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In general, class by nationality of the author. If the author is considered less important than some other aspect of the work, class by that aspect, e.g. by content (contribution by a specific author), by translator, by copy-specific feature (book from an author's library), etc. Duplicate copies of the same work normally receive the same call number, with added copy designation, though they may be classed separately as desired.


American authors


Catholic Church publications


Jesuit relations


English, Scottish, Irish, British Canadian, Australian, New Zealand authors


French, French-Canadian, French Swiss authors


German, German Swiss, Austrian authors


Italian authors


Authors writing in Celtic, modern Breton


Latin American authors

LAC     Argentinian
LBC     Brazilian
LCC     Chilean
LCCo   Colombian
LDC     Bolivian
LEC     Ecuadorian
LMC    Mexican
LPC     Peruvian
LUC     Uruguayan
LVC     Venezuelan
LWC    West Indian, Cuban
LZC     Central American
LZCg   Guatemalan


Greek Church Fathers, Byzantine authors, Modern Greek


Latin Church Fathers, Medieval Latin authors


Belgian, Dutch, Frisian authors


Ancient Arabic authors


Ancient Greek authors


Ancient Latin authors


Portuguese authors


Scandinavian authors, including Finnish

QDC     Danish
QFC     Finnish
QNC     Norwegian
QSC     Swedish


Russian and Ukrainian authors


Spanish authors


African, Asian, and Middle Eastern authors [Note: the precise designations will be determined as needed]

YAC     Armenian
YCC     Chinese
YIC       Indian
YJC      Japanese
YMC     Madagascar

YNC     Nigeria
YSC     South Africa
YTC     Turkish


Eastern European (excluding Russian) authors

ZBC     Bulgarian
ZCC     Czech, Slovak
ZHC     Hungarian
ZPC     Polish
ZRC     Romanian
ZSC     Serbo-Croatian
ZWC    Wendisch (Sorbian)

Call number elements

Call numbers generally have 3 elements, each separated by a period with no space. Periods are omitted when the call number is written vertically, e.g. on a label. Additional elements, e.g. size and copy designations, are prefixed or appended as necessary.

f EC85.St487.883t (B)

f EC85

First element

First element of call number from above, plus number for century in which an author flourished (AC7 = an American author of the 18th century; AC8 = an American author of the first half of the 19th century; AC85 = an American author of the second half of the 19th century; etc.). Do not add a number to MLC, OGC, OLC classes.

IC (i.e. no number added)

pre-16th century


16th century


17th century


18th century


19th century


20th century


21st century

Some classifications are divided more specifically, as needed:


pre-1641 English authors whose works are not classed by STC number (do not use EC5, EC6)





EC85, AC85


EC95, AC95


Second element

Second element of call number: first letter of author's surname plus 4 Cutter numbers (L5852 = Lewis, Benjamin; L5853 = Lewis, Charles; L5862 = Lewis, George) derived from C.A. Cutter's Three-figure author table (hard copies of which abound in TS). Identify the 3-digit number that is appropriate (chose the number that correlates with the letters that would appear just before the main entry rather than after). Then, for most classes, add a fourth digit that makes sense in the index. Names beginning with vowels or the letter S require the first 2 letters of author's surname (An230 = Anderson, Albert; Sm521 = Smith, Benjamin). Names beginning with the letters Sc require the first 3 letters of author's surname (Sch542 = Schmidt, Heinrich). Some author Cutters established early on have only 2 or 3 numbers; these may be expanded and works reclassed if deemed necessary, but generally do not reclass. Use 5 Cutter numbers when necessary to interpolate a new author ([example?]). In the case of anonymous works, or when classifying tract volumes, use the Cutter number A100.

Third element

Third element of call number: consult Author Arrangement Scheme following. Individual works of author take last 3 digits of the year date of the first edition plus first letter of first word of title not an article, thus: 883t = first edition of Stevenson's Treasure Island, 1883; 883tb = 2nd edition, 1884; 883tf = 6th edition, 1885. The second letter following the date reflects the sequence of editions according to the alphabet (b = 2nd, c = 3rd, d = 4th, etc.). States and issues are distinguished by the letter a as a second letter, thus: 883ta = 2nd issue of the 1st edition, 883taa = 3rd issue of the 1st edition, 883tab = 4th issue of the first edition, 883tac = 5th issue of the 1st edition, etc. For works published in 2000 or later, add the entire year date, thus: 2002t. If 2 works would otherwise have identical call numbers, add a sequential number at the end, thus: 883t2. When the edition/issue for the book-in-hand cannot be determined, use a "u" (=unknown, then "u2", "u3", etc., if more than one) in place of a letter for the edition or issue. For example, 883tu. (Note: This is more effective for earlier books and may need reconsidering for modern books in the future.)

