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What's a call number?
A call number tells you the location of the book in the library. It is based on the subject and serves to group together all the books on a particular subject. Call numbers follow a format: one or two letters to identify a broad subject area, a number up to 4 digits to indicate a specific subject, a letter followed by a decimal number for the author’s last name, and the date of publication.
Each call number is unique to the book title.
Where do I begin?
The call number is read from left to right and from top to bottom. Here's an example:
which stands for a book by Meta DuEwa Jones entitled The muse is music : jazz poetry from the Harlem Renaissance to spoken word. PS tells us that the book is classified in American Literature. Since this is a very large field, we must provide more information by adding a number, in this case, 310. The book now has a letter-number combination which stands for Poetry in the subclass, American Literature. On the next line, .J39 indicates a further refinement of the subject, jazz poetry. The next letter and number combination, J66, refers to the first letter of the author’s last name with a decimal representing the placement of “Jones, M” in alphabetical order. The general rule to remember is that all the books are arranged in strictly alphabetical and numerical order so that PA comes before PS. 305 before 310, and .J39J66 after .J39J5 (don’t forget the decimal feature for both these elements) The last line in the call number is the publication date.
In both the reference and circulating collections, you will notice that each range of bookcases is labeled with the call numbers of the first and last books in the row. When you reach the appropriate aisle, scan the call numbers until you reach the bookcase with your book. Then face the bookcase and read it as though it were a book: Each shelf is a sentence and each new bookcase section is the next page.
Options when you don’t see the book you want:
Check the Online Catalog to make sure you have the correct call number. The entry for the book should also indicate that Dana’s copy has the status, In-library. When you look at the brief entry, the call number is in green. If the book you want is in the catalog as in library and not on the shelf, please report it as missing to the staff at the Circulation Desk in the Lobby. They will mark the book missing at Dana so you may request a copy owned by another Rutgers library.
Sometimes you don't need to go far in order to obtain the book you need. Rutgers University Libraries have several reciprocal borrowing agreements with a number of libraries in New Jersey. If you want to borrow a book from the Newark Public Library, or other local libraries, use this link to find out more. Or visit your campus library's Circulation Desk to ask about what services are available and how to sign up for them.
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