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Call numbers and classification

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Orientation to the UF Libraries

Libraries assign a unique number to each book that distinguishes it from all other books in the library and indicates where it will be shelved. Call numbers in the UF Libraries are based on the Library of Congress (LC) classification system and the Dewey Decimal system. A call number label appears on the spine of the book (or sometimes on the front if the book is very small).

Library of Congress (LC) call numbers begin with letters:

PE 1421 .L297

Dewey Decimal call numbers begin with numbers:

976.306 W727h

In general, only older works (acquired before 1975) will be classified in the Dewey system. However, the Libraries have subscribed to some periodicals for many decades, so you will often find that common titles (Time, Newsweek, Atlantic, The Nation) will have Dewey Decimal call numbers. Some older agricultural materials are classed in the National Agriculture Library (NAL) decimal system and are grouped with the Dewey Decimal books. The Libraries maintain separate shelving areas for LC classified materials and Dewey classified materials.

As you search for books or other materials (journals, microfilm, etc.) in the UF Libraries' Catalog, be sure that you write down both the LOCATION and the CALL NUMBER. The LOCATION tells you what library building or department holds the item. The CALL NUMBER gives you the shelf location. Check location charts in the different Libraries for guides to finding books on the shelves.

Why call numbers and classification?

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