Library of Congress Subject Headings and call numbers

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Library of Congress Subject Headings and call numbers


The USC Library uses the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and call numbers to catalogue and arrange materials on the shelves of the library collections.

These subject headings are divided into 21 branches of knowledge represented by letters:

  • A - General works 
  • B - Philosophy
  • C - Auxiliary sciences of history
  • D - History (general)
  • E-F - History (Americas)
  • G - Geography
  • H - Social sciences
  • J - Political science
  • K - Law
  • L - Education
  • M - Music
  • N - Visual arts
  • O - Language and literature
  • Q - Science
  • R - Medicine
  • S - Agriculture
  • T - Technology
  • U - Military science
  • V - Naval science
  • Z - Bibliography, library science

Each of these subject branches is then divided into more specific topics represented by combinations of letters and numbers, and the publication date to make up the call number that is printed on the spine label and attached to the bottom part of the book.

This alpha-numerical sequence identifies the order that the item is arranged on the shelves.

You can go directly to the Library shelves to browse the range of materials within the sub-division of interest.

The signage on the bookshelves will assist you to locate the item you require, by call number.

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