Bielefeld University Library

Finding Resources


In our departmental libraries books dealing with the same subject matter are shelved together. This is called "systematic" arrangement.

Each book bears a call number which consists of letters and ciphers. This code represents the textual affiliation to a subject and thus the position on the shelf.

Call numbers

The photo on the right shows a book with call number GA079 H2G3I .
The structure of the call number is as follows:

  • The first two characters (GA) indicate the subject. GA represents i.a. the code for "General works" in the subject area "Earth Sciences".
  • The next three characters (079) indicate the subdivision. 079 represents "Encyclopaedias, Textbooks".
  • The last part of the call number is composed by the initial letter of the author's last name or the title (here H for Handbook) and a code which supports the alphabetic sorting.
  • White call number labels on the spine mean that these items circulate, yellow labelled ones do not.

To find out where the subjects and call number areas are located you can use the local Site map of the departmental libraries or consult the website displaying the Site Map of the Departmental Libraries.

Browsing the shelf

There are several ways to seek and find a book in the library.

You can search the classification to find out where the subject area is located and then browse the shelves for suitable literature. Nevertheless, it is advisable to search the library catalogue first as books of the same subject are not necessarily located at one place or specific books might have been placed e.g. on course reserve or in a textbook collection or even are on loan. Only a search query in the library catalogue provides this information.

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