Books can give you an overview or working knowledge of your topic, or they can provide a depth of coverage on a specific subject that cannot be matched anywhere else.
Libraries use something called a Classification System to arrange books on the shelves so that titles on the same subject are shelved together. The UTAS Library uses the Library of Congress system, while most public and school libraries use the Dewey Decimal system.
All library classification systems use Call Numbers to tell you where to find a book, journal, or CD/DVD on the Library shelves.
On the screen, LC call numbers look like this: JZ 1318 .M36 2010
On the spine of a book they look like this:
Each call number starts with a letter code for a broad subject area, then each line narrows the focus until you have a unique number for each title. It's a bit like looking for a street address in a city - you need to know the suburb, the street, and the house number:
.M36 House number
How to find books on the shelves (PDF 239KB) - learn how to read a call number line by line.