Finding books in the EFL

All the EFL's books are catalogued on SOLO

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: 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.


Most books in the EFL are classified using Library of Congress Classification (LCC). Information about how a LCC shelfmark is constructed can be found on our classification Libguide

It is important to note that numbers following the point in the LCC scheme should be read decimally. For example, PR6061.A9 shelves after PR6061.A89.

The majority of LCC material in the EFL is classified under P (Language), PN (Literature general), PR (English Literature), and PS (American Literature). 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.

PR English Literature

Other useful sections

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

PR 1098 – 1369 Collections of English Literature

PR 1490-6126 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
Z Bibliography and Book History

PR 1490-1799 Anglo-Saxon literature

PR 1803-2165 Middle English

PR 2199-3195 Renaissance (1500-1640)

PR 3291-3785 17th and 18th centuries (1640-1770)

PR 3991-5990 19th century

PR 6000-6049 1900-1960

PR 6050-6076 1961-2000

PR 6100-6126 2001-

PR 8309 – 9680 English Literature from other countries

Shelfmarks A – PR 3189 are located on the ground floor of the library, while shelfmarks PR 3199 – Z are located upstairs. 

In-house Classification Scheme

About 15% of our open-shelf books are still classified according to an old in-house scheme. Items in the in-house classification scheme will have the location of ‘In-house Classification’ on SOLO. Most of the items this collection can be found at the top of the stairs, with small number (shelfmarks beginning A / AW) found on the ground floor before the periodicals.

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. RICNB

The classification scheme is not decimal ; the numbers following the point are in a simple numerical sequence. For example, J70.12 would shelve after J70.9.

The scheme and a list of useful numbers follows:

A Reference Works

AW Dictionaries

CJ Old Icelandic

J & K 1600-1700

L 1700-1790

M 1790-1830

Pre-1850 & Rare Books

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 X, Y & CJ, as well as items with a location of Faculty Foyer, Meyerstein Room or Owen Room) are not available after 5pm (Monday to Friday) or on Saturdays.

Related links

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