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Research Skills - Call Numbers: Home

What call numbers are, and how to use them to find your book...


What are 'Call Numbers'...?

  • Call numbers are classification systems used by libraries to organize and arrange book (and other resource) collections. Each resource will be assigned a unique call number.  (If there are multiple copies of one title, the call number of each additional copy will be modified to reflect that, in order to avoid confusion).


What system does the Whittemore Library use to file its book collection?

  • The Whittemore Library uses the Library of Congress (LC) system (often used in academic libraries) for its main and its reference book collections.  More details of the system can be found here.
  • FSU's specialized Ella C. Ritchie Curriculum Collection (located on the Upper Mezzanine of the Whittemore Library) uses the Lois Watts system (rather specialized; originally devised to organize textbooks) to file its materials. More details of her system can be found here.


How does a call number help me find a book?

  • Whether you are seeking a book from our Main or Reference Collections, or one from the Curriculum Collection, each item will have a label on it with its call number (generally, a combinations of letters and/or numbers).
  • When you find the name of a print book / resource while using our online catalog, the item's record will tell you its unique call number. You can then retrieve the item from the book stacks by scanning the row of books in order to locate that specific call number label (usually easily visible on the book's spine, but sometimes located instead on the front of the resource).