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Penn State University Libraries


Cataloging and Metadata Services
126 Paterno Library
University Park, PA 16802-1808

Staff Directory

Phone: (814) 865-1755
Fax: (814) 863-7293



I. General Instructions

In general, if copy (The CAT, MARC, OCLC, NEWLC, etc.) contains a complete, usable call number, accept it; however, pay particular attention to the exceptions and PSU practices listed in this section. Examine accompanying paperwork carefully for special classification instructions, as well.


II. Shelflisting

See Shelflisting in WorkFlows to read about using the List the Catalog by Call Number helper to shelflist.

When a record has multiple holdings with different call numbers, select the call number you wish to shelflist by clicking on it to highlight it.

Note: When only one or two items have the same class number in The CAT, suspect a problem with the classification. Refer all items with unique class numbers as call number referrals.

Perform a shelflist check each time a new title is added to The CAT. The shelflist ensures that:

Shelflist class together call numbers (those with volume numbering as part of the |b) to check for duplicate call numbers only.

When duplicate call numbers are found after they have been cataloged and shelved, use judgment when determining if the items really need to be re-marked. Duplicate call numbers resulting from errors in classification, cuttering, an incorrect date, etc., should be corrected. Use the Re-mark Request Form for CCL items having duplicate call numbers needing to be fixed.

We will honor requests for re-marking duplicate call numbers and try to avoid inputting them at the cataloging stage, but, because of the cost of re-marking, we may choose not to fix duplicate call numbers we find ourselves if the items can still be found in The CAT without confusion.


A. Duplicate Call Numbers

When two or more non-matching titles share the same base call number that cannot be resolved by the Copy Cataloger (see the Cutter Training Document), make a call number referral. Do not consider the date in the call number to be a distinguishing factor.

PR2976.B7 1968
Ten more plays of Shakespeare / Brooke, Stopford

Shakespeare, 1574-1964 / Brown University


B. Proper Subject Area for Non-literary Works

Subject matter determines the class number (050/090 |a) for non-literary works.

Quickly scan the subject area when shelflisting to avoid any obvious errors. An example would be a book about chemical engineering shelving with items pertaining to biology.

When this situation occurs, leave the Date Cataloged as "NEVER" and make a call number referral if copy with a different call number that shelves correctly cannot be found.


C. Translations

A translation of a work and the original should share the same root call number, so that they shelve together. The call number for the translation will contain a two digit translation cutter at the end of the 050/090|b. This number indicates the language of the translation. Each language has a different code. For example; an English translation will have 13 at the end of the cutter.

DD239.S34 1987

245    10    Goldenen Zwanziger Jahre /|cBarbel Schrader.

DD239.S3413 1987

240    0#    Goldenen Zwanziger Jahre.|lEnglish

245    14    The golden twenties /|cBarbel Schrader.

Item New to The CAT (in any language):

Accept the call number as found in copy.

An Original or Translation Already in The CAT:

When the call number of the item in hand does not match the classification already established in The CAT, or does not contain a translation cutter, make a call number referral.


D. Literary Works

Literary works are identified by a "P" class number, and possibly a lack of subject headings. Original works are arranged by author. When shelflisting, quickly verify that the author's last name files in alphabetical order (we do not question Full LC copy). Authors with numerous works are assigned a separate class number for each work. There will be exceptions, as is the case with pseudonyms, name changes or collections of works by different authors.

Make a call number referral when in doubt.

PS3503.R2733C3       Braun, Wilbur

PS3203.R2736T74     Brautigan, Richard

PS3503.R44R3           Brenholtz, Edwin

Cutter Number (050/090|b) for Main Entry:

Non-literary works classed by subject are usually cuttered by main entry (author or title main entry). The cutter number for the main entry should file in alphabetical sequence with other cutters in that class number (050/090|a), but accept call numbers with minor alphabetical filing errors.

If there are any gross discrepancies, make a call number referral.

Literary works classed by author are usually cuttered by title or uniform title. Exceptions include items given a separate class number for each title and collections of works by one or more authors. These may be cuttered by editor, by a general cutter for collections, such as: A6, or by date, etc. (See Biography cutters and P Class cutters.) Refer apparent cutter errors as call number referrals.

PR6058.O719A6       Collected works / Horwood, William

PR6058.O719D86     Duncton wood / Horwood, William

PR6058.O719S76     Stonor eagles / Horwood, William


III. Dates in Call Numbers

It is Penn State's policy to include the date of publication as the last element for all call numbers, with the exception of "Q" or "F" designations and volume numbering for sets, except for the following categories of items: maps, conferences, reproductions, K classification, J classification and class together call numbers. When in doubt, make a call number referral.


