BIO150Y Optimal Information Foraging  

Locating Books

You have the citation, now where is the book?


Locating the book

book stacks
  • Libraries organize their collections by subject represented by call numbers.

  • Most U of T libraries use the Library of Congress call number system.

  • Browsing the shelves in a specific call number range is a good way to find more books on that topic.

Remember, finding books is a two step process:

  1. Search the catalogue
  2. Locate the book by its call number

Deciphering the call number

call number soup

Each part of the call number is meaningful. Let's decipher this item:

Call number QH 353 .M66 2000
Title Invasive species in a changing world / edited by Harold A. Mooney and Richard J. Hobbs.
Published Washington, D.C. : Island Press, c2000.


The breakdown of the call number is:

QH Biology
353 QH 353 is more specifically Animal populations
.M66 Cutter number for the author's last name
2000 Publication year




One more thing about call numbers

Call numbers use a decimal system. Therefore QH 353.13 will file before QH 353.2:

Here is a hypothetical sequence of call numbers, ordered correctly:

  • QH 353
  • QH 353.1
  • QH 353.13
  • QH 353.2

How to find call numbers in the stacks


What about finding encyclopaedias? ... Next

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