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Finding non-fiction

Non-fiction books in the Somerville Library are shelved on the middle floor.  We use the Dewey Decimal System to organise them.  This classification system arranges books by subject.  Each book is given a shelfmark, or class number, which is displayed on the spine of the book.  The books are shelved in numerical order.  This makes it easy to find the book you need.

The first three digits indicate the general subject area.  The digits after the decimal point indicate the subsection.  This helps you find books on specific subjects.
Every subject falls into one of the ten broad categories:

000         General Information

100         Philosophy, Ethics and related disciplines

200         Religion

300         Social Sciences

400         Language

500         Pure Sciences

600         Technology and Applied Sciences

700         The Arts and Sport

800         Literature

900         Geography and History

These are divided into subcategories so that the classification becomes more specific.  For example, 940 is General European History, 942 is British History, 942.08 is Victorian History and 942.085 is the Suffragette Movement.

Use the Library Catalogue to search for books.  This will give you the class numbers for non-fiction items.  Ask the Librarians if you need help.

Want to know more?  Our Librarians recommended Newcastle University Library’s introduction to the Dewey Decimal System.

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