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Research Guide: Books

Advice for getting started on a research project.

Finding Books on the Shelf

You may already have heard of the Dewey Decimal System.  Most high school and public libraries use this system to put the non-fiction books in order by subject.  For fiction, the books are arranged by author's last name, then title.  Things work a little differently in KCTCS libraries.  We use the LC (Library of Congress) Classification System to arrange books on the shelf.  Instead of using numbers, like Dewey Decimal System, LC uses a combination of letters and numbers.  The information on the spine of a book used to find it on the shelf is called a call number.

For example, the book How the Internet Happened has a Dewey call number (004.678 MCCU) and an LC call number (TK5105.875.I57 M381554 2018)

Dewey has 10 different classes, arranged in numeric order.  LC has 21 different classes arranged first in alphabetical order by class, then by number.

Dewey Decimal Classification


Computer science, information & general works


Philosophy & psychology




Social sciences








Arts & recreation




History & geography


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LC Classification

A General Works 
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
C Auxiliary Sciences of History
D World History and History of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc
E History of the Americas
F History of the Americas
G Geography, Anthropology, and Recreation
H Social Sciences
J Political Science
K Law
L Education
M Music
N Fine Arts
P Language and Literature
Q Science
R Medicine
S Agriculture
T Technology
U Military Science
V Naval Science
Z Bibliography, Library Science, and General Information Resources