Week 2: The Catalog and Library of Congress Classification


The Catalog

The catalog is an index to all the materials in the library. It provides access to books, videos, magazines and journals, but not all articles and ebooks. You can search the catalog for an item by using a title search, an author search, a subject search or a keyword search. Those are the basic kinds of searches. There are other, more in-depth searches, like government documents, available in your online catalog. A card catalog, still found in some libraries, is more limited.

Title Search

PAC Learning Resources Center

Select "Catalog" at the top.

Or go directly to ACC Catalog.

1. Select the title tab--make sure you are searching only PAC and not all libraries.

2. Do not use articles such as a, an, the, el, las, etc. EXCEPTION: When searching for a proper name such as The Woodlands or El Paso, or Los Angeles

3. There is no need to capitalize.

4. Try a search for "the great gatsby" You will get an error message saying no matches found. Remove "the" and search "great gatsby".

5. If you click on the first title you will see that there is an electronic book of the novel itself. There are also hard copies of the novel. You will also see that some of the selections are not the novel, but are criticisms of the novel and/or the author.

6. The items of information needed to retreive the item from the shelf are: author, title, location, call number and status (which could be available, checked out or lost/billed.) If it does not indicate that it is available you will not find it on the shelf.

7. Call number P--language and literature ps--American language and literature 3511--American author in the 20th century whose name begins with F .I9--rest of his name itzgerald G7--great gatsby 1996 year of publication.

Another type of title search could be for a periodical, such as Sports Illustrated

1. You do not need to capitalize

2. Select the first entry

3. Really shows up shared catalog, showing entries for other ACC libraries.

4. Separated by faint blue lines

5. First PAC entry is microfilm format

6. Shows dates of entry

7. See note that it is only kept for 2 years

8. Most recent copy on current periodical shelf, but there are older copies with call number on the shelves

9. Shows latest copy received

10. Click on most recent received to show the check in record.


Online Catalog Exercise

Go the the learning resource center link and use the PAC online catalog to locate the following: Hint: Set the catalog to All Libraries.

1. A book titled The Sapphire Planet.

      How many pages are in the book?_________ What college owns the book___________________?

2. A book by an author named Joel J. Gold (remember to always type the last name first when searching for a book by or about someone).

      What is the year of copyright?___________ What college owns the book?_____________________

3. A book by Oliver Goldsmith

      What is the call number?_________________________ What is the title?____________________________________________________

4. A sound recording by the musical group Pearl Jam. (remember that only the Keyword search will search the entire record.)

      Is it available to check out?_________ What college owns this recording?________________________

5. A book about gemstones.

      What is the title of this book?______________________________________

      What subject heading has been assigned to this book?________________________

6. A book titled The Treasure Hunt.

      Who wrote it?____________________________ What year was it published?___________________________________

7. A book with the words jewelry appraising somewhere within the title.

      What subject heading has been assigned to this book?___________________

      What is the call number?______________________________

8. A book about diamonds.

      Does this book have illustrations?____________ What college owns the book?________________________

9. A book about Neil Diamond.

      How many books about Neil Diamond are owned by ACCD libraries?_______


Catalog Search

Go to the web link for the PAC Library homepage, and click on the online catalog. Click on the tab labled "Title".

Type in the title: Good to Great

Who is the author of this book?__________________________________

What is the call number for this book?______________________________

Is this book available?______________________

How many copies of this book does Palo Alto College own?________________

Where will you find this book in the library?_____________________________


Searching the Catalog

In the discussions area of Canvas, name and describe the four basic searches you can do in the Palo Alto College online catalog.


Using the Online Catalog

In the discussions area of Canvas, give your opinions of the best way to find information in the catalog and why. Give examples.


Library of Congress Classification

(For additional information, refer to the Library of Congress website on call numbers.)

A. General Works

B-BJ. Philogophy, Psychology

BL, BM, BP, BQ. Religion: Religions, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism

BR-BV. Religion: Christianity, Bible

BX. Religion: Christian Denominations

C. Auxiliary Sciences of History

D-DJ. History (General), History of Europe, Part 1

DL-DR. History of Europe, Part 2

DJK-DK. History of Eastern Europe (General), Soviet Union, Poland

DS. History of Asia

DT-DX. History of Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc.

