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COMM 2400 -- Gilbert

Resources to help with your class assignments

Chemistry/ Chemical Engineering/Communications & JournalismLibrarian

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Isabel Altamirano
231 Mell St.
Auburn, AL 36849
Student Question Hour - no appointment needed - Thursdays , 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Ask Help Desk personnel to contact me

How to Read the Call Numbers on a Shelf

Read call numbers by letter(s), numbers, then letter/number combinations -- all the P's are together followed by PA's. The first number is always a whole number and the first period turns any following numbers into decimal numbers -- 1993.49 comes before 1993.5. The following letter/number combinations are read as letters and decimals, with the exception of the date at the end and any following information (like volume numbers).

book spine with call number label highlighted

The Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema’s call number, PN 1993.5 .I8 R77 1999, shown on the shelf, has an additional line – I8 that identifies the country (India) – between the broad subject area of PN 1993.5 and the author (R77).


PN      = "Literature (General)"

1993.5 =" Motion Pictures--History"

.I8       = "India"

R77     = "Rajadhyaksha”

1999   = “1999” (date published)


By the way, this book would be found on third floor of RBD in an area before Coopman and Lull's Public Speaking – PN 1993 comes before PN 4129.

Here is an example where the decimal point comes into play.



Remember the first period always turns the following numbers into decimals with the exception of the dates.




.C53 does not come before the other two books because they are decimal numbers: .513 and .515 are smaller than .53

3 book spines with call numbers highlighted 


How to Navigate the Shelves

When facing a bookshelf or range, start in the upper left hand corner of the bookcase.

Think of a backwards letter "S" 

backwards "S" illustrating eye movement in reading library shelves

and read left to right, row by row, within a section.



2 sections of book case showing top to bottom, left to right per section

Move to the top of the next section of the shelves

Once you finish all the sections on a side; move to the other side of bookcase or range.

illustration showing where to go at bottom/end of book case

Start in the upper left hand corner then read left to right, row by row, within a section.