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URISE - University of Richmond Integrated Science Experience: Finding Books

Call Numbers


All UR library books are "classified" with Library of Congress (LC) "call numbers."  Call numbers are the letters and numbers found on the spine of the book that tell you where the book is located on the shelf.  They also tell you what subject area the book covers.

The majority of the science collection falls into the Q, R, S, and T call numbers area.  The call numbers also group the books hierarchically:

E.g.  Call #s beginning with Q = general science; QA = math; QB = astronomy; QC = physics; QD = chemistry; QK = botany; QL = zoology; R = medicine; S = agriculture; T = technology.

If you were looking for a book on inorganic chemistry, it would be found in the call # range QD146-197.

Most academic libraries use the LC classification system.  If you are looking for the book Basic Principles of Inorganic Chemistry: Making the Connections by Brian Murphy in Boatwright Library, the catalog tells you the call # is QD151 .M859 1998.  You could find the same book with the same call number if you visited the libraries at Harvard, Yale, UNC, Duke, Princeton, or Stanford!

Using the Catalog to Find Books


The first place to check for books on your topic is the UR Library Catalog.  Here are some quick tips for effective catalog searches:

  • Start with a keyword search and when you have found one or two relevant books, examine their subject headings to help guide further searching.
  • The keyword search is searching the titles, subject headings, and any contents notes -- not the full text of the book.
    • Most books by and about a topic are shelved together, so once you have a few call numbers, you can browse.  For example, most books on marine biology are classifed in the QH80's and 90's.  These books are shelved on Boatwright's B2 level. 

    • The circulating books are shelved on the B1 and B2 levels of Boatwright:
           Call #s A - HF on B1
           Call #s HG - Z on B2
           Oversize books on B2
           Reference books on the 1st floor

    Subject Headings


    Books are assigned at least one subject heading.  E.g. If you look at the catalog record for the book Smart Solutions to Climate Change: Comparing Costs and Benefits by Bjorn Lomborg, you will see that it is assigned 3 subject headings: 

    1. Climatic changes > Economic aspects
    2. Global warming > Economic aspects
    3. Climate change mitigation

    You can click on any of these subject headings that can link you to other books in the catalog.  Subject headings will often lead you to books that you would not be able to find if searching by keyword only!