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Finding English Faculty Library Items: Library of Congress Classification

Intended for students and researchers using the English Faculty Library, Bodleian Libraries.


The Library of Congress Classification (LCC) scheme is the main classification scheme in use at the English Faculty Library.

The LCC is one of the most popular and widely supported classification schemes in the world. It uses a combination of numbers and letters, which are assigned semantic categories, to arrange material according to its intellectual content. An example of an LCC shelf mark found in the library is PR4656.A2 R49 ELI 2008 - George Eliot's 'Adam Bede'. Other examples are listed below.

Photograph of a reading room in the Library of Congress

Classification overview

While most books in the English Faculty Library fall within Class P for Language and Literature (and more specifically PR for English Literature), it is important to remember that books in different classes may be of relevance.

This table gives an overview of how the classes within the Library of Congress Classification scheme are categorised. For a more detailed breakdown of these classes, click on the links provided.

A breakdown of Class P 'Literature & Language' is given for reference in the box to the bottom right.

Example shelf marks

This box is made up of example shelf marks that you might find in the library. They are ordered according to their arrangement on the shelves - 'DA485 POR 2000' would be shelved before 'P120.S48 MIL 2008' and so on.

Porter, Roy (2000) Enlightenment: Britain and the Modern World

LCC shelf mark: DA485 POR 2000

Image of shelf mark: DA485 POR 2000

DA = History of Great Britain
485 = England - By period - 18th Century - Social life and customs
POR = First three letters of the author's surname
2000 = Date of publication

Mills, Sara (2008) Language and Sexism

LCC shelf mark: P120.S48 MIL 2008

Image of shelf mark: P120.S48 MIL 2008

P = Philology & Linguistics
120 = Philosophy, origin etc. of language
.S48 = Sex. Sex differences. Sexism.
MIL = First three letters of the author's surname
2008 = Date of publication

Amodio, Mark (2014) Anglo-Saxon Literature Handbook

LCC shelf mark: PR173.A46 AMO 2014

Image of shelf mark: PR173.A46 AMO 2014

PR = English Literature
173 = History of English Literature - By period - Anglo-Saxon
.A46 = Amodio
AMO = First three letters of the author's surname
2014 = Date of publication

Lascelles, M. (1970) Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure
LCC shelf mark: PR2824.L3 LAS 1970

Image of shelf mark: PR2824.L3 LAS 1970

PR = English Literature
2824 = Shakespeare: Measure for Measure
.L3 = Lascelles

LAS = First three letters of the author’s surname
1970 = Date of publication

Some authors, such as Dickens, have their own unique range of shelf marks because of the large body of work they have produced, and many of their works have their own unique number.

Dickens, Charles (2011) Bleak House. Ed. Ingham
LCC shelf mark: PR4556.A2 I65 DIC 2011

Image of shelf mark: PR4556.A2 I65 DIC 2011

PR = English Literature 
4556 = Dickens: Bleak house
.A2 = by editor
I65 = Ingham
DIC = First three letters of the author’s surname

2011 = Date of publication

Conrad, J. (2006) Heart of Darkness
LCC shelf mark: PR6005.04 H4 CON 2006

Image of shelf mark: PR6005.O4 H4 CON 2006

PR = English Literature
6005 = 1900-1960-Individual authors- Surname beginning with C
.O4 = Conrad
H4 = Heart of Darkness
CON = First three letters of the author’s surname
2006= Date of publication

Arrangement in the library

Items are ordered alphabetically and then in ascending order according to the whole number that follows. Books with shelf marks A-PR2411 are located on the ground floor of the library, while shelf marks PR2411-Z are located upstairs. All audiovisual material and oversize books are found on the ground floor. Some pertinent topics and their corresponding locations are given below.


  • PE: Language and Linguistics
  • PN: General Literary Theory
  • PN: Film Studies
  • PR1-2411: English Literature up to 1550


  • PR2411-7999: English Literature from 1550 to the present day
  • PR8000-8999: Scottish, Irish and Welsh literature
  • PR9000: English literature from outside of Great Britain (excluding America)
  • PS: American literature
  • PT: Germanic literature (including works in translation)
  • Q-TX: Science, Medicine, Agriculture and Technology
  • Z: Bibliography, Book History and Palaeography

Class P: Language and literature

The list in the next tab give the subclasses of Class P of the Library of Congress Classification scheme.

Examples include:

  • P327: Lexicography
  • PE101: Old English
  • PE501: Middle English
  • PE3701: Slang
  • PN441: Literary history

PR and PS are sub divided by period, for example:

  • PR421: Elizabethan era
  • PR441: 18th century
  • PR471: 20th century
  • PS185-195: 17th-18th centuries
  • PS201: 19th century
  • PS229: 21st century

Some authors are assigned their own shelf marks. See 'Example shelf marks - Example five'.

Subclasses of P are described at the link below and listed here for reference.

P: Philology and Linguistics

PA: Greek language and literature, and Latin language and literature

PB: Modern languages and Celtic languages

PC: Romanic languages

PD: Germanic languages and Scandinavian languages

PE: English language

PF: West Germanic languages

PG: Slavic languages, Baltic languages and Albanian language

PH: Uralic languages and Basque language

PJ: Oriental languages and literatures

PK: Indo-Iranian languages and literatures

PL: Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania

PM: Hyperborean, Indian, and artificial languages

PN: Literature (General)

PQ: French literature, Italian literature, Spanish literature, Portuguese literature

PR: English literature

PS: American literature

PT: German literature, Dutch literature, Flemish literature since 1830, Afrikaans literature, Scandinavian literature, Old Norse literature: Old Icelandic and Old Norwegian, Modern Icelandic literature, Faroese literature, Danish literature, Norwegian literature and Swedish literature