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Finding Books in the Library

Shelfmarks are assigned to books to enable you to locate them on the Library shelves once to find them in Stella Search. You will see a white shelfmark label attached to the cover of each book, and each book has a unique address.

Guide to locating books in the Library (PDF 334KB)

Our goal is to group together:

  • Books on a similar subject, published in the same year
  • Multiple copies of the same title
  • Multiple editions of the same work
  • Works about/by particular writers (Religion, Philosophy, Literature, Politics)
  • Works about/by particular artists and composers

Shelfmarks consist of a combination of meaningful parts. Not every book will have all the parts listed, however.

  • A prefix, such as LEN for undergraduate lending
  • A Dewey Decimal classification number representing the subject
  • A letter and number representing the year of publication
  • An edition statement
  • A volume number for a multipart series, parts or supplements
  • An item number
  • Letters representing the author/artist's name. Some also have numbers representing a specific work

Here's that in action:

New perspectives on "Dubliners", edited by Mary Power and Ulrich Schneider. Shelfmark is HIB 828.912 JOY:4g N7.

Example

How do I find a specific book?

Imagine we want to find the book at 610.7301 P75*4, Conceptual foundations: the bridge to professional nursing practice, by Joan L. Creasia and Barbara J. Parker, 5th edition.

First, find on which floor of which library building the irem is located. Do this by finding the subject area Dewey Decimal number range using the posters displayed around the Library, the handy guide available at the Library Service Counter, or by consulting the Maps and Floorplans webpage.

Our book's shelfmark falls in the range 610.73 - 610.73698 for nursing books, located in the Ussher basement and in the John Stearne Medical Library. In Stella, it told us this particular book is in the Ussher Library.

At the shelves:

First find the Dewey number…. Next look for the letter…. And finally the running number

There are three items at this shelfmark:

  • 610.7301 P75
  • 610.7301 P75;1
  • 610.7301 P75*4 - this is the book we want

The first item, 610.7301 P75, was published in 2007. The letter P is used for books we first received a copy of between 2000 and 2009 (R will appear for books first received between 2010 and 2019) and the 7 narrows it down to a publication date of 2007.

There is also a second copy of this edition at 610.7301 P75;1. We use semicolons followed by a running number to denote extra copies.

The third item, 610.7301 P75*4, is the 5th edition copy we are trying to find. We use asterisks followed by a number to denote editions. The first edition published does not get an edition number in our shelfmarks, so if we had received every edition the 2nd edition would be *1 and so on, with the 5th edition *4 as here. However, the first version we received was the 4th edition, and we don't give the first edition we receive an edition number either. This is why the 4th edition in this case is 610.7301 P75, rather than 610.7301 P75*3 as it would have been if we had received every previous edition..

Using the shelfmark to search in Stella

  • You can use the Dewey number to browse the list of books on a particular subject
  • You can also keyword search to look for a specific known shelfmark