find it.

TP155 .N38 2003 is the call number for Beyond the molecular frontier. There are four parts to this call number:

TP 155 .N38 2003

A one or two letter code which stands for the broad subject.

TP covers "chemical technology"

A group of numbers which define the subject more specifically.

155 covers "Chemical engineering"

The Cutter Number represents the book's "main entry"-- usually the author or editor's last name, in this case, the "National Research Council"

Other information. This could be the year of the edition, the volume number in a series, and/or a second Cutter number.

In summary, to locate items:

  1. Find the section with the same two letter code. The letters are in alphabetical order, e.g.: A, AA, AB, B, BR, BT, etc.
  2. Look for the number, with arrangement based on smallest to largest, e.g., .D 5, D 10, D123, D123.4, D123.5, D1023, etc.
  3. Look for the Cutter number. The first letter of the Cutter Number often stands for the author or editor's last name. The number that follows is a decimal number, i.e., a number with an imagined decimal point in front of it, e.g., U1, U11, U2, etc.
  4. Look for the year of the edition, the volume number, or if a second Cutter number appears, repeat step 3.