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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

A Shelf Browsing Guide to the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library

A guide to the printed books collection in the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library, as arranged by Library of Congress Classification System, and a guide to the Library of Congress Call Numbers

Shifting from Dewey to LCC at the HPNL

The printed book collection in the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library (HPNL) was formerly arranged by Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), but we are now in the process of reclassifying it according to Library of Congress Classification (LCC). This guide is meant to help patrons browse our printed books collection by providing an overview of the collection's arrangement. 

The HPNL's reference collection and microform collection are still arranged by Dewey Decimal Classification.

Because the reclassification is still in progress, the guide only shows those classification ranges that we have finished reclassifying.

N.B.: This guide is not a guide to LCC in general, but a browser's guide to the HPNL printed book collection, as now arranged by LCC. The guide reveals strengths and weaknesses in the collection.

Reading an LC Call Number

Library of Congress call numbers are arranged alphabetically and numerically. Call numbers are read from left to right and from top to bottom. Sometimes call numbers are written out all on one line as you see above, and sometimes they are displayed in a column as below. An LC call number is interpreted the same way no matter how it is formatted, whether it is all on one line or in a column. Additionally, there can also be a line break after the initial letter or letters, as shown in the first table below. The following tables elaborate upon how to file material using the LC system.

Letters in the first part of the call number are in standard alphabetic order from A to Z:

LC Example Top Row

Numbers in the second part of the call number are in regular numerical order (as whole numbers):

LC Call Number Second Row

However, note that there may be a decimal place within this number:

LC Call Number Second Row with Decimal Point

Letters in the third part are again A to Z:

LC Call Number Third Row

Numbers in the third part of the call number are in decimal order. It is important to remember that there is a decimal point before this number:

LC Call Number Third Row Numbers

Call numbers that are otherwise identical are shelved in chronological order (oldest to newest year).


Connor Monson, Geoffrey Ross, Sarah Bial, Kimberly Lerch