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Library Subject Guides

Philosophy: 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

Books and Ebooks via MultiSearch


Print Books

The main philosophy sections in the Central Library are on Level 11, at B–BD, BH and BJ.

  • Philosophy is related to many other subjects, so philosophy books are also located with those subjects. For example, political philosophy is mainly classified with political science at JC, on Level 8.
  • The Library of Congress classification system is used to organise the books. Each Library book has a call number showing where it is located, which can be found by on its Library catalogue record.
  • Textbooks and recommended readings for particular courses are placed on High Demand by lecturers and located in the Self-Loan Area on Level 2. To see the list for a particular course:
    • Enter the course code into the course code search box in the library catalogue
    • Or refer to the course page in AKO | LEARN.

Ebooks via MultiSearch

  • Since 2024 the library catalogue only includes books and ebooks purchased by UC Library. It omits hundreds of thousands of ebook titles ‘leased’ through library subscriptions, which are listed on MultiSearch. The library catalogue has more functional search and sorting capabilities than MultiSearch, all the same.

Browse Print Books on the Library Catalogue

To browse Philosophy books by subject in the catalogue

Good starting points for beginners to philosophy are introductory works

Subject Categories for Philosophy

Click a main heading or scroll down

Philosophy (general): B (Level 11)

History and systems of philosophy

Modern philosophy and philosophers by nationality: B 850–

Logic: BC (Level 11)

Speculative philosophy: BD (Level 11)

Aesthetics: BH (Level 11)

Ethics: BJ (Level 11)

  Other philosophy and ethics-related classifications

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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