What is a call number?
Call numbers in the Library are based on the Dewey Decimal system, developed by American librarian Melvil Dewey in 1876. The system assigns a number code for each item in the Library according to its subject area. This is why the materials that you need for your assignments are shelved together in the same area (or areas) of the Library.
The Dewey system has ten main classifications:
100 Philosophy and Psychology
300 Social Science
500 Natural Science and Mathematics
700 Fine and Decorative Arts
Each of these broad divisions is subdivided to more clearly define materials. For example, books on job interview techniques are located in the 650s, the subdivision used for business titles. The actual call number is displayed below, with the extension of .14 added to specify materials relating to obtaining jobs and promotions:
The last part of a call number is a letter code, or cutter found at the end of the Dewey Decimal number. It usually consists of an abbreviation of an author's last name or the title in a series. An example is 650.14 BOL for What Color is Your Paracute by Richard Nelson Bolles.
The cutter allows materials to be arranged within a call number classification so that they are more easily found on the shelves. Imagine how hard it would be to look for a title if you knew only that it was somewhere among the over two hundred items given the number 650.14.
Some libraries don't use the Dewey Decimal system of classification exclusively. For example, the Richmond Hill Public Library has separate sections for fiction that are arranged by the author's last name (or series title) rather than being assigned a number code. This makes it easier for readers to find popular titles. For example, The Last Juror by John Grisham is found under FIC GRISH instead of 813.5422 GRI.
Be careful to look in the correct area for your call number. The Central Library has a number different collections that use the Dewey Decimal classification system. Items within a collection are usually identified by a letter code preceding the call number, such as CR 929.409713 KUT.