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LC Call Number Tutorial

The Library of Congress (LC) Classification System is subject-based, classifying and arranging items by the subject matter involved. The Hampshire College library uses LC call numbers for most of its collection.

  • The LC system is broken into 21 primary classes, or general subject areas, represented by letters.
  • By breaking items into 21 subject areas the LC System allows libraries to classify and arrange larger collections by the main subject matter of the text.

    • A - General Works
    • B - Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
    • C - Auxiliary sciences of history
    • D - World History
    • E-F - History of the Americas
    • G - Geography, Anthropology, Recreation
    • H - Social Sciences
    • J - Political Science
    • K - Law
    • L - Education
    • M - Music and Books on Music
    • N - Fine Arts
    • P - Language and Literature
    • Q - Science
    • R - Medicine
    • S - Agriculture
    • T - Technology
    • U - Military Science
    • V - Naval Science
    • Z - Bibliography. Library Science
  • The LC system further breaks these subjects into subclasses by the addition of one or two letters followed by numbers up to four digits plus several decimal places in length. For example:

    • LC call numbers beginning with Q deal with Science
    • LC call numbers beginning with QL deal with Zoology
    • LC call numbers beginning with QL 700 deal with Mammals
    • LC call numbers beginning with QL737 deal with Gorilla Behavior
      The LC call number for Gorillas in the mist, by Dian Fossey is:
      QL737 .P96 F67 1983
  • For a list of the major classes and subclasses of the LC classification system, click here.
  • The second part of an LC call number includes a code representing the author and the particular item. This part of the call number begins with a letter followed by numbers, and then sometimes another letter followed by numbers.
    For example, Gorillas in the Mist:
    QL737 .P96 F67 1983
  • Frequently an LC call number will include a final part that represents the year that the item, or particular issue of an item, was published.
    Again, Gorillas in the Mist:
    QL737 .P96 F67 1983

Reading LC Call Numbers

  • Library of Congress call numbers are arranged alphabetically and numerically. Call numbers are read from left to right and from top to bottom. Sometimes call numbers are written out all on one line as you see above, and sometimes they are displayed in a column as below. An LC call number is read the same way whether it is all on one line or in a column.
  • Letters in the first part of the call number are in standard alphabetic order from A to Z:

  • Numbers in the first part of the call number are in regular numerical order:

  • Letters in the second part are again A to Z:

  • Numbers in the second part of the call number are in decimal order. It is important to remember that there is a decimal point before this number:

  • There may be a third set of letters and numbers. These will also be in alphabetical and decimal number order, even though the decimal point will not be shown.
  • The last part of a call number may be a year. This indicates the publication date.

Library of Congress Classification System

This is a very basic outline of the Primary Classes and Subclasses of the LC Classification System. To see a much more detailed classification list at the Library of Congress website, click here.

Primary Class: A | B | C | D | E-F | G | H | J | K | L | M | N | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | Z |

 -A- General Works
  AC Collections. Series. Collected Works
  AE Encyclopedias
  AG Dictionaries and other general reference works
  AI Indexes
  AM Museums. Collectors and collecting
  AN Newspapers
  AP Periodicals
  AS Academics and learned societies
  AY Yearbooks. Almanacs. Directories
  AZ History of scholarship and learning. The humanities

 -B- Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
  B Philosophy (General)
  BC Logic
  BD Speculative philosophy
  BF Psychology
  BH Aesthetics
  BJ Ethics
  BL Religions. Mythology. Rationalism
  BM Judaism
  BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc.
  BQ Buddhism
  BR Christianity
  BS The Bible
  BT Doctrinal Theology
  BV Practical Theology
  BX Christian Denominations

 -C- Auxiliary sciences of History
  C Auxiliary sciences of history (General)
  CB History of Civilization
  CC Archaeology
  CD Diplomatics. Archives. Seals
  CE Technical chronology. Calendar
  CJ Numismatics
  CN Inscriptions. Epigraphy
  CR Heraldry
  CS Genealogy
  CT Biography

 -D- World History
  D History
  DA Great Britain
  DAW Central Europe
  DB Austria - Liechtenstein - Hungary - Czechoslovakia
  DC France - Andorra - Monaco
  DD Germany
  DE Greco-Roman World
  DF Greece
  DG Italy - Malta
  DH Low Countries - Benelux Countries
  DJ Netherlands (Holland)
  DJK Eastern Europe (General)
  DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics - Poland
  DL Northern Europe. Scandinavia
  DP Spain - Portugal
  DQ Switzerland
  DR Balkan Peninsula
  DS Asia
  DT Africa
  DU Oceania (South Seas)
  DX Gypsies

 -E-F- History of the Americas
  E 11-143 America
  E 151-889 United States
  F 1-975 United States local history
  F 1001-1145.2 British America (including Canada). Dutch America
  F 1170 French America
  F 1201-3799 Latin America. Spanish America

 -G- Geography, Anthropology, Recreation
  G Geography (General). Atlases. Maps
  GA Mathematical geography. Cartography
  GB Physical geography
  GC Oceanography
  GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
  GN Anthropology
  GR Folklore
  GT Manners and customs (General)
  GV Recreation. Leisure

