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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Bibliography and Historical Research

A guide to finding and using bibliographies for historical research, with an emphasis on using bibliographies to find primary sources.

Browsing the Catalog for Bibliographies

Most bibliographies have a call number that begins with 016, followed by the number that is normally used for books on the subject you are researching. Therefore, if you have the call number for a book on your topic, then you can use that call number to predict the call number range for bibliographies on that topic. For example, if you are researching the history of Chicago, and you find this book:


You would then write down the classification number for that book (the number portion of the call number):



So the classification number for Chicago history 977.311. You take that number (without the decimal point), and append it to the number 016.: 016.977311 . That is where you would expect to find bibliographies of sources for the study of Chicago history.

Because so many of the Library's books are now held in a remote storage facility that cannot be shelf browsed, you must use the "Classic" Library Catalog to perform a virtual shelf browse:

Another example: I know that the classification number for books on the Holocaust is 940.5318. I can predict the call number range for bibliographies on the Holocaust by adding 016 to that number: 016.9405318:


Virtual Shelf Browsing for Bibliographies


Some bibliographies, especially national bibliographies and catalogs (which can also be used as bibliographies) have a call number that begins with 015 instead of 016, but for the most part you will find bibliographies shelved under 016.