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Using the Library Catalogue

A Guide to the Library Catalogue

Ko te kai rapu, ko ia te kite = he who seeks will find (Mâori proverb)

The Library Catalogue (or opac) is the gateway to the library resources including books, theses, multimedia and print serial titles, which can be used in conjunction with the external Databases . You can access the Library catalogue from anywhere on campus and remotely from home through the Library webpage. 

Login to the Library catalogue in the upper right-hand corner to access the list of titles issued, to renew or reserve items. Your Witt email address (found on the back of your ID card) and password are used to login.

Please explore the catalogue, and remember that you can ask the Library staff for help.

Dewey Decimal System

All of the Library’s resources are organised according to the Dewey decimal system (except for the Fiction, which are shelved by their author's surname).

The Dewey system keeps all books on the same topic together.

The system is made up of ten main classes or categories:

  • 001  Computer science, information & general works
  • 100  Philosophy and psychology
  • 200  Religion
  • 300  Social sciences
  • 400  Language
  • 500  Science, including mathematics
  • 600  Technology
  • 700  Arts and recreation
  • 800  Literature
  • 900  History, geography, and biography

Each of these is divided into ten secondary classes or subcategories, e.g. the 600s include:

  • 600  Technology
  • 610  Medicine & Health
  • 620  Engineering
  • 630  Agriculture
  • 640  Home & Family Management
  • 650  Management (Business)
  • 660  Chemical Engineering
  • 670  Manufacturing
  • 680  Manufacture of Products for Specific Uses
  • 690  Buildings

Each of these is further divided, e.g. the 610s include:

  • 610  Medical personal, Nursing
  • 611  Human anatomy, cytology, histology
  • 612  Human physiology
  • 613  Personal health & safety
  • 614  Forensic medicine; incidence of injuries, wounds, disease; public preventive medicine
  • 615  Pharmacology & therapeutics
  • 616  Diseases
  • 617  Miscellaneous branches of medicine; Surgery
  • 618  Other branches of medicine; Gynecology & obstetrics

Then they are further divided using decimal fractions, e.g.

  • 610.71 Education, research, nursing, related topics
  • 610.724 Experimental research
  • 610.73 Nursing and services of allied health personnel

A decimal fraction is read from left to right, with each number counting towards the order in which books are shelved, so that books with the following numbers would be shelved in this order:

  • 610.07
  • 610.073
  • 610.0735
  • 610.1
  • 610.12
  • 610.2
  • 610.21935
  • 610.3

The most common mistake is to ignore a zero. Don’t; every part of the number counts.

The number is followed by three letters - usually the first three letters of the author's surname. These are also shelved in alphabetical order, e.g.

  • 610.73 ASH
  • 610.73 AYT
  • 610.73 BAY
  • 610.73 BEN

This is called the classification number or call number.

You will find the classification number at the bottom of the Library Catalogue record. Write it down, and look for this classification number on the shelves.

You will also need the classification number when you ask for a Course Reserve.

If you need more help in finding resources, ask the librarian at the Information Desk.