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CE 4390: Civil Engineering Design: Finding Books

Finding Books in Civil Engineering

The main call number range for Civil Engineering is TA 1-2040, but there are many other call number ranges that might contain the information you need. See also:

  • Highway Engineering (TE)
  • Bridge Engineering (TG)
  • Building Construction (TH)
  • Smart grids (TK 3105)
  • City planning (HT 165.5-169.9 & NA 9000-9428)

Interlibrary Loan-v

Other Catalogs

Google Books - Discover thousands of book titles here and see if we own them (note: Google Books does not let you read entire books)

Texshare - Check out a book from almost anywhere in Texas with one of these cards. Click for information.

Worldcat Searches thousands of libraries -  built-in interlibrary loan request button allows you to get material we don't own.

What does the catalog record tell you about a resource?

Each item in the library's collection has its own catalog record, like the one below.

Here you can see the item's location and call number and also its status. If it says AVAILABLE, the item should be on the shelf. If the item you're looking at is an electronic resource (such as an ebook or streaming video), you will not see a location or call number. Instead, you'll see a link that reads "View online," which will let you access the resource.

A screenshot of a record from the library catalog. The record is for a book titled "Engaging young engineers: teaching problem solving skills through stem." The screenshot shows the location, call number, and current status of the book.

Take a look at the parts of the record that are hyperlinked. If you click on the author's name, you can see what else in the catalog he or she wrote.

The subject terms are useful not only for finding other materials that are closely related to the one you're looking at, but also for suggesting additional search keywords.

A screenshot showing the library catalog subject headings for the book "Engaging young engineers." The subject headings read "Science -- Study and teaching (Early childhood) -- United States", "Technology -- Study and teaching (Early childhood) -- United States", "Engineering -- Study and teaching (Early childhood) -- United States" and "Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Early childhood) -- United States."

If you find a really relevant book in the catalog, look at the subject terms to see if they use different words to describe your topic than you did. Try incorporating those new words in your searches to get a different angle on your research.

Where in the library is my book?

After you've found a book in the catalog, you'll need to find it on the shelf. Each book has a Library of Congress call number that identifies where exactly it's located.

Library of Congress call numbers should be read one line at a time as follows:

Example of a complete call number, DA 36 .A55:

Line 1   DA
Line 2   36
Line 3   .A55


1. First, look at Line 1:

Books are arranged in alphabetical order, by the letters on the first line of the call number.

Example: first come all the D call numbers, then all the DA call numbers, then DB, etc.

An illustration showing three groups of books. The first groups all have the letter D on the spine. The second group have the letters DA on the spine. The third group have the letters DB on the spine.

2. Next, look at Line 2:

Within the DA call numbers, books are arranged in number order.

The numbers are arranged in numerical from low to high.


An illustration of five books standing in a line. The spines read, in order, DA 1, DA 2, DA 22, DA 36, and DA 38.

3. Then look at Line 3:

Line 3 of the call number has a letter and a number. The letters are in alphabetical order. Then read the numbers—but BEWARE!

The numbers are not whole numbers, they are DECIMAL numbers.

Example: A55 is read as A .55—this is why A55 comes before A6 (A .55, A .6, A .65, etc.)

An illustration showing six books standing in a line. The spines read, in order, DA 36 A5, DA 36 A55, DA 36 A6, DA 36 B21, DA 36 B212.