Looking for the R call number?

If you’ve been in the regular book stacks looking for the R’s, you don’t have to look any further. There are none or rather, there are very few—maybe six or so— that are still checked out or lost. The books that had R call numbers have been reclassed, as we say, to their proper classifications within the NLM call number system which is used by Ebling and many other medical libraries.

NLM stands for National Library of Medicine and the classification system was first implemented in 1948. As medical technologies and specialties develop complexity or become obsolete, the classification scheme is revised. The NLM Classification uses the letters QS – QZ and W – WZ for medicine and its allied sciences. Non-medically specific subjects are still classed according to the Library of Congress Classification system which is used by the General Library System. A few libraries on campus also use the Dewey Decimal system.

On September 17th, the last R on the shelf was reclassed. Thanks to the Information Resources Unit student staff, cataloging staff, and processing staff, over 8,000 items in the R’s were reclassed, relabeled, rebound if necessary, and sent for shelving. Duplicate copies were withdrawn and sent to the book sale. Other materials already in the NLM classification also received new call numbers, if needed, to place editions next to each other on the shelf.

The IR staff isn’t finished reclassing our materials. There are still R’s in the vault and with the revisions to the NLM scheme, some of the existing items need to have their call numbers corrected. But the largest part of the project is complete.