Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Putting LC Call Numbers in Order: The Game

Need a break?  Try something relaxing, like playing a quick game of placing library books in proper order according to their Library of Congress Classification System call numbers.  Look at this webpage on Understanding Call Numbers if you need a refresher. 

Do you ever teach others how to use call numbers?  Does it go something like this?

First, remember to place them in order alphabetically.  When a call number begins with one letter, it comes before another that has two letters: N before NA, for example.  Then, look at the numbers.  Count up from the number  one: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 45, 100, 101, 789, 1001, etc.  Third, notice the decimal .5 comes before .52, which also precedes .6, since it is a decimal.
  • N100.C45 comes before NA99.A33
  • N100.C45 comes before N100.5A32
  • N100.C45 comes before N100.C5
Now play the call number game if you have not done so already.  Thankfully the Lewis-Clark State College Library has made this game available after it disappeared from elsewhere.  Michael Ford, formerly at the University of Pittsburgh, created the game originally.  Once he moved on, his game became unavailable on the U. of Pittsburgh's website.

Browse the Library of Congress Classification Outline.  Drill down the outline to see how the narrower topics shoot off from the broader ones.

An Aside
In looking for the links to the Library of Congress, I discovered a very brief message from Clint Eastwood, America's tough guy.  He encourages the viewer, you and me, to make our day by reading a book: Clint Eastwood video.  We are talking about finding books in the catalog and on the shelves today in the ACAD 1199 class I am teaching.  This video seems like an appropriate one to start the class. 

It seems like a good idea to teach about keyword Boolean searching, subject heading searching, and understanding call numbers.  Ideally, students will leave the class more confident searching the catalog and finding books on the shelves.

If you teach library instruction classes, what have you done to instruct students in searching your library's catalog?

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