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Introduction to the Family History Library Catalog > Call Number Search
Do a Call Number Search if you know an item’s call number and want to find out what the item contains. To find items that are located near each other on the library’s shelves, type the first few characters of the call number.
CD-ROMs and maps are also located by using a call number search.
If you know a microfilm or microfiche number, use a Film/Fiche Search, not a Call Number Search.
Steps to Search by Call Number
- Go to www.familysearch.org.
- Click the Family History Library Catalog link under the heading Search Genealogy Records & Library.
- Click Call Number Search.
- Type a Call numbers (see note above).
- Click Search.
- A list of titles will appear.
- Click on a title for more information about that book.
- Look for View Film Notes to see if a book is available on film or fiche.
Strategies for Using the Call Number Search
Books and other printed materials have call numbers. Often, materials about similar topics have similar call numbers.
On a book’s label, call numbers are usually printed on two or more lines. If a call number has more than two lines, you need to type only the first one or two lines. The lines after that indicate versions and copies of the same work. For example, a book label might look like this:
To find items that are located near each other on the library’s shelves, type the first few characters of the call number.
To include both lines of the call number in your search, type a space between the top line and the bottom line. For example, to find the above call number, type 946.63 D2b.
Unlike other searches, a Call Number Search is case sensitive. Type upper- and lowercase letters exactly as they should appear on the label.
CD-ROMs can be located by typing CD-ROM no. and then the number. Again, the Call Number search is case sensitive. CD-ROM must be in all caps and no. must be lower case. A space must be between CD-ROM and no. A space also needs to be between no. and the number of the CD. To see a list of all CDs, enter only CD-ROM no.
Note: If you know a microfilm or microfiche number, use a Film/Fiche Search, not a Call Number Search.
How Do I Understand the Results of a Call Number Search?
A Call Number Search results in a list of catalog entries and call numbers that match the call number you typed. The more of the call number you type, the shorter the list will be.
To sort the list of results by title or author, click the buttons at the bottom of the screen.
How Does the Catalog Use Call Numbers?
In the Family History Library Catalog, the term "call number" refers specifically to books, maps, periodicals, and other printed materials. The identification numbers for microfilms and microfiche are called microfilm numbers and microfiche numbers.
Call numbers are based on the Dewey Decimal Classification. The Family History Library uses a modification of the Dewey Decimal Classification for items about a place or for records from a place.
For example, in the call number 944.22 R2s, the 944.22 represents the Calvados department of France, the R2 indicates that the topic is land and property, and the s separates this item from other items about the same topic.
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