Finding Information in the Rettner EPS Library

Books in the EPS Library are arranged on the shelves according to their Library of Congress classification number.

What is a Library of Congress classification number?

Here is an example of a Library of Congress call number:
QE Subject area for the book
515 Number for a more specific subdivision of the subject area
N 67 Number for the main entry (individual book)
1994 Publication date
How do I use this number to find a book? In the stacks, books are arranged first by the letters of the subject area designation in alphabetical order:
GB 1092
W 19
QC 481
B 53
QE 515
N 67
TN 269
G 732
Books with the same subject area designation are then arranged by the designation for the subject subdivision in numerical order:
QE 294
T 38
QE 501
L 34
QE 515
N 67
QE 728
C 2
Books with subdivision designations containing decimals are arranged by the numbers following the decimal point in decimal order:
QE 515
N 67
QE 515.2
W 18
QE 515.24
F 59
QE 515.3
I 23
Books with the same subject area and subdivision designations are then arranged by the main entry designation, with the numbers arranged in decimal order:
QE 515
B 25
QE 515
N 555
QE 515
QE 515
N 7

Finding special types of books

The following types of books may be shelved separately from those in the main stacks:

Oversized books (designated by the symbol 4o at the end of the call number). Example:

QE 525
T 48

Reference books, which may only be used in the library, are identified by the designation REF at the beginning of the call number. Example:

Z 675
U 5
R 76

Reserve books are arranged by EPS Department course number. These books are identified by the round sticker on the spine which indicates the course number. Reserves policies and Renewal procedures

Printed maps in the EPS Library are for library use only and are mostly housed in map cases. Various types of maps are available; most of our maps are published by the government and issued to libraries as a part of the Depository Library Program. They are issued by the United States Geological Survey and you can consult the USGS National Mapping Information to learn more. A brief listing of some of the more common types of maps found in the library is given below; please remember that maps are for library use only.

Topographic maps are the most common type of map; they show topography and relief of a particular area of land. These maps normally cover a single 7.5′ by 7.5′ quadrangle (scale of 1:24,000), but 7.5′ by 15′ (1:25,000), 15′ quadrangle (1:62,500), and selected county maps are also available. Note: most but not all of the conterminous United States is covered by 7.5′ quad maps; in some cases coverage is provided only by 15′ quadrangles. USGS catalogs are available to determine what types of map coverage are available for what localities. Please consult a librarian if you have any questions.

The library houses a complete collection of topographic maps from the U.S. Geological Survey. Maps published by the government after 1976 are listed in the online catalog.

Topographic-bathymetric maps are available for certain quadrangles that include lake or ocean coastline; in addition to showing elevation contours and terrain features on land, these maps show depth contours of water-covered areas.

Base maps provide information only about political boundaries and major physical and cultural features.

Geologic maps depict the various geologic provinces and stratigraphic facies on an area; these maps usually show either countries or individual states.

Other kinds of maps are also available: base maps from the Defense Mapping Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, city and state road map series from Rand McNally, orthophotoquad and satellite image maps, and a wide variety of maps and atlases showing information on mineral resources, water resources, land use, and demographics. Please ask for assistance in finding a map.

Honors theses, master’s theses, and doctoral dissertations written by students of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences from 1918 to the present are shelved in the library. Please ask for assistance in retrieving a thesis. Theses are arranged in alphabetical order by author. A list of theses is available; it can be searched by author, subject, geographic area, or year. Please note that theses are for library use only; a thesis can circulate only if there are multiple copies available in the Olin library system.

State documents in the EPS Library are shelved in order by Library of Congress call number; the call number for all state documents begins with QE2 and contains a series of additional codes which are explained below.

Here is an example of a state document:

Caves of New Jersey

And here is its call number:

QE2 N5.G2:70

What does this number mean?
QE2 simply indicates that this is a state document.
N5 indicates the first letter and alphabetical ranking of the state of issue, in this case New Jersey.
G2 indicates the specific type of document, in this case a bulletin of the New Jersey Geological Survey. Note: a listing of these document-types is available for each state; please consult the librarian.
70 simply indicates the number of the specific document. In this case the document is New Jersey Geological Survey Bulletin 70.

How do I find this document on the shelf?

State documents are first arranged by state code, in alphabetical and then numerical order.

QE2 I2.G9S: 1
is shelved before
QE2 N5.G2: 70

State documents from a given state are then arranged according to the document-type code, in alphabetical and then numerical order.

QE2 N5.G2: 70
is shelved before
QE2 N5.G4: 3

State documents of a given type are then arranged in order according to document number.

QE2 N5.G4: 43
is shelved before
QE2 N5.G4: 70

US Department of the Interior

Maps (Government Documents – I 19: Geological Survey)

State Geological Survey Publications

Government documents in the EPS Library are arranged according to their Superintendent of Documents Classification Number.

What is a Superintendent of Documents Classification Number?

A Superintendent of Documents number is a unique number used to identify each and every publication issued by the federal government. This number is not used to identify or separate government documents according to subject area, but it does indicate the issuing government agency as well as other pertinent information about the document.

Here is the title of a sample government document:

Mining and Mineral Operations in the South-Central States

And here is its Superintendent of Documents Classification Number:

I 28.16 /2: M 66 /7

This number gives us the following information about the document:
I tells us what government agency issued the document. In this case it is the Department of the Interior.
28 tells us what specific office or bureau within this agency issued the document. In this case it stands for the Bureau of Mines.
.16 tells us what type of document this is. In this case the document is a handbook.
/2 gives us further information about the type of document. Here the /2 means that the document is part of the series entitled “Mining and Mineral Operations.”
M simply indicates that the first word of the document’s title begins with M.
66 tells us that this is the 66th document of its type whose title’s first word begins with M.
/7 tells us that this document is the 7th volume of a series, in this case “Mining and Mineral Operations.”

How do I use this number to find a document on the shelf?

Government documents are shelved in order, first by the letter code of the issuing agency:

D 103.42 /5: CERC 94-3
is shelved before
I 28.16 /2: M 66 /7

Documents issued by the same agency are shelved in order of the numerical code indicating the specific office or bureau of issue, in numerical order:

I 19.3: 1538-R
is shelved before
I 28.16 /2: M 66 /7

Documents issued by the same office or bureau are shelved according to the code for the type of document, in numerical order:

I 28.16 /2: M 66 /7
is shelved before
I 28.23: 9466

Documents of the same general type are then shelved by the special document-type code following the slash (if this code is present), in numerical order:

I 28.16 /2: M 66 /7
is shelved before
I 28.16 /3: H #1

Documents of exactly the same type will all have the same series of codes preceding the colon. They will then be shelved by the first letter of the first word of the title:

I 28.16 /2: M 66 /7
is shelved before
I 28.16 /2: Q 3

If the first letter of the first word of the title is the same, then the documents are shelved by the number indicating the order of publication, in numerical order:

I 28.16 /2: M 9
is shelved before
I 28.16 /2: M 66 /

Finally, the given volumes of a title (if there are in fact multiple volumes) are shelved by volume number.

I 28.16 /2: M 66 /3
is shelved before
I 28.16 /2: M 66 /7