Reading Call Numbers
 

1.  The first line of a call number may begin with one, two, or three letters. These letters should be read alphabetically. A call number that begins with A is shelved before one that begins with B, C, etc.; and a call number that begins with QE is located somewhere before the one that starts with QL.
 

QE  
    

 

before

QL  
    

 

 

 2.  The second line of a call number is made of a number that may have one or more digits.
This line is read numerically. A call number with a smaller number in its second line is
placed before one that has a larger number for its second line:

HD
987  

 

before

HD
1001

 

3.  The third line is the trickiest part of the call number: The letter is shelved alphabetically, and the number following the letter is treated as if it were preceded by a decimal. Thus:

QE
352
B64
1999

before

QE
352
C85
1999

But, the tricky part of the 3rd line of the call number is that its numerical component is
read as a decimal number
. Thus, these examples are in correct call number order:
 

QE
352
C444
1999

before

QE
352
C64
1999

before

QE
352
C7
1999

before

QE
352
C754
1999


This makes sense if you read the numbers as decimals!
 

0.444 

before

0.64  

before

0.7   

before

0.754  


4.  The final lines
of the call numbers may include dates, volume indicators, issue numbers,
copy numbers, and other annotations such as supplement or index specifiers. These
annotations are read after the call number.


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