How Items are Organized @Mason

Last Updated: 10 May, 2021 | Provide Feedback


A call number, like an address, tells where the item is located in the library. The Mason Libraries uses the Library of Congress (LC) Call Number system to organize materials on the same topic together. Each item begins with capital letter(s) followed by numbers. Use the item’s location and call number to find the title on the shelf.

Consider a source with the title The West: Encounters & transformations located in the Johnson Center Stacks at Call Number CB245 .W455 2011. To read this call number from a  book on the shelf, you will look at the call number top to bottom, line by line. To read it from the record, you will read it from left to right. First, read the first letters in alphabetical order (ex. CB before CC). Second, read the next number as a whole number (ex. 245 before 246). Finally, read the letters after this alphabetically and read numbers after this as a decimal (ex. .W455 before .W555)

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For assistance with finding books in the Fenwick Library visit the information desk on the first floor, call 703-993-2240, or email fencirc@gmu.eduFor other questions or if you need more help try Ask a Librarian or explore the subject guide for your discipline. Use the button below to download a printable version of this tutorial.


Creative Commons License How Items are Organized @Mason by The Teaching & Learning Team is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.