In the case of translations, the letter appended to the last 3 digits of the years of publication is taken from the first letter of the translator's surname. If the translator is not known, use the first letter of the title.

An exception is made to the normal treatment of the 3d element of the call number in the case of very popular works that went through more editions than there are letters of the alphabet, or when it is not possible to establish the sequence of editions. An example is Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield. For this work, a distinguishing letter (V) is added to the Goldsmith Cutter number, which then becomes G5745V, and the third element of the call number becomes the full publication date of the edition in hand, thus: EC75.G5745V.1768. Small letters of the alphabet distinguish editions published in the same year, thus: 1768b, 1768c, etc.

Sometimes an author attribution will change, or the authorized form of an author's name will be changed to such an extent that the original Cutter number no longer applies. In general, do not reclassify previously classified works or change a previously established Cutter number if more than a few works are involved.

Fourth element

A fourth element is added to the call number when it is necessary to indicate that the library has more than one copy of a work, thus: (A), (B), (C), etc. A fourth element may also be added when it is necessary to analyze part of an individual volume of a work in more than one volume, thus: v.1, v.2, v.3, etc. Facsimiles are classed for the original; the element (facs) is added to distinguish a facsimile edition from the original work.

When distinct titles are issued as a boxed set and Houghton decides at some point to keep them in separate boxes for conservation reasons under the same call number (for ease of discovery and retrieval), attaching volume or part numbers as a fourth element may be misleading; hence, attach numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) at the end of the third element (e.g., 1866a1, 1866a2) of the same call number to designate distinct titles as a set to be kept together on the shelf but no longer reside in the same box.

Size designations

Certain preliminary lower-case letters are to be used before the asterisk and the first letter of the first element of the call number when the size of the book being cataloged falls outside the limits of from 6 to 28 centimeters (top to bottom binding measurement):

f (f AC7)

Used for folio books measuring more than 28 cm.

m (m AC7)

Used for miniature books measuring less than 10 cm.

p (p AC7)

Used for portfolio books measuring more than 46 cm.

Other, less commonly-used designations:


Used for small broadsides.


Added at the end of the call number for items shelved flat.


Used for large portfolios.


Used for large broadsides.

PF Cabinet

Used for items shelved in large metal flat file.

Other location designations may be appended to the call number as necessary to identify a book not shelved by its call number, e.g. Lobby IX.2.6. Such designations are not part of the call number. 


Broadsides require the changing of the second letter of the call number from C to B, thus: AB7

Broadside ballads

Broadside ballads require a double B, thus: EBB7
(These require no second or third elements in the call number, since they are filed alphabetically by title in broadside boxes.)

Serial publications

Serial publications require the changing of the second letter of the call number from C to P, thus: AP7

(The second element of the call number is the Cutter number for the title of the serial; no third element is required.)


Almanacs require the changing of the second letter of the call number from C to P, plus a third
letter A, thus: APA

The second element consists of a letter for the title and a 3-digit Cutter number followed by another letter for a key word later on in the title:

GPA.M973A = Musikalischer Almanach
GPA.M973D = Musikalischer Almanach für Deutschland
GPA.M973O = Musikalischer Almanach für Oesterreich

In cases where a number of almanacs for the same year have been bound together, the second element will be A100, and a third element consisting of the 4-digit year is added, e.g. EPA.A100.1683 for a volume of English almanacs for the year 1683.

It may also be desirable to class yearbooks, keepsakes, and the like in this manner rather than intershelving them with serials.


Volumes containing two or more works bound together should be classed as seems most appropriate, i.e. why did Houghton acquire the volume? Options include: for the first work in the volume, for the most significant work in the volume, for the provenance (i.e. classed as a book from someone's library), or as a binding collection (see under B on next page).