Locating Material in the Barr Smith Library

Call numbers - a guide to finding an item's location

To find a book, or other item in the library, you must first use Library Search to get the call number of the item. The call number, located on the spine of an item, indicates where an item can be found on the library shelves.

Call numbers are usually in two parts: the Dewey classification number, which reflects the subject/content of the item, and the Cutter number, which is usually based on the author of the book or the title of the journal/edited work, eg. 823 G799b.

Please note: both parts of the call number are essential for locating an item.

Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) scheme

The DDC scheme used in the Barr Smith Library (and all other branch libraries except the Law Library) is commonly used by libraries to arrange material on their shelves according to the subject matter.

The DDC scheme divides information into ten main classes:

  • 000 General works.
  • 100 Philosophy.
  • 200 Religion.
  • 300 Sociology.
  • 400 Languages.
  • 500 Science.
  • 600 Technology.
  • 700 Arts.
  • 800 Literature.
  • 900 History and Geography.

Each main class is subdivided. For example, within the Science class, 510 is Mathematics, 520 is Astronomy, 576 is Microbiology, and so on. More specific numbers are created by adding further numbers after a decimal point, as required. The number for the main class Physics is 530. This can be further divided: 532 is Fluid mechanics and 532.2 is used for Hydrostatics.

Cutter numbers

Cutter numbers bring together items by the same author that have the same Dewey number. For example, Brighton Rock by Graham Greene is classified at 823 which is the Dewey number for English fiction. Following the 823 is the Cutter number for Graham Greene, which is G799. To differentiate between novels written by Graham Greene, the first letter of the title is then added, eg. G799b.
When you are looking for an item on the shelf, remember that Cutter numbers are shelved in decimal order, eg. C353 is found before C9.

Library maps (floor plans)