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Information Studies: Books & e-books

Click and Collect Service

How to Find a Book From Your Reading List

Chapter digitisation

In response to COVID-19 and whilst access to materials in the library is limited, a temporary chapter digitisation service has been introduced to support your studies.

How to Access e-Books

How do I request books from the library? (Distance Learners)

Place your request on Primo. No need to email us!  Follow our easy 'How to' guide:


Document Supply Service

The Document Supply Service allows registered users to request items which are not available in the University Library. ‚ÄčWe can support staff and students with research and learning by locating and supplying books, chapters, and articles held by other libraries. Information Services will cover the costs of the allocation for the different user groups in all academic departments, subject to available funds.

Click here for further information and to see how many free requests you can order.

Finding the book you want in the library

To find a book in the library you will need its classmark - every item in the library has its own unique classmark. The library uses the Library of Congress classification scheme to sort out where the books are to be located on the shelves.

You will see classmarks on the spines of books... 

and in the library catalogue Primo, when you search for the item online. 


Note that the same classmark can be written and read from top-to-bottom (e.g. spine of book) or left-to-right (on Primo).

Each book has a unique classmark composed of letters and numbers, which is used to determine the book's placement on the shelf, and to group it among other books on the same subject.

On the end of each bay of books, you will see signs stating what classmarks can be found there and a brief description of the subject area.

Journals are shelved alphabetically by title.

After searching Primo convert the classmark from the  online catalogue display to a vertical form (as it appears on the spine of a book):


Read it as...




as it would appear on the spine of the book. 

First Line: 

Letters are filed alphabetically.  Single letters are filed before double letters in terms of shelf arrangement.  For example, this series is in the correct order:  D   DA   DF   DL    DT

The first letter indicates a very broad subject area, which is made more specific by adding a second and sometimes third letter.  For he example above...

Q = Science

QA = Mathematics

QH = Natural history - Biology

QK = Botany

From the example given above, QK306...we now know that the QK classmark relates to botany. 

Second Line: 

This line is read as a whole number. Numbers on the second line can range from 1 to 9999 and can also have decimal points.

Example: 32 (thirty-two) is shelved before 310 (Three hundred ten).  Any number followed by a decimal point is filed decimally.
Example:  8701 is shelved after 8700.7          8700.7 is shelved after 8700.17

Third Line: 

This line begins with a decimal point, followed by a letter and number sequence.  The letters are read alphabetically and the number is read as a decimal.

Example: .P266 comes before .P87

Next, go to the shelves and look for the book by reading the classmark line by line. 

You may come across classmarks with additional lines to read.



The Celtic Collection brings together material relating to Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and contains approximately 25,000 books. Although the collection contains material on all subjects relating to Celtic countries, the two largest sequences are those on history and literature.

The collection is housed on Level F of the Hugh Owen Library. Most items in the collection have the prefix CELT on the spine, with the exception of classes DA (History) and PB (Language and literature) and all may be found on Primo.



FOL at the end of a classmark means that the book is too big to fit on normal shelves and is called a Folio.

These go in a separate section with bigger shelves.



A separate dictionary collection is available on Level F and have a prefix DICT on the spine.


Effective Study Collection (STUDY)

All items in the Effective Study Collection are added to the Library catalogue, Primo, and have the prefix STUDY in the classmark. Effective Study Collections are located on Level F of the Hugh Owen Library and in the Physical Sciences Library. 

Pamphlets (PAM)

For Aberystwyth University Library purposes a pamphlet is usually considered to be a publication of less than 50 pages with limp covers.

Pamphlets have the suffix 'Pam' or 'Pam Qto' added to the classmark e.g. HD6664.G7 Pam and are shelved in pamphlet boxes at the start of each classification i.e. HD pamphlets are shelved before HD books.

Quarto (QTO)

Qto at the end of a classmark means that the book is bigger than normal, and stands for Quarto.

  • In Hugh Owen Library the Quartos are shelved in the main sequence of books.
  • In the Physical Sciences Library the Quartos are separated from the rest of the books due to shelf size.

Primo Search

Search In Primo

Access to e-resources off-campus

FAQ - How to access e-resources off-campus

The library doesn't have the book you need?

Choose titles to be bought for the library using our More Books service.