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3) Find Books & E-Books: Call Numbers

A University of Lethbridge Library guide to finding books and e-books.

Main Collection – Library of Congress Classification (LCC)

Most items in the library have been assigned Library of Congress Classification (LCC) call numbers. Collections organized by LCC include the main collection, the reference collection, and the media collections. LCC organizes items according to subject so items on similar subjects and topics are grouped together. Consequently, when you have found a book that interests you, it may be helpful to browse the books nearby, as they will likely be written on a very similar topic.

Items organized according to LCC are arranged alphanumerically by their call numbers. Each call number is comprised of a few parts. The call number for Ian Dennis's The Nature of Accounting Regulation, for example, is shown below:

HF 5636 D46 2014

  • HF: This indicates the general subject area of the book (commerce). It should be read alphabetically (e.g. A, AH, BC, BT).
  • 5636: This indicates the specific topic within the general subject area (general English and American works on accounting and bookkeeping published since 2006). It should be read numerically as a whole number (e.g. 4, 24, 57, 295, 9356).
  • D46: This combination of letters and numbers often represents the author's last name (Dennis). It should be read alphabetically, then numerically as a decimal (e.g. A12, A145, A2, A2587, A36, B576, B81).
  • 2014: This is the year in which the book was published. It should be read chronologically.

To find an item on the shelf, begin with the left-most part of the call number and work your way right. In the above example, you would first find the items with call numbers beginning with HF. Then, you would search within those items to find those with call numbers beginning with HF 5636. Once you have located these, you would go on to find all items under HF 5636 D46, then look for the specific book.

For a detailed Library of Congress Classification outline, follow this link.

NOTE: The University of Lethbridge Library's main collection is located on Level 9.


Curriculum Laboratory – Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)

Records for items housed in the Faculty of Education's Curriculum Lab, located on Level 11 of the library, are included in the library catalogue.  Unlike all other items, however, these are assigned Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) call numbers.  DDC is the classification system used by most public and school libraries.

For non-fiction works, DDC organizes items based on subject.  DDC non-fiction call numbers are comprised of two parts. The first, which is numeric, identifies the subject of the item.  The second identifies the author, providing the first three letters of the author's last name.  Items are ordered numerically from 000 to 999.  Items with the same number (and thus the same topic) are then ordered alphabetically by the author's last name.

For works of fiction, DDC organizes items by authors' last names only.  The call number begins with the letter 'F' (standing for fiction), followed by the first three letters of the author's last name.  Items in the fiction section are arranged alphabetically by the author's last name.

For further information on Dewey Decimal Classification, see the Online Computer Library Center's Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

Government Documents – CODOC

Government documents are organized according to CODOC, a classification system developed specifically for government documents that allows them to be shelved alphabetically by country or organization, then by level of government, and then by department, division and branch. At the University of Lethbridge Library, the CODOC Classification System has been modified to fit the particular needs of the library. To learn how to read CODOC classification numbers, see our CODOC Classification System page.

The government documents collection is located on the north side of Level 9. Materials in the government documents collection must remain in the library; they may not be checked out. For more information on accessing government information through the library, visit our Government Information guide.

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