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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Using the Library Catalog

This guide explains how to create an account, search the catalog,and how to renew and request items.

Finding Items on the Shelf

Once you've found an item in the catalog, you need to know which library it is in.

  • Location: Indicates what library an item is located in. 
    For example, there are copies of the book above at both the Main Stacks and the Undergraduate Library.
  • Call Number: Where on the shelf an item can be found.
    Libraries on our campus use Library of Congress (LC) Classification and the Dewey Decimal system to organize materials. For more information see the infographics below. 
  • Copy: In the example above, the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign owns two copies. Copy 1 is at the Main Stacks. Copy 2 is at the Undergraduate Library. 
  • Status: Shows whether a book is available to check out or not.
    • Available - The item is on the shelf.
    • Most other statuses (e.g. damaged, in process, overdue) mean that the item is not available. If there is not a copy available on campus, try searching for the item in I-Share.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian!

Library of Congress

Infographic Text

Finding a Book on the Shelf with Library of Congress

Example Call Number: HA 155.A5 1944

  • The first section: HA
    • The first section is always in alphabetical order. H is before HA. And HA is before HB.
  • The second section: 155
    • This number is always in numerical order. 15 is before 155. And 155 is before 158.
  • The letter after the decimal: A5
    • This section is alphabetical by the letter and then numerical by the number. A is before A5. And A5  is before A7.
  • Extra parts at the end
    • This section is alphabetical by letter and numerical by number.

Dewey Decimal

Infographic Text

Finding a Book on the Shelf with Dewey

Example Call Number: 813.13G32

  • The first number: 812
    • The first number is always in numerical order. 812 is before 813, and 813 is before 814.
  • The numbers after the decimal: .13
    • This number is also always in numerical order. Treat it like a decimal number. .12 is before .13. and .13 is before .136.
  • The letter after the decimal: G32
    • This section is alphabetical by the letter and then numerical by the decimal number. F97 is before G32. G3 is before G32. And G32 is before G33.
  • Extra parts at the end
    • This section is alphabetical by letter and numerical by number.