Do call numbers, that peculiar combination of letters and numbers found on the spine of just about every book, DVD and video in the Library collection, make about as much sense to you as an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic? If so, you’re not alone! The good news is you don’t need to be a Pharaoh to figure out how to read them! If you know your ABC’s and can count to ten you’re well on your way to unraveling the mystery… really, it’s that easy!
A call number is sort like the book , DVD or video’s address, it tells you where it “lives” on our shelves and like an address, if you’re missing even part of it, you might find yourself a bit lost. To avoid that lost feeling, it’s a good idea to jot down the entire call number including the decimals from the online catalogue record.
Okay, so you’ve written down the call number… now what? Just remember when reading a call number the sequence is always letters before numbers. What? I guess that sounds a bit cryptic too so how about we take this a step at a time, here’s an example of a call number and how you would read it … LB2392.C65 2009
LB – read the letter(s) in the first line in alphabetical order (A-Z) – this tells you the subject area. L means ‘education’ and LB means ‘theory and practice of education’ – just in case you were wondering!
2392 – read the numbers in the second line as a whole number, (two thousand three hundred and ninety-two)
.C65 – read the letters after the decimal (.) in alphabetical order and the numbers as a decimal (.65)
2009 – the last set of numbers are the date of publication and are read chronologically (two thousand and nine)
Always remember if you need help the Library staff are always happy to assist you.