The Sir Duncan Rice Library has an enormous collection of books, with over 400,000 items on the shelves. Have you, though, checked Primo, the portal to all our resources, and not been sure where to go next to find the particular book you want on the shelves? Well, read on to learn how to locate the titles you want to read on our miles of shelving.
The Shelf Mark (sometimes called the Call Number) is the information you need from Primo to locate titles on the shelves and for any book this will be a number between 0 and 999, followed by 3 letters which are usually the first three letters of the author’s surname. The letters are included so that books on the same subject can then be arranged alphabetically.
Take this book for example: Introduction to logic by Irving M. Copi. It has the shelf mark, or call number, of 160 Cop, where 160 is the number for the subject of Logic and Cop is the first three letters of the author’s surname. Quite a simple system really.
The book sequence starts with 000 (computer science, knowledge and systems) on floor 7 and the numbers increase as you descend down the floors, with the last book shelved at 999 (history of miscellaneous countries) on floor 3. Here is a general indication of the shelf marks for each of our subject floors:
- Floor 3 – Shelf Marks between 900 and 999
- Floor 4 – Shelf Marks between 700 and 899
- Floor 5 – Shelf Marks between 400 and 699
- Floor 6 – Shelf Marks between 300 and 399
- Floor 7 – Shelf Marks between 000 and 299
In addition to the main borrowable collections each floor contains Reference collections and Folio Collections. Reference books are located at the start of each floor’s sequence and Folios, or oversized books, are shelved separately at the end of the sequence on each floor. Between the Reference and Folio Collections are the main books available for borrowing. Some floors also contain other materials available for borrowing. See below for further details of each floors’ items and the sequence in which they are arranged:
Floor 3 Reference Items: Ref 900 – Ref 999 Main Collection: 900 – 999 Folios: f900 – f999
Floor 4 Reference Items: Ref 700 – Ref 899 CD-ROMs
Main collection: 700 – 779
Collections of Scores
Music Scores Main Collection: 780 – 899
Folios: f700 – f899
Floor 5 Reference items: Ref 400 – Ref 699
Sc Collection*: Shelf Marks Sc 001 – Sc 999
Main Collection: Shelf marks 400-699
Folios – Sc Collection: f Sc 001- f Sc 999
Folios – Main Collection: f400 – f699
* The Sc Collection is the History and Philosophy of Science Collection
Floor 6 Reference Items: Ref 300 – Ref 399 Main Collection: 300 – 399 Folios: f300 – f399 The Teaching Resource Collection (TRC) is also on Floor 6 and is shelved in a separate room in the south-east corner of the floor.
Floor 7 Reference items: Ref 001 – Ref 299
Main collection: 001-299)
Folios: f001 – f299
To help you get your bearings on our subject floors keep in mind that the sequence on each floor starts with the first set of shelves (or bays) on the far left as you exit the lifts. This is the side of the library nearest to the sea. This first bay will contain the Reference items for that particular floor, and the main borrowable collection will follow directly after. The bays will continue in sequence, row by row towards the opposite side of the floor. This is repeated for each set of bays as they cross the floor, to the side furthest from the sea. See the image below for the general idea of the direction in which books are shelved in The Sir Duncan Rice Library. Each floor is slightly different but the same principle applies on each of the floors.
The shelf marks for each bay are indicated with a notice on the end of each of them i.e 650.01 Cow – 658.049 Tro. All shelf marks between these numbers will be found in that bay. The sequence starts on the top-left-hand shelf and the numbers will read from left to right across each shelf and down onto the next. They then move to the next set of shelves and continue in this way until you reach the end of that bay.
Hopefully the information above will make things clearer for you as you look for books in The Sir Duncan Rice Library, and remember that if you are ever having difficulty locating any books on our shelves our staff are here to help you. Happy searching but also don’t forget that being lost in the shelves can often lead to you discovering a wonderful book you didn’t even know you wanted to read: serendipity can be a wonderful thing.
Further details on where books are shelved can be found in this Library Guide: