Q. What is a call number? How do I find a book by its call number in the Law Library?


A call number is a unique code that identifies and indicates the address of a physical material in a library's collection. There is a science in assigning a call number to an item, but in general, it is based on the publication's metadata and content. For our items, we use the Library of Congress classification, consisting of alphanumeric codes. For example, KF3375 .K83 2005 is our library call number that is unique to Nancy K. Kubasek's Environmental Law book published in 2005.

When interpreting a call number, read the first letters in alphabetical order (e.g. K would precede KA), then read the first set of numbers as a whole number. The letter in the second alphanumeric set will be read alphabetically but the following numbers this time will be read as a decimal (e.g. .K9 would precede .K83).

Other books shelved adjacent to a particular call number may cover similar subject matters so it's worth  browsing the shelves where you find the book you originally wanted. Our catalog system affords this kind of shelf browsing virtually. Scroll down a catalog record to discover Virtual Browse.

We house some of our collections in special locations, such as Reference, Casebook Reserves, Study Aids, etc. The books housed separately from our circulating 3rd, 4th and 5th floor books have the names of their special locations preceding their call numbers, e.g. Study Aids KF3812 .R63 1994.

In our catalog record for a print material, you will see a "Locate" map pin that is hyperlinked to our floor maps. Locate Map Pin

By clicking on the link, a map will show you the stack range where the book may be found.

We also have a quick call number guide that lists which the floor where a call number will reside. Always, feel free to contact the Reference or Circulation Desk if you need help locating or interpreting a call number.

  • Last Updated May 31, 2019
  • Views 1
  • Answered By Erie Taniuchi

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