Understanding Call Numbers



How to Read the Call Numbers

Once you have a call number, and you know which kind of call number you are dealing with, what do you do with it?

You use that call number to figure out where the item is and to actually find it on the shelf. To do that, it is necessary to read those call numbers in correct order.

Let's put the following Dewey Decimal call numbers in order:

823
D653e
798.24
M1265a
823
B189e
821
L196
798.2
H985t
823
D553d
824
G987

Begin by comparing the entire number on the first line and put them in order from smallest to largest. So...

The "700" call numbers come before the "800" call numbers.

Then 798.2 is before 798.24, 821 is before the 823s and 824 is last.

798.2
H985t
798.24
M1265a
821
L196
823
D653e
823
B189e
823
D553d
824
G987

The second line of the call number is considered a decimal so is compared letter by letter, digit by digit. So...

Of those 823 call numbers, the B comes before the Ds.

798.2
H985t
798.24
M1265a
821
L196
823
B189e
823
D653e
823
D553d
824
G987

Of the remaining two call numbers, first line 823, second line beginning with D, compare the next digit. 5 comes before 6.

798.2
H985t
798.24
M1265a
821
L196
823
B189e
823
D553d
823
D653e
824
G987




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