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What are Literature Numbers?

Literary authors have call numbers that vary slightly from the standard four part call number. These are often referred to as "lit numbers." These lit numbers are used to keep all the works by one author in one place. This is done by adding an additional cutter number (see How do Call Numbers Work?) to create a five part call number. A typical lit number would look like this:


Literary call numbers are designed to arrange the books on the shelf in groupings by language, home country of the author, period of the author's activity, and the author's last name. Thus the above number, if we looked for it on the shelf, would be found in the American authors (PS) who wrote after 1960 and whose last names begin with "R" (3568).

The first cutter number indicates that the second letter of the author's name is "I". The first cutter number in lit numbers is very important. Each author should have one and only one cutter assigned to his or her works unless he or she wrote in more than one language. In the case above, the cutter number .I265 has been assigned to Anne Rice. Every fiction book by Anne Rice should have a call number which begins with exactly the same first three lines.

The second cutter number (fourth line) is for the title of the book, in this case "Interview with the vampire." Again, each title by the author should have a unique cutter number, so every edition of "Interview with the vampire" should be the same through the fourth line.

The final line indicates that this book would be a 1994 edition of the book.

Certain section of the art call numbers (the "N" call numbers) are also set up in this fashion, so that works by or about the same artist all sit together on the shelf.