Completion of assignment report : July 1981-August 1986 / Russell H. Brannon. (OCLC #39501215)

Long ago when this piece was cataloged and processed, its call number label was mixed up with that of its neighbor, which is not too surprising, given how similar they are:

S540.I56 B730 1986
S540.I56 B370 1986

They are very similar documents, so the only difference in call number is the cutter for the author:

  • Russell Brannon – B730
  • Harry Barnard – B370

This error was discovered during digitization (call numbers on the pieces didn’t match the catalog), and reported to cataloging for correction. Another report from that same year by Mr. Brannon also received the B730 version of the call number, so that was shifted for uniqueness.


What the Bible says about salvation / by Virgil Warren. (OCLC #9092454)

Often when copy cataloging, we’ll find a record with a call number ending with “x”. It’s my understanding that some institutions add this when constructing a call number as a way of marking it “locally assigned”, so that there is no conflict if another book comes in with that same call number. Our policy is to not add x’s when constructing call numbers, and to remove them from call numbers in incoming copy. That is, if a record comes in with:

    050 _4 ǂa BT751.2 ǂb .W294x

We add a new call number to the record and use it:

    050 _4 ǂa BT751.2 ǂb .W294x
    090 __ ǂa BT751.2 ǂb .W294 1982

(We also add the year if it is not there already.)

Note that ‘x’ is different from other small letters that might appear at the end of a call number, which have their own specific meanings, and should not be removed:

  • a – facsimile
  • b,c,d, etc. – other title with that same call number, probably even published in the same year
  • z – uncertain year of publication (1950z = 1950-1959)

Sometimes the ‘x’ will sneak in on copy, and that’s fine too. This shelving tutorial suggests that it should be treated as “½”.


La novela verdadera / Javier Chiabrando ; [edited by Carola Moreno]. (OCLC #872414080)

The author’s name authority record includes a call number that has already been assigned to him:

    053 _0 PQ7798.13.H45

so we don’t have to start by shelflisting the author under PQ7798.13 (Spanish Literature … Argentina … Individual authors or works 1961-2000, A-Z … starting with C). Note that the first letter of Chiabrando is already accounted for in the number, so the letter in the first cutter is H for cHiabrando.

The second cutter is for the title of the book. In this case we skip the initial article La and start at Novela, following the Subject Cataloging Manual on Shelflisting’s Filing rules (G 100), Rule 13 (“Initial Articles”). Our call number is:

    PQ7798.13.H45 N68 2013

Grun-tu-molani / Vidyan Ravinthiran. (OCLC #868082716)

Our main library’s general collection spans three floors, and we set the location manually in the catalog for each book based on call number. The distribution is currently:

  • Third floor: A – DX
  • Fourth floor: E – PR2749
  • Fifth floor: PR2750 – Z

For books close to the boundary (like this one at PR6118: English literature, 2001- , Individual authors starting with R) I peek up at the sign to check their placement. For books slightly further away, I often sing at least part of the alphabet ( … L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S … ) to just make sure. Apparently even all of my practice doing quicksort by hand has not solidified that part of the alphabet’s ordering in my head.


Otsuchi : moving forward from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami : a photo essay of a small town in Japan / Meiji Gakuin University Volunteer Center ; editing and design, Cody Rapley. (OCLC #889095202)

Most call numbers in Library of Congress Classification follow a pretty standard pattern: 1-3 capital letters, a number (possibly with a decimal part), one or two cutters, and sometimes a year. One exception is in call numbers for books about events like earthquakes, where the class number also includes a year for the occurrence (in addition to the year that might be in the “item number” part of the call number). For example, HV599 is for general works about earthquakes, but HV600 is for works about specific earthquakes by date, then subarranged by place, A-Z, and by author, A-Z.

This title about the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, so the first cutter is for Tōhoku, the region where that earthquake took place. The second cutter is for the main entry, which in this case is the title. This forms the call number:

HV600 2011 .T64 ǂb O87 2014

Freedom 7 : the historic flight of Alan B. Shepard, Jr. / Colin Burgess. (OCLC #857972968)

Call numbers with three cutters are pretty unusual in the Library of Congress classification schedule; I mainly see them in G (maps).

If you are using a class number that already has two cutters specified, such as TL789.8.U6A5 (Space travel, United States, Apollo Program), you still need to extend the call number to sort items by main entry. Rather than adding a third cutter (starting with another letter) just extend the second cutter with numbers.

For this title (about a mission from Project Mercury), I started by identifying the second cutter used for that project (M4) and checking the LC catalog to shelflist, ordering by main entry. Library of Congress already has a title in their collection about this topic by this author (“Selecting the Mercury seven”) with call number:

TL789.8.U6 M428 2011

so I shifted the cutter yet again to also order by title:

TL789.8.U6 M427 2014

Erfahrungen mit der Digitalisierung von rastermässig erfassten Linienstrukturen / Thomas Kreifelts … [et al.]. (OCLC #2794543)

If a set of books is part of an analyzed series that is classed together, the call number in the bib record for the set might be recorded in a format like:

    QA1 ǂb .G344 no. 30, etc.

That is, both volumes have a call number that starts QA1 .G344, but have enumeration based on their location in the series:

    QA1 .G344 no. 30
    QA1 .G344 no. 37

In our collection, we classify this particular series separately, so the call numbers for the two volumes in the set actually ended up as:

    GA102.4.E4 E73 1974 v.1
    GA102.4.E4 E73 1974 v.2

Plutarchi Moralia / recensuerunt et emendaverunt W.R. Paton, M. Pohlenz, W. Sieveking. (OCLC #646754026)

This set (not a serial, even!) was labeled with very strange call numbers. Why the two years? Why split the enumeration?

The main class number PA3404 is now obsolete, a status you can identify by the parentheses around it in Classification Web and printed schedules. It is a class number associated to the particular printed series, “Bibliotheca Teubneriana”, which while very specific, does not seem as useful as the one associated with that work, PA4368. Using the class number for the work will put the set on the shelf other editions of Moralia and close to other works of Plutarch.


Tbilisi. (OCLC #865165950)

Books released as advertisements (this one for a company offering sight-seeing tours in the USSR) are not always so forthcoming with their publication information; I was delighted that the copy I found had an estimated publication date in RDA format:

[between 1950 and 1959]

The fuzzyness of the publication date shows up in the year of my call number as a z following the decade:

DK679.24 .I58 1950z

Whenever I see 1900z in a call number, I wonder if that means “between 1900 and 1999” or “between 1900 and 1909”; at least it is made clear in the record.