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How to use the Library Catalogue and Understanding Shelfmarks: Finding your Book @ the Library

A guide to using the library catalogue and finding books on the shelves using the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme.

Finding the RIGHT book on the shelves

Using the title 'Media law for journalists' by Ursula Smartt as an example, on the item detail page (displayed below) you can:

  • click to expand the Location line. There will be an expandable line for each location where a copy of the item is held, i.e. Kimberlin, Law Library, Short Loan or Electronic Resource if it is an E-book etc. You can find a list of all the locations you may see displayed here.
  • make a note of the full Shelfmark (sometimes referred to as a class number or class mark). This is made up of a Dewey Decimal Classification number and a sequence of letters known as the filing suffix. To find out more about how the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme works, click here. Always make a note of the letters after the Dewey number. From time to time you may see some letters or words in front of the Shelfmark. This is because the Kimberlin Library has some separate collections as well as the main sequence of books, such as Video or Pamphlet. You can find a list of the other sequences you may see displayed here.
  • check the Status column to make sure a copy is available, or see when a copy is due to be returned.

Tips: An e-book or e-journal will have a  link, while a streamed media item (television programme or film) will have a link. If the item location line says Please Ask, please visit a library information help desk to check the details of the item.

Putting all these elements together, you are now ready to go to the shelves to look for your book. The main sequence of books at the Kimberlin Library runs from Shelfmark 000-371.999 on the First Floor to 372-999 on the Second Floor, so in this instance you need to go to the First Floor.

Tip: You can get a general idea of which shelves to start searching by the guide numbers displayed on the end of each bay.

Now start scanning the shelf until you find numbers matching the one you need, then locate the specific book you are looking for by the letters. 

Tip: If you cannot locate the book you are looking for on the shelf but copies should be available, check the end of the previous shelf or the beginning of the next shelf. If the book still cannot be located, please ask a member of library staff for assistance.