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Call numbers and classification

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LC Classification

Call numbers may appear in two ways on the spine of a book or journal:

    or    QA76 .55 .G63

The following rules apply:

Single letters are filed before double letters in alphabetical order. Call numbers beginning with just Q come before those beginning with QA.QA comes before QB, QC, QD, etc.

The first numerical part may be a whole number or a decimal. QA 267 comes before QA268, followed by QA269, etc.

The number may be followed by a decimal. QA267.55 comes before QA267.6, followed by QA267.65, followed by QA267.7, etc.

After the number, comes another letter. QA267.55 .G comes before QA267.55 H, followed by QA267.55 I, J, K, etc.

The number following the second letter is a decimal number, not a whole number. Thus, QA267.55 .G63 comes before QA267.55 .G65, which comes before QA267.55 .G7, etc.

The final part of a call number may indicate the publication date of the book, ie, 1992. On the shelf, these are filed in numerical order. For example: QA267.55 .G63 1985 comes before QA267.55 .G63 1992, etc. Call numbers without a date come before those with dates on the shelf. When different publication dates follow otherwise identical call numbers, this usually indicates different editions of the same book.

Dewey Decimal classification

Follow the same basic principles as you read Dewey Decimal call numbers. Any numerals that appear behind the decimal are read as decimal numbers, for example, 976.306 comes after 976.3, and before 976.35, followed by 976.4, etc.

The letters following the decimal are filed in alphabetical order.

Numbers following the letter read as a decimal. For example 976.306 W72 comes before 976.306 W747, which would come before 976.306W75.

A lower case letter may follow, adding another layer of alphabetical order.

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