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Nursing: Understanding Call Numbers

Resources for students and faculty

The Call Number

What's the purpose of a call number?   
Each book in the library is assigned a unique call number which acts as an address telling you where a book is located. The call number is attached to the spine of the book. Each call number represents one item in the library.

How do you read a call number?
The Library of Congress Classification System, which is used by most academic libraries, arranges materials (books, dvds, etc.) by subject. The first section of the call number represents the subject of the book; the letter and decimal represents the author's last name. The last section of the call number is often the date of publication.


Why is this important to know?   Knowing how to locate books using call numbers will save you time. As well, because books are classified by subject, you'll be able to find other helpful books by browsing the area.  Each shelving unit in the Cape Breton University Library has a sign detailing the range of call numbers you can expect to see in a row.

Library of Congress (Subject Categories)

Academic libraries organize print books and other resources by using the Library of Congress Classification System.