 -H- Social Sciences
  H Social Sciences (General)
  HA Statistics
  HB Economic theory. Demography
  HC-HD Economic history and conditions
  HE Transportation and communications
  HF Commerce
  HG Finance
  HJ Public Finance
  HM Sociology (General and Theoretical)
  HN Social history. Social problems. Social reform
  HQ The family. Marriage. Women
  HS Societies: Secret, benevolent, etc.
  HT Communities. Classes. Races.
  HV Social Pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
  HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism

 -J- Political Science
  J General legislative and executive papers
  JA Political science (General)
  JC Political theory
  JF Political institutions and public administration
  JJ Political institutions and public administration (North America)
  JK Political institutions and public administration (United States)
  JL Political institutions and public administration (Canada, Latin America, etc.)
  JN Political institutions and public administration (Europe)
  JQ Political institutions and public administration (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.)
  JS Local government. Municipal government
  JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
  JX (obsolete) International Law, see JZ and KZ
  JZ International relations

 -K- Law
  K Law in general. Comparative and uniform law. Jurisprudence
  KB Religious laws in general. Comparative religious law. Jurisprudence
  KBM Jewish law
  KBP Islamic law
  KBR History of canon law
  KBS Canon law of Eastern churches 
  KBU Law of the Roman Catholic Church. The Holy See
  KD-KDK United Kingdom and Ireland
  KDZ America. North America
  KE Canada
  KF United States
  KG Latin America - Mexico and Central America - West indies. Caribbean area
  KH south America
  KJ-KKZ Europe
  KL-KWX Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica
  KZ Law of nations

 -L- Education
  L Education (General)
  LA History of education
  LB Theory and practice of education
  LC Special aspects of education
  LD Individual institutions - United States
  LE Individual institutions - America (except United States)
  LF Individual institutions - Europe
  LG Individual institutions - Asia, Africa, Indian Ocean islands, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands
  LH College and school magazines and papers
  LJ Student fraternities and societies, United States
  LT Textbooks

 -M- Music and Books on Music
  M Music
  ML Literature of music
  MT Musical instruction and study

 -N- Fine Arts
  N Visual Arts
  NA Architecture
  NB Sculpture
  NC Drawing. Design. Illustration
  ND Painting
  NE Print media
  NK Decorative arts
  NX Arts in general

 -P- Language and Literature
  P Philology. Linguistics
  PA Greek language and literature. Latin language and literature
  PB Modern languages. Celtic languages
  PC Romanic languages
  PD Germanic languages. Scandinavian languages
  PE English language
  PF West Germanic languages
  PG Slavic languages. Baltic languages. Albanian language
  PH Uralic languages. Basque language
  PJ Oriental languages and literatures
  PK Indo-Iranian languages and literatures
  PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
  PM Hyperborean, Indian, and artificial languages
  PN Literature (General)
  PQ French literature - Italian literature - Spanish literature - Portugese literature
  PR English literature
  PS American literature
  PT German literature - Dutch literature - Flemish literature since 1830 Afrikaans literature - Scandinavian literature - Old Norse literature: Old Icelandic and Old Norwegian - Modern Icelandic literature - Faroese literature - Danish literature - Norwegian literature - Swedish literature
  PZ Fiction and juvenile belles lettres

 -Q- Science
  Q Science (General)
  QA Mathematics
  QB Astronomy
  QC Physics
  QD Chemistry
  QE Geology
  QH Natural history - Biology
  QK Botany
  QL Zoology
  QM Human anatomy
  QP Physiology
  QR Microbiology

 -R- Medicine
  R Medicine (General)
  RA Public aspects of medicine
  RB Pathology
  RC Internal medicine
  RD Surgery
  RE Ophthalmology
  RF Otorhinolaryngology
  RG Gynecology and obstetrics
  RJ Pediatrics
  RK Dentistry
  RL Dermatology
  RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
  RS Pharmacy and materia medica
  RT Nursing
  RV Botanic, Thomsonian, and eclectic medicine
  RX Homeopathy
  RZ Other systems of medicine

 -S- Agriculture
  S Agriculture (General)
  SB Plant culture
  SD Forestry
  SF Animal culture
  SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling
  SK Hunting sports

 -T- Technology
  T Technology (General)
  TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering
  TC Hydraulic engineering. Ocean engineering
  TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
  TE Highway engineering. Roads and pavements
  TF Railroad engineering and operation
  TG Bridge engineering
  TH Building construction
  TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
  TK Electrical engineering. Electronics. Nuclear engineering
  TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
  TN Mining engineering. Metallurgy
  TP Chemical technology
  TR Photography
  TS Manufactures
  TT Handicrafts. Arts and crafts
  TX Home economics. Cookbooks

 -U- Military Science
  U Military science (General)
  UA Armies: Organization, description, military situation
  UB Military administration
  UC Maintenance and transportation
  UD Infantry
  UE Cavalry. Armor
  UF Artillery
  UG Military Engineering. Air forces
  UH Other services

 -V- Naval Science
  V Naval science (General)
  VA Navies: Organization, description, naval situation
  VB Naval administration
  VC Naval maintenance
  VD Naval seamen
  VE Marines
  VF Naval ordinance
  VG Minor services of the navies
  VK Navigation. Merchant marine
  VM Naval architecture. Shipbuilding. Marine engineering

 -Z- Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources (General)
  Z Books (General). Writing. Paleography. Book industries and trade. Libraries. Bibliography



Information resources (General)



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