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Understanding Call Numbers

A call number is a combination of letters and numbers which identifies the location and subject matter of books and other library resources. Think of a call number as an address for a book on the library shelf. Be aware that books on similar subjects will appear next to each other. Locate call numbers on the spine of a book or at the upper left-hand corner.

Most academic libraries use the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system to generate call numbers. Most books in the field of sociology can be found in the following call number ranges:

  • HM
    1-554: General Sociology
    621-656: Culture
    661-706: Social control, Social systems, Social structure
    711-806: Groups and organizations
    811-821: Deviant behavior
    826-901: Social institutions, Social change
    1001-1281: Social psychology
  • HN
    Social history and conditions, Social problems, Social reform
  • HQ
    The Family, Marriage, Women
  • HS
    Societies: secret, benevolent, etc.
  • HT
    Communities, Classes, Races
  • HV
    Social pathology, Social and public welfare, Criminology

Sociology books housed within WVU's Downtown Campus Library will be on the 5th and 6th floor.

Reading a Call Number

This brief video is an excellent overview of call numbers and how to read them in order to retrieve a book from the library's shelves.

from Portland State University Library