Library Subject Guides

Chemistry: Books and eBooks

What Are Call Numbers?

Call numbers explained

High Demand

Textbooks and recommended readings are often put on short-term loan in the High Demand collection.

Search for your course code:


If you cannot find it at UC Library or online, request an Interloan and we will get it for you from another library. There is no charge for this service

Google Books

A good way to find out whether the details you seek are located in a book. Search previews of books and some full text of out-of-copyright titles; search terms are highlighted in results.

Google Book Search

Finding ebooks

  • Most ebooks can be found by a normal search in the Library Catalogue , or via MultiSearch , and are identified with an electronic book icon

  • Use the search box to find ebooks by subject (the correct options are already chosen: refine your search – “Items with full text online” and Content Type – “Book / eBook”)

Vital Source ebooks

As Vital Source ebooks have limited ‘seats’ (simultaneous readers) and automatically issue for 24 hours, please Return the ebook once you have finished your reading session

  • Click the ebook link and if requrired login with your normal UC username and password
  • Click the Activate button
  • Click the Launch button
    • The book launches in a separate tab in your browser for you to read.
  • When you have finished your reading session
    • Close the tab where you are reading your book (do not close your browser yet)
      Close reading tab
    • The “Bridge” tab appears: Click the Return Now button and then Return
      Return Now button
    • You can now close that tab or your browser

Library of Congress Classification for Chemistry

Call Numbers Explained

Find a Book on the Shelf

To find a book on the Library shelves you will need to know its call number. Call numbers are printed on the spine of the book and are also listed in the Library Catalogue. They tell you where the book is located in the library.

The University of Canterbury library, like most academic libraries, uses the Library of Congress Classification system. In this system, the call numbers start with letters of the alphabet.

  • The first letter refers to the subject area, e.g. Q – Science
  • Sometimes another letter is added to refer to a more specific aspect of the subject, e.g. QD – Chemistry

Reading Call Numbers: Library of Congress Classification System

Read the call number line by line:

  • Read the first line in alphabetical order.
  • The first set of numbers that follow are read as whole numbers and are arranged numerically on the shelves.


This diagram explains how Library of Congress call numbers work on the library shelves:


Call Numbers

(This image was produced by librarians at the University of Maryland Libraries (User Education Services), College Park, MD.)

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