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Find a Book on the Shelf

Note: Check the 'Location' and the 'Status' to double check what library it is in and if it's on the shelf.  If it's located at another school then you can visit that library or request it.

Step 1:  Write down the call number of the item that you want; a call number is like an address for the book or film.  Here is a screenshot from the catalog with the call number highlighted:

Screenshot of the section of the catalog record with the call number

For a video of these next two steps click here.

Step 2: Look at the first two letters of the call number to determine what floor in Gelman to go to.  For this example, our call number is PR6068.O93 Z675 2013 so we use the letters 'PR' to determine what floor this book is on based on the ranges below.  'PR' is alphabetically between 'PN' and 'Z' so this book is on the 6th floor. 

A through HD 999 / 4th Floor
HD 1000 through PM / 5th Floor
PN through Z / 6th Floor

Tip: Books are organized by subject.  Look at the items nearby on the shelf to see if those may be helpful as well.

Step 3: Once you get to the correct floor you will first find the aisle, and then the shelf where your item is located.  

First, materials are shelved alphabetically by the first letter or letters (In the example above, the first letters are 'PR').

Next, they are arranged numerically by the number following the letter(s), and before the decimal point.  (In this example that is the number 6068). Keep breaking down the call number -  









- one segment at a time to find the aisle, the shelf and the position on the shelf.


Questions? Don't hesitate stop by the Ask Us desk or call 202-994-6048

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