Research Help

Research Help Tutorial:
Understanding Call Numbers

How to Read LC Call Numbers

The call number's appearance differs depending where it is found. On a book's label, the parts of the call number are stacked vertically, and are read from top to bottom. In the online catalog, the call number is written horizontally in a single line, and is read from left to right.


Book Call Number Computer Call Number

Most call numbers have four parts:

Call Number Examples





Title: Price control under fair trade legislation
Author: Ewald T. Grether

HF Commerce
5415 Business → Marketing → General works
.G67 Cutter number for Grether
1939 Year of publication














Title: Louisbourg portraits : life in an eighteenth-century garrison town
Author: Christopher Moore

F History : America (numbers 1001-1145.2) - British America (including Canada)
1039 Nova Scotia. Acadia
.5 Cities, towns, etc., A-Z
.L8 Louisbourg
M66 Cutter number for Moore
1982 Year of publication











Title: Almanac of the 50 states

REF Library collections → Reference
HA Statistics
203 Statistical data → By region or country → America → United States → Serials
.A5 Title
1996 Year of publication