A. New Item

When the call number on copy lacks a date in the call number, add the publication date as the last element of the call number, unless it falls into one of the exception categories. Do not refer.

When copy (especially CIP) contains an incorrect date in the 260, correct the 260, the date in the call number entered in the Call number box on the Vol/Copy record, and check Date1 in the Fixed Fields area and the date in the 240 when present. Do not edit the 050/090.


B. Added Copy

Do not create a new call number with the publication date when adding a copy for the same location. Do add the date for a new location.


IV. Classification Acceptance From Copy

In the sections below, actions taken on the call number are referring to the call number in the Vol/Copy window that we will use for Penn State's holdings, NOT the 050 or 090 found in the bibliographic record. Also, it is not necessary for an 050 or 090 to be present in the bibliographic record.


A. 050 LAW

When the only available classification is LAW, make a call number referral.


B. 050/090 With Improper Punctuation or Missing Subfield Code

Correct the punctuation when creating the call number (e.g., missing/extra decimal). Most spaces should be closed up. Retain the space preceding a date. With the exception of |z preceding voluming in a call number, we do not enter subfield codes in the Call number. Do not correct the 050/090 in the bib record.


C. "a", "b", "c", etc., at the End of a Call Number

The letters "a", "b", "c", etc., are added to the end of a call number to distinguish between different editions of a work published in the same year.

Accept the letter when an edition published in the same year already exists in The CAT without the letter in the call number.

Delete the letter when the item in hand is the first edition of those published in the same year added to The CAT.

See also Editions.


D. "x", "u" or "z" at the End of a Call Number

Call numbers from external sources often contain work marks - a lower case x, and less frequently u or z, at the end of the |b. Delete these letters from the call number when they occur.


E. Alternate Classification

When copy provides an alternate classification number (usually |a only), choose the complete call number.


The complete call number is a class together call number.

The complete call number is a Z classification. See Bibliography Classifications.


F. Bibliography Classifications

Bibliographies often contain the word "bibliography" in the title. Other clues for identification include a Z class number and/or a 6XX containing |vBibliography in the record.

Look at the Z class number in copy and determine which procedure to follow below. When copy lacks a call number, treat as category 2.

  1. Z1-Z4980: Library science, book trade, general bibliography
  2. Accept copy with a Z1-Z4980 range of call numbers. Do not refer.

  3. Z5000-Z8999: Bibliographies of books for special classes of persons, national bibliographies, subject bibliographies and personal bibliographies
    1. New titles
    2. Input the record using a system-generated call number if possible and refer.

    3. Titles already in The CAT
    4. Subsequent volumes and copies should be added if the title was previously referred and a subject call number assigned. If it appears that the title was never referred for a different call number assignment, add your vol/copy and refer.


G. Call Number From an Alternate Source

When copy lacks a usable call number, and edition copy (but not related or translation copy) from The CAT/MARC/OCLC/NEWLC is available with a usable classification, use the edition call number, making sure to adjust the date, for the item in hand without making a referral, as long as both of the following conditions are met. See also Editions.

  • Main entry and title are identical between the two editions.
  • Subjects are identical (exception: literary items, for which subjects are not required).

Always refer when the only call number available is from related copy or a translation.

When in doubt, refer.


H. Call Number Special Instructions on Accompanying Paperwork

Frequently, CCL locations request that a particular call number be used for their location. This information is recorded on the accompanying paperwork for the CCL item (i.e., flier, CRC form, surrogate, etc.). Use their preferred call number, but shelflist carefully to ensure they have provided a complete number. If the call number is incomplete, refer. Another common instruction pertains to the cat. as sep., class together decision. See Class Together Call Numbers.


I. Class Together Call Numbers / Alternate Classifications

The presence of a class together call number with or without a second, or alternate, classification on copy indicates that the book has a series title significant enough to justify all the books in the series being classed together.

050    14    Q11|b.N5 vol. 548 |aQP88.5

Each Library location has the option to class items in this type of series separately or to class them together, depending on their needs. Perform a series search, limiting to the Library location in question, to determine if they have classed items in the series together or not. When the location for the item in hand is not accounted for in The CAT, refer for a decision. When some items for a location are classed together and other items in the same series for the same location are classed separately, contact the Library location for the correct type of call number to use.

