Find books in Library using our online library catalog. Books in our library are arranged using Library of Congress Classification. Most books available for checkout are located in the stacks on the second floor of the library.
Books from other University System of Maryland Libraries
You can also borrow books from libraries at other schools in the University System of Maryland. This includes the University of Maryland College Park, Towson University, Frostburg State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and others. When you're in the library catalog, select the "choose campus" link at the top of the page and then click on "USMAI All Campuses." Click on the "request" button and use your 14digit barcode number to log in. You can have the book delivered to Library within 3 or 4 business days. Watch this tutorial to see the process!
A Library of Congress tutorial from Wilmington University
How to Read a Call Number
○ Introduction
A call number is like an address for a book. It tells you exactly where to go to find the book, or where the book should be returned. The call number is made up of letters, whole numbers, decimals, a publication date, and occassionally a volume and/or copy number. This allows for each book to have a specific location. One book’s location cannot be confused with another book's location.
For example, a library patron may wish to find William J. Reese’s book, America’s Public Schools. To find this book the patron must go to the library website and search for the book using the SOUTHcat library catalog. After the patron conducts the search they will find this call number in the SOUTHcat display record:
LA 212 .R423 2005
The call number looks like this on the spine of the book:
LA
212
.R423
2005
○ Alphanumeric Subject
The LCC system uses the beginning letters and first line of numbers to indicate the subject of the book. In this example, "L" signifies Education, "A" signifies the subject subdivision History of Education, and the "212" species the United States.
As you might expect, the letters are ordered alphabetically. For example, the letter D comes before K, and so forth. Similarly, the letter L comes before LA, which comes before LB.
The numbers immediately following the first letter(s) are read as whole numbers. For example, 212 comes before 761 but after 115. Sometimes there are decimals in the first number. In these cases, the whole numbers are read as before, but the numbers following the decimal are read as decimals. For example, LA 212.63 comes before LA 212.7
• How do we read decimals? How are they different from whole numbers?
For example, 212.16 comes before 212.5 because .16 is a smaller decimal number than .50. Similarly, 212.257836 comes before 212.3 because .257836 is a smaller decimal number than .300000.
○ Cutter Numbers
The next part of the call number (.R423 in our example) is referred to as the Cutter number. It is called a Cutter number after Charles Ammi Cutter, who developed the Cutter Expansive Classification scheme in the late 19th century. This original system was later adapted by the Library of Congress. For more information about Cutter, follow this link:http://www.forbeslibrary.org/about/cacutter.shtml.
Cutter numbers contain letters, which are ordered alphabetically and decimal numbers. So, for example, .R423 comes after .B76 and .R227, but before .R966 and .T381.
Some books have two Cutter numbers. They are both read as decimals even though the second Cutter number does not contain a decimal (in order to distinguish the two numbers). An example of such a call number is below, with the Cutter numbers in bold:
ML
420
.S77
R33
2004
○ Date of Publication
The last number in the above example, 2004, is the date of publication. This is to be shelved in chronological order for the same book. For example, a 2004 second edition comes after the original 1978 publication but before the 2006 third edition and so forth.
○ Volume Numbers
Sometimes a call number will contain a volume number, labeled v.1, v.2, etc. These are shelved in whole number numerical order within the set of books.
○ Copy Numbers
A call number will contain a copy number if there are multiple copies of the same book on the shelf, labeled c.1, c.2, etc. These are shelved in whole number order.
→ One thing to always keep in mind when shelving books and shelfreading is that nothing comes before something.
If a book contains no volume number, that book comes before a book within a set that does contain a volume number. If a book contains no date in the call number, that book comes before the same book that does have a date in the call number.
Library of Congress Call Number Practice
This section contains examples of call numbers. Please look carefully at these examples; some of them may require closer inspection than others.
The following example contains three call numbers that are are very similar except for one difference.
QC 981.8 G578

QC 981.8 G578 
QC 981.8 .G56 2006 
You’ll notice that the only difference in these call numbers is the date. Remember that “nothing comes before something.” That is why QC 981.8 .G56 G578 comes before QC 981.8 .G56 G578 2002, etc.
Is the next example in the correct order?
N 6537 
N 6537 
N 6537 
N 6537 
The example is in the correct order. If you thought that it might not be, chances are that is because of the Cutter numbers. The Cutter numbers are easy to confuse as being whole numbers. It is also easy to get "tunnel vision" when reading call numbers and neglect the alpha portion of the Cutter numbers. Here is the example again with the potentially confusing Cutter numbers in bold.
N 6537 
N 6537 
N 6537 
N 6537 
Remember that Cutter numbers are always read as decimals. Which call number below is out of place?
M 1010 .M95 B6 1987 
M 1010 .M95 B59 1987

M 1010 .M952 B595 1987 
M 1010 .M98 B65

Did you find the book that is out of place? Look carefully at the bold Cutter numbers below.
M 1010 .M95 B6 1987 
M 1010 .M95 B59 1987 
M 1010 .M952 B595 1987 
M 1010 .M98 B65

Because we read Cutter numbers as decimals, these two books need to be switched to look like the following:
M 1010 .M95 B59 1987 
M 1010 .M95 B6 1987 
M 1010 .M952 B595 1987 
M 1010 .M98 B65

Cutter numbers can be very tricky....
It is very important to take your time when shelving and to look carefully at every aspect of a call number.