Frequently Asked Questions


What services does the Cataloging Department provide?

The Cataloging Department is responsible for helping the Cornette Library serve its dual mission of providing access to information resources for the University community and acting as a cultural and intellectual resource for the region by:

What is an access point?

An access point can be a code, name, word or phrase used to search or retrieve bibliographic records from the library catalog. Examples of access points include ISBN (International Standard Book Number) codes, geographic names such as Texas, and phrases such as computer literacy.

Why does the Cornette Library use Library of Congress Classification rather than the Dewey Decimal Classification System?

The Cornette Library uses Library of Congress Classification (LCC) rather than the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system due to LCC's overall academic orientation. Each classification schedule has been developed and continues to evolve under a group of subject specialists. In addition, libraries using LCC found that it was more efficient in their cataloging operations to simply accept LCC call numbers on cataloging records that had originated from the Library of Congress.

How do you interpret an LC (Library of Congress) call number?

Library of Congress call numbers are alphanumeric notations (a combination of letters and numbers) that contain main classes, subclasses, further subdivisions, and Cutter numbers. Main classes are represented by a single capital letter, subclasses are formulated by two capital letters, subdivisions are recorded using arabic numbers from 1 to 9999, and Cutter numbers are alphanumeric strings used to separate individual works on the same subject. For example:

Title: Perspectives in nutrition (4th Ed.) by Gordon M. Wardlaw.

Call Number Interpretation
QP Nutrition (main class [Q] and subclass [QP])
141 General works, treatises, and textbooks (subdivision)
.W38 Cutter number formulated by author's last name
1999 Publication or copyright date of work

How are the terms used in LC (Library of Congress) subject headings determined?

In the construction of subject headings, the Library of Congress takes into consideration user needs, current usage, and "literary warrant." In an attempt to meet user needs, the Library of Congress makes the following assumptions in the formulation of subject headings: that subject headings allow the patron to locate an item of which the subject is known and that subject headings allow the user to find what the library has on a particular subject. To ascertain the current usage aspect of subject heading construction, reference works such as general indexes and thesauri are consulted, as well as current literature in the specific field. The concept "literary warrant" refers to the literature on which the subject headings are based. In other words, subject terms used in works taken from the library's own collection are in turn, used in the formulation of subject headings.

Why are works on the same subject, such as Texas, located in several places throughout the library collection?

Within classification systems, such as the Library of Congress, the overriding principle is to organize information by academic discipline (fields of knowledge) rather than by subject. As a result, the same topic could conceivably be located in many different areas of the collection. For example, a book on Texas could be classed in law, medicine, or history. How a topic is viewed within a discipline then, as well as the individual author's approach or perspective, can determine where a book is located (classed) within the library collection.

What is the difference between a monograph and a serial?

A serial is a publication produced in any format which is issued in successive parts (each part possessing a chronological or numeric designation) and is intended to be published indefinitely. In contrast, a monograph is an item consisting of one part or parts where publication is considered to be completed with a finite number of parts. An example of a serial is a periodical, newspaper, journal, or annual. The definition of a serial is currently undergoing some revision in the library community with the introduction of e-journals (electronic journals).

What is an ISBN and ISSN?

An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number and an ISSN is an International Standard Serial Number. Both numbers function as a unique identifier for individual monograph and serial titles.