Do NOT use class together decisions found in copy unless previously cataloged items indicate that items for the location in hand should be classed together.

Occasionally, a serial record may indicate in an 019 that items are to be cataloged separately as monographs, with some locations using class together call numbers and some classed separately. Pay close attention to location information when found. If there is no mention/evidence of a classification decision, see: 1. below.

When two series are present on the item and each series has items classed together, refer so that a decision can be made on which call number to use.

The designation "vol." is commonly used in 050 class together call numbers. Always use the standard abbreviation v. in the Penn State call number.

  1. Class Together Call Number in Copy
  2. Use a class together call number in copy when it matches what has been used in The CAT previously for items in the series. Penn State uses the standard abbreviations in the call number. See Terms Used in Call Numbers. 050's often contain "vol." Change vol. to v. in the call number and delete the space between the v. and the number. Do NOT change the 050.

    When The CAT does not indicate that a decision has been made on whether or not to class together for the location of the item in hand, refer. If the series is new to The CAT or no location has yet used the class together call number in copy, refer.

  3. Class Together Call Number in The CAT, Not in Copy
  4. Follow the practice previously used for a particular location. When copy contains an 050, retain the 050 but do not replicate it into the call number. When The CAT does not indicate a decision for the location for the item in hand, refer.

  5. Class Separately Decision in The CAT
  6. When copy contains a usable 050/090, use it to create the call number. When copy has only a class together call number and no other copy can be found with a classed separately call number, refer. Don't forget to look for possible edition call numbers that could be used.


J. Dewey Call Numbers in The CAT

When adding an item to a record that has a Dewey call number, do not accept the Dewey call number for the item in hand (with the exception of some Rare Books Room collections). Prefer an LC call number instead. If no LC call number is available, search OCLC, RLIN, etc. for a usable LC call number. Make a call number refferal if none is found. See General Information on Dewey Call Numbers.


K. Editions

  1. Successive Editions
  2. In the past, Penn State's policy was to class successive editions in The CAT together. That policy is no longer valid, and different editions of the same item may have different call numbers. In general, accept the call number from copy without considering previous editions.

    We will accept specific requests to class editions together, but will not do so as a matter of course.

    When processing an item that lacks a call number, use a call number from a different edition if one is available. Add or replace the date in the |b using the publication date of the edition in hand. See also Call Number From an Alternate Source.

  3. More Than One Edition Published in the Same Year, OR, Simultaneous Publications (e.g., U.S. vs. British)
  4. Two or more editions of a work published in the same year, or simultaneous publications, should have the same classification and the same year in the call number. To avoid a duplicate call number, assign a suffix to the call number date. Subsequent call numbers added to The CAT for other editions published in the same year should use "c", "d", etc. as follows:

    1. Monographs with a corporate body main entry
    2. For the first duplicate call number, use the suffix "a" (i.e., 1986a, 1986b, 1986c, etc.)

    3. Monographs with personal author or title main entry
    4. For the first duplicate call number, use the suffix "b" (i.e., 1986b, 1986c, 1986d, etc.)

    Accept the letter when an edition published in the same year already exists in The CAT without the letter in the call number.

    Delete the letter when the item in hand is the first edition added to The CAT.

    See also "a", "b", "c", etc., at the End of a Call Number.


L. LC 050 vs. Penn State Call Number for Added Locations

There are a number of different reasons why the call number used for Penn State holdings may differ from the 050 (e.g., matching previous edition call number, cat as sep, class together situation, bibliography, Education Library Fiction or Picture Book call number, NLM call number used by Hershey, original record lacking a call number replaced, etc.).

In general, unless there is a possible cat as sep, class together situation, use the same call number assigned to the University Park holdings when present. If unsure which call number to use, refer.


M. M Classification

Items classed in M1 - M9999 should be referred to the Music/AV Team. Items with a classification of MA - MZ do not need to be referred.


N. Oversized Monographs

University Park Pattee/Paterno Locations

When measuring an item, always round up (e.g., 32.1 cm. rounds up to 33 cm.).

UP Pattee/Paterno sizing:

Category Height Width
Q (Quarto): 33-42 cm. 37-40 cm.
F (Folio): 43 cm. and over 41 cm. and over

Add a space and the oversized designation Q or F as the last element of the call number for University Park locations when the size of the item falls into the oversize range.


