Call Numbers are the letters and numbers assigned to a book to give it a unique location in the library.
This guide is based on the Information Literacy Tutorial from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Information Literacy Tutorial by Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at guides.library.uwm.edu
The Dewey Decimal System
The Dewey Decimal is divided into ten subjects which are numbered between 000 and 999. Each number focuses on a specific subject. For example, the number 500 takes you to books on the natural sciences and mathematics. The more decimal places a call number has, the more specific the subject is. The Dewey Decimal system is used by the Main Library and several subject libraries.
Least Specific Most Specific
Finding Books on the Shelf
1. Search numerically for the first number. (Ex: 973 comes before 974)
2. Search numerically for the first number after the decimal point, and so on.
3. Sometimes Dewey Decimal includes letters in the call number (Ex: 973 C375). For these search alphabetically.
4. Remeber that "nothing" comes before "something." (Ex: 973 C375 comes before 973 C375a)
To see the subjects each Dewey Decimal number represents, see our guide to call numbers.
Photos courtesy of Reference, Research, and Scholarly Services at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 4 Dec. 2014. Based on examples of call numbers from the "Dewey Decimal in the UIUC Bookstacks" website, www.library.illinois.edu/circ/tutorial/shelving.html.