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Physics: Finding Books

This guide supports the library research needs of Physics faculty, staff, and students at Texas State University.

Physics Call Numbers

See tabs for more detailed subject headings.

Call number ranges Description

QB 1-991




Call number ranges Description

 QB 1-991





 Practical and spherical astronomy




 Theoretical astronomy and celestial mechanics






 Non-optical methods of astronomy


 Descriptive astronomy


 Solar System




 Cosmogony. Cosmology

Call number ranges Description




 General Physics


 Weights and measures


 Descriptive and experimental mechanics


 Atomic physics. Constitution and properties of matter

 Including molecular physics, relativity, quantum theory, and solid state physics


 Acoustics. Sound






 Optics, Light




 Radiation Physics


 Electricity and magnetism






 Nuclear and particle physics. Atomic energy. Radioactivity


 Geophysics Cosmic physics


 Meteorology. Climatology

New Physics Materials

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Search the Library Catalog

Use the Library Catalog to search for print resources, multimedia resources, and ebooks. The Library Catalog also provides location and availability details. The library catalog is a type of database, so you can use the same search strategies you would use in a database, including "phrase searching," Boolean operators, and truncation.

A screenshot of the search box in the library catalog.

Catalog Search Tips

Search by ~~> Keyword

  • This search looks for matches in all fields of the catalog record (title, author, description, table of contents, subject headings, etc.)
  • Use Boolean operators to combine keywords and improve your search
  • This is the broadest type of search, so it is often a good way to start out—you should get a good idea of how much material is available on a subject

Search by ~~> Title

  • This search should be used if you know a specific book title
  • Don't include leading words like "the" or "a" and leave out punctuation like ":"

Search by ~~> Author

  • This search will find works by an author, editor, actor, or director
  • Search by "Lastname, Firstname" 
    • Many authors have the same name, so if you are not able to find the correct one, try a partial name search like "Shakespeare, W" to see all possible name variations
  • If you want books about a person but not written by them, search for their name by subject

Search by ~~>Subject

  • Subject headings are standardized tags that link related items throughout the library catalog
  • This type of search works well if you are browsing for a particular subject that you know or a broad term
    • If your search results are too limited, try using the same subject heading terms in a keyword search
  • The library catalog uses the Library of Congress Classification system

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.