E-F. History: America (Western Hemisphere)

G. Geography. Maps. Anthropology. Recreation.

H-HJ. Social Sciences: Economics

HM-HX. Social Sciences: Sociology

J. Political Science

K. Law (General)

KD. Law of the United Kingdom and Ireland

KDZ, KG-KH. Law of the Americas, Latin America and the West Indies

KE. Law of Canada

KF. Law of the United States

KJ-KKZ. Law of Europe

KJV-KJW. Law of France

KK-KKC. Law of Germany

L. Education

M. Music

N. Fine Arts

P-PA. General Philology and Linguistics, Classical Languages

PA Supplement. Byzantine & Modern Greek Literature, Medieval & Latin Lit.

PB-PH. Modern European Languages

PG. Russian Literature

PJ-PK. Oriental Philology and Literature, Indo-Iranian Philology & Lit.

PL-PM Languages of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania, Hyperborean, Indian, and Artificial Languages

P-PM Supplement. Index to Languages and Dialects

PN, PR, PS, PZ. General Literature. English and American Literature. Fiction in English Juvenile belles letters.

PQ, Part 1. French Literature

PQ, Part 2. Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese Literatures

PT, Part 1. German Literature

P-PZ. Language and Literature Tables

Q. Science

R. Medicine

T. Technology

U. Military Science

V. Naval Science

Z. Bibliography. Library Science


Using the LC Classification System

All books in the Hartfield Library are identified by a unique call number. These call numbers are assigned using the Library of Congress Classification System. The Library of Congress System organizes materials in alphanumeric order.

The call number on the spine of a book contains at least three lines. Each line should read distinctly and separately. A typical call number might read as follows:

(Line 1) BS
(Line 2) 617
(Line 3) .L61
(Line 4) G3
(Line 5) 1981

Line 1. The first line is always a single letter or a combination of letters. When shelved, single letters are arranged first. Double letters follow single letters. The letters below are in correct order from left to right.

      P      PN      PR      PS      PZ

Line 2. The second line consists of numbers. Books are shelved in numerical order from the lowest number to the highest number. The call numbers below are in correct order from left to right.

BF 31
BF 310
BF 3105

Some numbers in the second line have a decimal point. Examples are:

BF 30.5
QC 719.8

Books are shelved by the whole numbers first, then by the numbers following the decimal point.

BF 607
BF 607.2
BF 6072
BF 6072.5

Line 3. Line three usually begins with a decimal point followed by a letter. Books are shelved alphabetically by the letter. A number always follows the letter. When line three begins with a decimal point, the numbers are decimals -- not whole numbers. Therefore, numbers in line three are filed digit by digit rather than by the whole number. For example, .G39 is shelved before .G4 because .G4 really means .G40. Since .G39 precedes .G40, .G39 would be shelved first. The number .B765 is filed before .B77 because .B77 is .B770. If you become confused, simply add a “mental” zero to a single digit when comparing it to a double digit.

The call numbers below are in correct order from left to right.

BF 706 .A2
BF 706 .A276
BF 706 .A28
BF 706 .A281
BF 706 .A29

Line 4. Many call numbers are only three lines long. If a fourth line is added, it will either be a four-digit number that reflects the date of publication (i.e., 1980, 1986) or a single letter followed by several numbers (i.e., W15 or H75).

When the fourth line has a letter followed by numbers, it is a continuation of the third line that began with a decimal point. Although the fourth line will not begin with a decimal point, the numbers are decimals -- not whole numbers. These numbers are filed like those in line three, digit by digit. The call numbers below are in correct order from left to right.

BF 706 .A2 G49
BF 706 .A2 G5
BF 706 .A2 G513
BF 706 .A2 G52
BF 706 .A2 G521

Line 5 through the end. A call number may consist of more lines containing dates and/or letter combinations. Follow the instructions given for lines 1 through 4.


Assignment: PAC Catalog

Answer the following questions using the PAC Online Catalog:

(Enter in the Discussions area in Canvas).

1. How many books do we own about trees?

2. How will you find books about biplanes?

3. What is the call number for a book about Shakespeare written by Dennis Kay?

4. Where should you look for books about Russia?

5. Who is the author of the first book in the catalog about boats?

6. In what years were our books about horse training published?

7. What subject headings are assigned to a book about trains?

8. How many of our books about rockets have bibliographies?

9. Do we have any books about eleventh century Oriental art?

10. What is the subject heading for travel books about Paris?


PAC Library

PAC Library Link

PAC Online Catalog


Don't forget to take the quiz. (Go to Canvas in ACES.)

Colby Glass, MLIS, Professor Emeritus