How do you find a book on the shelf?

A call number is used to locate the item within the library. QUT uses Dewey Decimal call numbers. The Law Library uses Moys (Dewey version). In practical terms, this means that the Law Library can organise their collection of materials into a Primary Collection (cases and legislation) ordered by jurisdiction and a Secondary Collection (containing commentary). As a result, if an item is held at the Law Library and another branch library, the law library call number will look different

All parts of a call number, including spaces and slashes, must be recorded if you are to find the item.

An example record:

callnumber in catalogue

The item location indicates the collection the book belongs to. Where the item location is the same as the campus name, this means the book is part of the “general collection” and available for standard loan. Click on the item location to find out more.

call number


 Call number sorting.

Drag the books from the top to the bottom row, placing them into the correct call number order.







How did you do? The following details may help you better locate items on the shelf. First, view this video to recap the steps to finding a book and then learn more about the meaning of call numbers.

The parts of a call number

call number parts

Essentially, a call number consists of two main parts, separated by a space. Depending on the item, extra elements may be added to these main parts to make the entire sequence unique.

parts of a call number

Dewey Decimal number

  • The number before the first space in the sequence
  • Ensures books on the same subject are shelved together
  • Can be a whole number, or a number with a decimal place
  • Sometimes prefixed with the letter A for Australian material
  • Sometimes followed by an alphabetic sequence

Item Number

  • The next number in the sequence following a space
  • Always a whole number
  • A unique number given to items with the same dewey number
  • Sometimes followed by an edition statement