Understanding Call Numbers

Books and scores in the University of Michigan Music Library are organized according to the Library of Congress (LC) classification system. LC classification divides the branches of knowledge into broad classes that are represented by capital letters: 

A -- GENERAL WORKS
B -- PHILOSOPHY, PSYCHOLOGY, RELIGION
C -- AUXILIARY SCIENCES OF HISTORY
D -- HISTORY (GENERAL) AND HISTORY OF EUROPE, ASIA, AFRICA, ETC.
E-F -- HISTORY: AMERICA
G -- GEOGRAPHY, ANTHROPOLOGY, RECREATION
H -- SOCIAL SCIENCES
J -- POLITICAL SCIENCE
K -- LAW
L -- EDUCATION
M -- MUSIC
N -- FINE ARTS
P -- LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE
Q -- SCIENCE
R -- MEDICINE
S -- AGRICULTURE
T -- TECHNOLOGY
U -- MILITARY SCIENCE
V -- NAVAL SCIENCE
Z -- BIBLIOGRAPHY, LIBRARY SCIENCE

These main classes are further divided into subclasses designated by an additional capital letter. M (Music) has two subclasses. Thus, music materials are organized into three broad classification areas:

M music (scores)
ML   literature on music (music history and criticism)
MT musical instruction and study (theory, analysis, music education, pedagogy, instrumental technique, etc.)

 

How To Read a Call Number

Each item in the library has its own unique call number. A call number may consist of as few as two elements, but call numbers often have four or more elements.

M1500   The first element, the "class," consists of one or two letters and a number. Items are filed alphabetically by the initial letter(s): GV, LB, M, ML, MT, PN, Z. The number is read as an integer: 3, 3.1, 7, 25, 218, 1495 ...
.M9 The next element, the "Cutter," consists of a letter followed by one or more digits. Cutters are read first alphabetically, and then in decimal numeric order. For instance, .M875 precedes .M9.
D7 Some call numbers have another Cutter as the next element.
1991 The final element of many call numbers is a date, representing the year of publication.


Each element of the call number indicates something about the item, as with this full score of Mozart's opera Don Giovanni:

M1500 the classification for full opera scores
.M9 represents the composer's last name (Mozart)
D7 represents the title of the work (Don Giovanni)
1991 the publication date


To find an item on the shelf, you must properly read each element of the call number. The following call numbers are in the proper order:

M 452
.D26
Q3
1962
M 1001
.P13
S82
1996
ML 410
.B355
F72
1988
ML 410
.B36
S25
ML 3561
.J3
H733
ML 3561
.J3
K26
1966
Page maintained by Jason Imbesi
Last modified: 06/27/2013