Call Numbers in the Biomedical Libraries

Once you've determined the general library location, the call number will lead you to the specific shelf location.

  • Almost all books in the Biomedical Libraries are shelved according to the Library of Congress classification system.
  • The call numbers result in books being shelved together in groups by subject, allowing for easy browsing.
  • Each book has a unique call number composed of letters, numbers, and dates.
  • In the catalog, the call number is displayed horizontally:
    R118.6 .R54 2005
  • On the book, usually on the spine, the call number is printed vertically:
  • When looking for a book, start with the top line or first element, and match to books on the shelf with the same letter or letters, searching in alphabetical order. Once you've found the right letter(s), match the second line, searching in numerical order, and so on, line by line.

For an explanation of how to read call numbers in an academic library see

An outline of the Library of Congress classification system may be found at

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