Tag Ind. Contents
050 00 PN1992.77.S73|bW54 1993
300   xi, 433 p. :|bill. ;|c33 cm.
300   xi, 433 pages :|billustrations ;|c33 cm -- [RDA]

UP Call Number:    PN1992.77.S73|bW54 1993 Q

CCL Call Number:   PN1992.77.S73|bW54 1993


  • Do NOT add Q or F to call numbers for juvenile items in the Education & Behavioral Sciences Library.
  • The Special Collections Library and Maps Library use the Branch Library sizing (see below)
  • Note Procedural Change: As of 1/3/2012, cat as sep, class together call numbers WILL have Q or F added as appropriate

Oversize/Folio Item Info: All Oversize/Folio items in Pattee/Paterno, with the exception of Pattee M, N, and TR, should be assigned specific oversize/folio Home Locations. See the Home Location/Marking Description List page for a complete list. The Library should be UP-PAT. The Item type should be BOOK. Material does circulate.

Items requiring binding must be considered Oversized if they measure 1 cm. less than the standard Oversize or Folio measurements as the binding will add to their size (i.e., 32-42cm H, 36-40cm. W for Quarto and 42cm. and up H, 40 cm. and up W for Folio).

Sets with volumes of differing sizes that are cataloged on the same set record should be shelved together. Even if only one volume is considered Oversize or Folio, all volumes in that set should be marked with a Q or F as appropriate and put in the proper Oversize/Folio home location, with the exceptions noted above for Pattee M, N, and TR. All volumes should be shelved with the largest volume. For example, if a three volume set were to consist of one regular sized book, one oversized book, and one folio book, all of them should have an "F" added to the call number and be placed in the appropriate folio home location.

Special Collections Library, Maps Library and University Park Branch Libraries except for Architecture

An item is oversized when it measures 31 cm. or more in height or width. When measuring an item, always round up (e.g., 30.1 cm. rounds up to 31 cm.). See below for exceptions.

Q (Quarto):     31-41 cm.

F (Folio):         42 cm. and over

Items requiring binding should have Q or F added to the call numbers if they are 30-41 cm. (Q) or 41 cm. and over (F).


  • Do NOT add Q or F to Cat as sep, class together call numbers.
Pattee Map Locations Variation

For all Pattee Map Collection locations, assign F to any item 36 cm. and over in width. Rules for height are the same for all locations.

Architecture Library

Oversized measurements are 29-41 cm. due to compact shelving size, or 28-41 cm. for paperback items requiring binding.

CCL Locations

DO NOT USE the oversize symbols for CCL locations with the exception of Fayette N... class call numbers.


O. PZ Call Numbers

PZ1 - PZ4 classification is not used by Penn State. If the only usable call number occurs in this range, refer.

PZ5 - PZ10.3 classification can be used for juvenile books only, with the exception of PZ8.7 through PZ10 (including PZ8.7, PZ8.9, PZ9, and PZ10), which must be referred. See Juvenile Books documentation.

Some CCL Libraries use PZ call numbers for juvenile fiction. Accept PZ call numbers classed from PZ5 to PZ10.3 with the exceptions listed above. The Education & Behavioral Sciences Library has more exceptions and employs a unique free format call number for its fiction and picture book items. See the chart below.

PZ call numbers contain lower case letters. It is important to make a clear distinction between lower and upper case letters when writing down PZ call numbers.

Example:   PZ7.H7325Se 1990

Lehigh Valley uses a lowercase "j" at the end of the call number to distinguish books in its juvenile collections. Append the letter "j" to the call number, preceded by a space.

Example:   PZ7.H7325Se 1990 j

PZ Classification Table -- E&BS Library
Range Action
PZ5 Accept classification.
PZ6 Do not accept. Refer for reclassification.
PZ7 Assign appropriate free-form call number (except for Alphabet and Counting Books).
PZ8-PZ8.3 Assign appropriate free-form call number, with exceptions
PZ8.7-PZ10 Do not accept. Refer for reclassification.
PZ10.3 Accept classification.

See Education & Behavioral Sciences Library Juvenile Books documentation for more information regarding this workflow.


P. Triple Cutters

A triple cutter appears in this call number:

PG231.13    [1].E45    [2]G6    [3]Z89

Make a call number referral when the only available call number has a triple cutter. The triple cutter appears most frequently for German titles. The cataloger should NOT use the call number by omitting the last cutter because the last cutter must be converted into a digit according to a schedule.

Triple cutters are used legitimately for certain items (such as Soil Surveys).