How do I find books in the EFL?

All the EFL's books are catalogued on SOLO, Oxford Libraries’ catalogue, which can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection. Guides to using and searching SOLO may be found in the library or online: SOLO: Search Oxford Libraries Online

Classification Schemes 

The Bodleian Libraries’ chosen classification scheme is the Library of Congress Classification scheme (LCC) - one of the major schemes in use in academic libraries in the UK and US. Almost all of our libraries have either been fully or partially reclassified to LCC.

All new books received by the EFL since 2009 have been classified to LCC and we are gradually reclassifying the rest. While this process of reclassification is ongoing, there are two different classification schemes in use in the EFL; the in-house classification scheme and the LCC scheme.

A plan of the library and a quick guide to the shelfmarks of major authors are situated on library noticeboard at the bottom of the stairs

In-house classification Scheme

In the EFL, about 60% of our books are shelved according to an in-house classification scheme. Items in the in-house classification scheme will have the location of ‘English Faculty Library’ on SOLO.

The location on SOLO is English Faculty Library

Broadly speaking, the letter at the beginning of the shelfmark represents a chronological period. Within each period, authors are arranged alphabetically. The author's works are shelved first, followed by criticism.

For example:
Defoe / Moll Flanders L31.1 [Mol] - Original works, first three letters of the title in brackets, e.g. [Mol]
Richetti / Daniel Defoe L31.9 RIC - Critical works, first three letters of the author's name (in uppercase), e.g. RIC

At the beginning of each period section, is a collection of general works and criticism about that period. The numbering in these sections follows a general template, so books on the same topic can be found at the same number in each of the period sub-sections. For example, books on feminist theory and women’s writing are shelved at 2.30 in each period section.

For example:
Johns / Women’s utopias of the eighteenth century L2.30JOH
Watkins / Twentieth-century women novelists: feminist theory in practice P2.30WAT
Baym / Feminism and American literary history R2.30BAY

NB The classification scheme is not decimal ; the numbers following the point are in a simple numerical sequence. For example, H70.12 (critical works on individual Shakespeare plays) shelves after H70.9 (general Shakespeare criticism).

The scheme and a list of useful numbers follows:

A Reference Works

AW Dictionaries

CJ Old Icelandic

G 1400-1550

H 1550-1600

J & K 1600-1700

L 1700-1790

M 1790-1830

N 1830-1880

P 1880-

R American Literature

S Other Literatures in English

V Tolkien's Celtic Library

XY Pre-1850 & Rare Books

Shelfmarks A to H are found on the main floor of the library; J to S are located in the Gallery; V, X & Y are kept in the Rare Book Room - please ask at the Issue Desk for details of how to order.

Books with the shelfmark CJ (Old Icelandic) are kept in the Turville-Petre Room - please ask at the Issue Desk for access. Please note that books on closed access (this includes those with shelfmarks V, X, Y & CJ, as well as items with a location of Stack 1 or Stack 2) are not available after 5pm (Monday to Friday) or on Saturdays.

LC Classification Scheme

Books in the LCC sequence can be found on both floors of the library.

The downstairs LCC sequence contains:

  • All new books purchased from 2009 onwards
  • All oversize books
  • PE - Language and Linguistics
  • PN - General Literary Theory
  • PN - Film Studies
  • PR1-6200 - English Literature up to the present day

The upstairs LCC sequence contains:

  • PR 8500-8999 – Scottish, Irish and Welsh literature
  • PR 9000’s - English literature from outside of Great Britain (excluding America)
  • PS - American Literature

The following books can also be found upstairs, on the shelves in the gallery:

  • PT - Germanic literature (including works in translation)
  • Q-TX - Science, medicine, agriculture and technology
  • Z - Bibliography and palaeography 

Items in the LCC sequence will have the location of ‘English Faculty Library LCC books’ on SOLO.

The location on SOLO is English Faculty Library LCC Books

Numbers following the point in the LCC scheme should be read decimally. For example, PR6061.A9 shelves after PR6061.A89.

LCC uses a similar template to the in house scheme to denote books on special topics in different periods. For example, the topic of women is found at .W6 in each period.

For example:
Donovan / Feminist literary criticism: explorations in theory PN98.W64 FEM 1989
Jardine /
Still harping on daughters: women and drama in the Age of Shakespeare PR658.W6 J37 JAR 1983
Michaelson / Speaking volumes: women, reading, and speech in the age of Austen PR868.W6 M53 MIC 2002

PR English Literature

Other useful sections

PR 1-1000 Literary Criticism (subdivided by period, then genre)

PR 1098 – 1369 Collections of English Literature

PR1490-6126 Works & Criticism by period & author

BL-BX Religion

D History

N Fine Arts

P Language &Linguistics (general)

PE English Language & Linguistics

PN Literature (General) & Film Studies

PS American Literature

PR1490-1799 Anglo-Saxon literature

PR1803-2165 Middle English

PR2199-3195 Renaissance (1500-1640)

PR3291-3785 17th and 18th centuries (1640-1770)

PR3991-5990 19th century

PR6000-6049 1900-1960

PR6050-6076 1961-2000

PR6100-6126 2001-

PR8309 – 9680 English Literature from other countries

More information about how a LCC shelfmark is constructed can be found on our classification Libguide.

While the majority of LCC material in the EFL is classified under P (Language), PN (Literature general), PR (English Literature), and PS (American Literature) it is important to remember that some subjects relating to your research may be classified under different sections of the Library of Congress scheme: e.g. Religion at BL-BX, History in D and Fine Arts in N.

Related links

For more information about the progress of the reclassification project, visit our Reclassification Project page.
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