Library Hours: Nov 30 - Dec 18: 8 am - Midnight | Dec 19: 8 am - 8 pm | CLOSED Dec 20 & 21

Book Move FAQs

Locating Books


Why reclassify the collection into Library of Congress call numbers; what are the advantages?

  • Most academic libraries, including our peers, use the Library of Congress Classification system. Most academic libraries use Library of Congress classification, so this system should be more familiar to you.
  • Books will be arranged by subject, which makes it possible to browse for other books on the same subject.

How will the new LC call numbers differ from the call numbers we've used for decades?

  • LC call numbers have two basic parts: a class number which is subject based, and an item number that distinguishes among items classed under the same class number. The class numbers are alphanumeric: one, two or three capital letters followed by numbers, with possible decimal or other extensions for further topical breakdown. The item number usually begins with a Cutter number (a single capital letter preceded by a decimal point, plus Arabic numbers). Usually, other distinguishing information, including the publication date follows the Cutter number.
    193 4340 4550 947 494 10
    .R68 .B43 .M596 .C73 .31943 .E36
    1991 1987 2000 .2003x .A6 1945x

Our local classification system uses many different call numbers. Many of our local call numbers are word call numbers, such as Bibliog, Biog, Eng Per, Mich Coll, State Coll and Trials. Because word call numbers are not unique, it can be difficult to locate the particular book you are looking for.

Some call numbers begin with capital letters. When you see a call number with the capital letter(s) and number on the same line, you are looking at an old call number.

M2356o C734 FL8 JX2
1956 F293f F8.9 B616
1963 B4335f L41

Some old call numbers may look similar to LC call numbers. In general, except for a few very old books, you will never see a line preceded by a period.

12 55 B894s
J87d D312p 1993

Why didn't we use LC call numbers to begin with? Don't we already have some books with LC call numbers on them?

  • Our library collection is over 100 years old. The Library of Congress had not developed the classification schedules for law, so we developed our own classification scheme as did most other law libraries. LC first published the schedule for the law of the United States in 1969. Our collection includes many foreign and international titles and the schedules for these materials were developed much later. We began using the LC classification system in 2002 for newly cataloged books.


When will this project start?

  • The project began in Fall 2007. Our first step is to create a "Journals" collection" on S-3 North. This collection will combine our current American, International, and Foreign law review and journal collections.

How long will it take?

  • We hope to complete the project by the end of August 2009.

Are you hiring students to work on the project?

  • Yes. If you are interested in working on this project, please apply in the Administration Office, which is located in room S-180 on S-1 North of the underground building (Smith).

Will it be noisy? And if can I find a quiet place to study?

  • A sign will be posted at the entrance station to the Law Library on S-1 notifying our users where Library staff will be working each day. We are committed to make every effort to be as quiet as possible while conducting this work.

How is the project being done?

  • The project will be conducted in phases, with staff using book trucks to relabel and then move the books to a new location.

Locating Books

Where can I go to get help?

  • Visit the Reference Desk on S-1 or the Circulation Desk on S-2.

Why is it essential that I know the "location" of a book, as well as the call number?

  • The library collection is housed in two buildings with a combined 13 floors. "Location" tells you where and in which building your book can be found. The call number tells you where on the shelf your book sits.

Where can I find the location and call number?

  • Look up your item in the catalog. Below the bibliographic information (title, author, etc.) you will find a table containing the location, call number and availability of the item.

How many locations are there? Where are they?

Once I know the location and call number, where do I go to find the book?

  • During the book move, we recommend requesting the item online (see next FAQ).

How do I ask you to just get the book for me?

Will the law reviews and journals still be in alphabetical order?

  • In part. The "Journals" collection will be arranged by subject within the LC Class and then, generally, in alphabetical order within that subject. Law reviews will remain in alphabetical order.

What will be in Smith (the underground building)? What will be in (Annex) the legal research stacks?

  • Smith will house the following locations: Smith, Journals, Retro, Reserve, Ref Coll, Law School Collection, Micro, Rare Books, Oversize and Overwide.
  • Annex will house the following locations: Annex, Annex Journals, Annex Oversize and Annex Overwide.

I see two call numbers -- which one do I use?

  • Use the call number listed under the heading "Call No." The location of the book is listed under the heading "Location".
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