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ENGL 101/111 Research Guide: How Items are Organized

What is a classification system?

Libraries use classification systems to organize the books on the shelves. A classification system uses letters and/or numbers (Call Numbers) to arrange the books so that books on the same topic are together. This arrangement can result in serendipitous browsing, where you find one book in the catalog, go to the shelf, and, an even better book is sitting right next to it.

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How does the Ort Library Organize Items?

The Ort Library uses Library of Congress (LC) call numbers for most of its collection.

You might be familiar with the Dewey Decimal Classification System from high school or the public library.  Most colleges and universities use the Library of Congress (LC) Classification System because it accommodates larger collections and facilitates academic research. 

The Library of Congress Classification System is subject-based, classifying and arranging items by the subject matter involved.


How do I check out a book?

To check out a book found in the Stacks (4th or 5th floors), you need to go to the Circulation Desk.

Location: 3rd Floor of the Ort Library, to the right of the Main Entrance

Phone: 301-687-4395


Undergraduates can check out books for 28 days.  You can renew a book if it hasn't been requested by someone else.

For more information on due dates, fines, or InterLibrary Loan see: Ort Library Borrowing and Circulation Policies

How to Read an LC Call Number

This video is from Ryerson University Library and Archive and explains how to read a call number.