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The Library of Congress call number system assigns each book a unique call number consisting of letters and numbers. This number is basically the book's "address" on the shelf.
Books are arranged on the shelf in call number order. The ordering takes place at each part of the call number, as follows:
1) First, books are organized alphabetically by the initial letter or letters.
BF | D | DA | DB | E |
2) Second, within a particular broad subject area (e.g., BF), books are organized numerically by the numbers that follow the letter(s).
BF 8 |
BF 23 |
BF 78 |
BF 108 |
BF 4340 |
3) Third, within a narrow subject area (e.g., BF108), books are organized by the third part of the call number. First, the letter part is organized alphabetically, and then the number part is organized in decimal order (NOT numerical order). If this third part of the call number has more than one item, books are organized by the first one first, then by the second one, and so on.
BF 108 .B45 |
BF 108 .C31 |
BF 108 .C4 |
BF 110 .B45 P28 |
BF 110 .B45 S33 |
BF 110 .B45 S8 |
4) Finally, within a particular call number, books are organized chronologically by year of publication, and (when applicable) by volume or copy number.
BF 108 .B45 1997 |
BF 108 .B45 2008 |
BF 108 .B45 2008 c. 2 |
BF 110 .P73 2003 v. 1 |
BF 110 .P73 2003 v. 2 |