Mechanical and aerospace engineering: Browsing

This guide presents selected reference and research resources for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

How to decipher call numbers

An explanation of:

  • what a call number is
  • how they are created
  • how to use one to find a book

What is a call number?

Call numbers are a classification system which allow books, journals and othe items relating to the same subject to be located together. They consist of a series of predetermined numbers and letters which are generally stuck to the spine or front of each item.

Monash University Library uses the Dewey Decimal Classification system for its call numbers except:

  • The Law Library uses a variation on the Moys legal classification system.
  • Clayton campus libraries use Dewey variations for Philosophy and older literature materials.

What do the parts of a call number mean?

Call numbers are basically divided into two parts:

  • subject classification: series of numbers that represent the subject area
  • author classification: series of letters and/or numbers that represent the author or title of the information

Some call numbers have a third part for the year of publication or extra author information.

Here is the call number for Spacetime Physics by Edwin F. Taylor, and John Archibald Wheeler, and what the parts describe:

In the Hargrave-Andrew Library
530.11 T239S Subject: 530 = Physics .11 = Relativity Theory
Author: T239 = Taylor S = Spacetime
In Caulfield Library
530.11 TAY Subject: 530 = Physics .11 = Relativity Theory
Author: TAY = Taylor


How do I use a call number to find an item?

It is important that you note down all of the call number, and which part of the Monash collection the item is held in. Then you need to find each part of the number in turn.

For example to find the book: Understanding Enzymes, by T. Palmer (call number 547.758 P176U4):

Call number structure

  1. Locate the first three digits.
  2. Locate any digits following the decimal point. Remember that it is a decimal system, so 547.8 comes after 547.75.
  3. When you have located the number in full, look for the letter, then the next set of numbers.
  4. Check that the last letter and number are correct, to make sure you have the right book and edition.

Some common problems in looking for items

If you can't find an item:

  • make sure you have written down the whole number
  • make sure that you have located the entire number, including all the digits after the decimal point
  • check that you are looking in the correct site or collection
  • look for prefix letters before the number (eg F = folio (large books), Mos = maths, NZ=New Zealand etc)
  • note that some collections (eg Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Microfiche) have their own numbering system
  • check that the item is not already on loan to someone else

Why aren't the call numbers consistent?

Sometimes call numbers seem very inconsistent, both inside and outside Monash. The reasons for this include:

  • Over time call numbers allocated to some subjects have been inadequate or knowledge has changed, eg advances in computing have caused many changes.
  • Book may be classified in different ways - for example a book entitled  Discrete Maths for Computing could be classified as a maths book, or as a computing book.
  • Monash Library is made up of a number of previously separate libraries. These libraries all had their own cataloguing procedures interpretations for the Dewey system. The Library has now standardised these procedures.
  • Some Monash collections have been catalogued differently to reflect specialist needs, eg Law and Philosophy


Key points to remember when deciphering call numbers:

  • items on the same topic are shelved next to each other
  • every part of the number is important for finding an item
  • work through the number systematically to find the item it describes
  • call numbers vary between libraries - make sure you have the right one

Guide to call numbers

The Monash libraries use the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme to organise books and journals. This ensures that all materials on similar subject areas are kept together on the shelves. The following call numbers may be useful as a guide when browsing the shelves for Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and related subject areas.

Numbers Subject
333.82 Petroleum industry
333.93 Air (also for Wind energy)
531 Solid mechanics
532 Fluid mechanics
551.46 Oceanography
579 Microorganisms, fungi, algae
604.2 Technical drawing (Engineering graphics)
620.00151 Boundary element methods
620.0042 Engineering analysis, synthesis, design
620.1 Engineering mechanics
620.105 Applied soil mechanics
620.106 Applied fluid mechanics
620.11 Engineering materials
620.112 Strength of materials
620.118 Composite materials
620.16 Metals and their alloys
620.23 Noise and countermeasures
620.3 Vibration
621 Applied physics
621.4 Heat engineering and prime movers
621.43 Internal combustion engines
621.44 Ocean thermal energy conversion
621.45 Wind power
621.47 Solar energy engineering
621.5 Pneumatic, vacumn, low temperature technologies
621.8 Machine engineering
621.822 Bearing
621.833 Gears and gearing
621.89 Tribology
622.33819 Offshore drilling
622.3382 Petroleum engineering
627 Oil field
627.9 Subsea production
627.95 Platform decommissioning
627.98 Offshore structure
628.1 Water supply: Waste water
629.1 Aerospace engineering
629.4 Aeronautics
629.8 Automatic control engineering
631.41 Soil chemistry (e.g. 'Trace elements in soils')
658.2 Plant management
658.3 Personnel management
658.504 Project management
660.6 Biotechnology
665.54 Pipeline
671.521 Welding
697 Heating, ventilating, air conditioning engineering
808 Essay, reports and technical writing

Location prefixes

Some call numbers are preceded by a location prefix. That means the book is shelved in a special location, and may have loan restrictions. The Hargrave-Andrew Library uses the following prefixes.

Prefix Library location 
Reference Level 1 (Not for loan)
Reserve Level 1 (Overnight, or 3-hr loan)
Maps Level 1 (Some items may not be available for loan)
Multimedia Level 1
Serials (unbound)

Serials <current>

Level 1 (Overnight loan for staff and post-graduate students only)

Serials (bound)

Level 1: Call number: 001 - 540.5 I85

Level 2: Call number: 540.5 J86 - 552.05 C764

Ground level: Call number: 552.05 J86 - 925 A1 NAT

(Overnight loan for staff and post-graduate students only)
Standards Level 1 (Not for loan)

f <f stands for 'folio'>

Level 2 - Items are shelved after the book call number 999.