This is the "Finding books" page of the "English" guide.
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General guide to English-related Library resources.
Last Updated: Nov 17, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Finding books Print Page

How do call numbers work?

Call numbers are unique identifiers for each book. They start with three main digits, like the ones you see in the box to the right. Our shelves have signs that tell you what three-digit numbers these shelves hold, such as "185-199." Sometimes they include an extra decimal point if the three-digit number has a lot of books on it, like "813.52-813.54."

Call numbers are always in order! You start with the first three digits, then each number to the right of the decimal point counts up, like an odometer.

You will also see a part of the number that begins and ends with a letter, like: S228k. They are also in order, from A-Z for the first letter, then from 0-9 for each number, then again for the final letter.

After that, you will see a year. Those are also in order.

Happy hunting!


Library Map

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How to find books

When looking for books, a lot depends on how much you know about what you're looking for. Knowing the call numbers will help you a lot regardless of how you choose to search for the resources you need -- you can always, always just go to the shelves themselves and look around. These numbers will help prevent you from getting completely lost in the stacks.

If, however, you prefer a less old-fashioned approach, here are two ways you can use our Classic catalog. We'll be using a book about English and French etymology as an example.

If you're not too sure exactly what topic you're looking for:

  1. When you're in the Library's Classic Catalog, follow this procedure:
    • In the search box, type "423", as an example.
    • Below, on the left, there is a drop-down menu. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of that field until you see the last item, "Call Number." Select that.
    • Click "Search."
  2. Wait. Call-number searches always take a while.
  3. Read the very long list that pops up and look for something that might be what you need.

If you know what topic you'd like to research:

  1. You can use the matching call number, as listed below, using the procedure outlined above.
  2. You can also use the descriptions next to the call numbers in the listing below. Here's how to go about that.
    • Say you want to find something about French etymological influences on English. English etymology is call number 422.
    • Determine the important keywords in your search:
      • English
      • etymology
      • French
      • language
    • Enter the following into the Classic Catalog search box: english AND etymology AND french AND language
    • Below, on the left, there is a drop-down menu. Select Keyword (AND, OR, NOT)
    • From the drop-down menu on the right, selectt Gallaudet.
    • Click "Search."


Remember: ALL non-Deaf-related items are downstairs in the General Stacks!

070 News media, journalism & publishing
071 Newspapers in North America
072 Newspapers in British Isles; in England
073 Newspapers in central Europe; in Germany
074 Newspapers in France & Monaco
075 Newspapers in Italy & adjacent islands
076 In Iberian Peninsula & adjacent islands
077 Newspapers in eastern Europe; in Russia
078 Newspapers in Scandinavia
079 Newspapers in other geographic areas

420 English & Old English
421 English writing system & phonology
422 English etymology
423 English dictionaries
424 [Unassigned]
425 English grammar
426 [Unassigned]
427 English language variations
428 Standard English usage
429 Old English (Anglo-Saxon)

800 Literature & rhetoric
801 Philosophy & theory
802 Miscellany
803 Dictionaries & encyclopedias
804 [Unassigned]
805 Serial publications
806 Organizations & management
807 Education, research & related topics
808 Rhetoric & collections of literature
809 History, description & criticism
810 American literature in English
811 American poetry in English
812 American drama in English
813 American fiction in English
814 American essays in English
815 American speeches in English
816 American letters in English
817 American humor & satire in English
818 American miscellaneous writings
819 (Optional number)
820 English & Old English literatures
821 English poetry
822 English drama
823 English fiction
824 English essays
825 English speeches
826 English letters
827 English humor & satire
828 English miscellaneous writings
829 Old English (Anglo-Saxon)


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