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Library DIY

I Do Not Know Where To Find A Call Number In The Library

There are three main things you need to locate a physical book: the IU library, the call number, and the location

screenshot of item location in IUCAT

  1. Identify the appropriate IU library. If the book is not in Indianapolis click the Request This button to have the book delivered to an Indianapolis location.  
  2. If the book is at University Library in Indianapolis, look at the Maps (Library Home Page > UL Building > Library Maps) to locate the collection and call number range. (Call numbers beginning with A-O are on the 3rd floor of University Library; call numbers P-Z are on the 4th floor.) If there is no call number:
    • If it is a print book, it is probably checked out. You might first search in IUCAT for another version of the book. If another version is unavailable, you may Recall the book or request another copy through Interlibrary Loan 
    • Electronic books will not have a collection or call number; instead click on the link for the Indianapolis campus. 
  3. Once you have the call number and the relevant library location, locate the book on the shelves
    1. The IU Libraries' call numbers use an alpha-numeric system. Start with the first letter in the call number.
      For example, if the call number was HQ1762 .W63 1998. Then the first letter is H (so the 3rd floor of University Library).
    2. Within the H's, you will find just H, then HA, HB, HC... and so on down to HQ.
    3. Once you find the HQ's, look for 1762. (So HQ100 would come before HQ 1000 which comes before HQ1762.) This is a whole number.
    4. Once you find HQ1762, look for the letter W.
    5. Once you find HQ1762 .W, look for .63 - and note that this number is a decimal number, not a whole number.
    6. Keep going until you find your book!
    7. The last number is often the year the book was published or the copyright date.


Questions? Ask a Subject Librarian or get Help via chat, phone, etc.