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Bio 1B Library Guide: Getting Articles and Books: Locating call numbers

Call numbers

Call Numbers

Library of Congress call numbers organize the books in the Bioscience Library (and most other UC Berkeley libraries). Call numbers designate the major subject of a book and also serve as its "address" on the shelves. The call number system is designed so that books on similar subjects will generally be shelved close to one another.

Many books and journals relating to biology have call numbers beginning with one of the following:

  • Q (General Science)
  • QH (Natural History)
  • QK (Botany)
  • QL (Zoology)
  • QM (Human anatomy)
  • QP (Physiology)
  • QR (Microbiology)
  • R (Medicine)
  • S (Agriculture)
  • TX (Food, cooking and nutrition)

Reading call numbers: These six call number examples should be read vertically; call numbers are usually written vertically on book spines, and horizontally in library catalogs. They appear in the order they would be placed on the shelf.

Q QH QH QH QH QH QH Read this part alphabetically (Q, QA, QH, QL, etc...); it indicates the topic (QH = Natural History)
1 541 541 541 542 542 542 Read this part as a whole number; it indicates the subtopic (QH540 - QH549 = Ecology)
  .28 .5 .5       Read this part (if present) as a decimal number; it is a further refinement of the subtopic
.B6 .H46 .C6 .C6 .A12 .I3 .I3 Read the letters alphabetically and the numerical part as a decimal number; it's often based on the subject, the author's name or the title (QH541.5.C6 = Urban ecology)
    W465 W55 M3     Read the letters alphabetically and the numerical part as a decimal number; if present, it is often based on the author's name or the title
  2003 1999 2011 1993 1956 1964 This part (if present) is the year of publication. If all other parts of two call numbers are identical, they should be placed in chronological order.

 

Call number order: To understand the order of each successive call number pair, look at the first place that they differ (highlighted in blue).

Q QH QH QH QH QH QH Q comes before QH
1 541 541 541 542 542 542
  .28 .5 .5      
.B6 .H46 .C6 .C6 .A12 .I3 .I3  
    W465 W55 M3    
  2003 1999 2011 1993 1956 1964 1956 comes before 1964 (but note that chronological order only applies if all other parts of the call numbers are identical)

 

Q QH QH QH QH QH QH
1 541 541 541 >542 542 542 541 comes before 542
  .28 .5 .5       .28 comes before .5
.B6 .H46 .C6 .C6 .A12 .I3 .I3 .A12 comes before .I3
    W465 W55 M3     .W465 comes before .W55
  2003 1999 2011 1993 1956 1964 1956 comes before 1964 (but note that chronological order only applies if all other parts of the call numbers are identical)

 

Q QH QH QH QH QH QH Q comes before QH
1 541 541 541 542 542 542 541 comes before 542
  .28 .5 .5       .28 comes before .5
.B6 .H46 .C6 .C6 .A12 .I3 .I3 .A12 comes before .I3
    W465 W55 M3     .W465 comes before .W55
  2003 1999 2011 1993 1956 1964 1956 comes before 1964 (but note that chronological order only applies if all other parts of the call numbers are identical)

 

Q QH QH QH QH QH QH Q comes before QH
1 541 541 541 542 542 542 541 comes before 542
  .28 .5 .5       .28 comes before .5
.B6 .H46 .C6 .C6 .A12 .I3 .I3 .A12 comes before .I3
    W465 W55 M3     .W465 comes before .W55
  2003 1999 2011 1993 1956 1964 1956 comes before 1964 (but note that chronological order only applies if all other parts of the call numbers are identical)

 

Q QH QH QH QH QH QH Q comes before QH
1 541 541 541 542 542 542 541 comes before 542
  .28 .5 .5       .28 comes before .5
.B6 .H46 .C6 .C6 .A12 .I3 .I3 .A12 comes before .I3 (that's a capital letter i, not the numeral 1)
    W465 W55 M3     .W465 comes before .W55
  2003 1999 2011 1993 1956 1964 1956 comes before 1964 (but note that chronological order only applies if all other parts of the call numbers are identical)

 

Q QH QH QH QH QH QH Q comes before QH
1 541 541 541 542 542 542 541 comes before 542
  .28 .5 .5       .28 comes before .5
.B6 .H46 .C6 .C6 .A12 .I3 .I3 .A12 comes before .I3 (that's a capital letter i, not the numeral 1)
    W465 W55 M3     .W465 comes before .W55
  2003 1999 2011 1993 1956 1964 1956 comes before 1964 (but note that chronological order only applies if all other parts of the call numbers are identical)

Putting them all together,

Q QH QH QH QH QH QH Q comes before QH
1 541 541 541 542 542 542 541 comes before 542
  .28 .5 .5       .28 comes before .5
.B6 .H46 .C6 .C6 .A12 .I3 .I3 .A12 comes before .I3 (that's a capital letter i, not the numeral 1)
    W465 W55 M3     .W465 comes before .W55
  2003 1999 2011 1993 1956 1964 1956 comes before 1964 (but note that chronological order only applies if all other parts of the call numbers are identical)

 

To check out materials: take them to the Circulation Desk. Your UC Berkeley photo ID card is your library card. 

Learn more about borrowing library materials

Your Librarian

Elliott Smith's picture
Elliott Smith
Contact:
Bioscience & Natural Resources Library
esmith@library.berkeley.edu
643-6482
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