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Library of Congress Classification System

Library of Congress Classification System

Library of Congress Classification

The Library of Congress (LC) classification scheme, which is used in most law and academic libraries in the United States, is a method of assigning call numbers to items. It has two basic purposes: to arrange material in the collection in a logical and useful order, and to keep material about the same or similar subjects together on the shelf.

The Library of Congress classification scheme is alpha-numeric, meaning that it uses both letters and numbers, as opposed to numeric schemes such as the Dewey Decimal scheme. Although most letters of the alphabet are defined in the LC schedules, the bulk of law material falls in the "K" schedules. Other law-related material is found in "J" (political science), "D" (history), and "H" (social sciences).

The jurisdictional outline of the "K" schedules is as follows:

  • K: General law, jurisprudence, philosophy and theory of law, comparative and international law, and conflict of laws;
  • KDZ: North America as a region;
  • KE: Canada;
  • KG and KH: Latin America, the West Indies, the Caribbean, and South America;
  • KF: United States; KF followed by another letter indicates the law of a state within the United States, i.e. KFM is Missouri law;
  • KJ-KKZ: Europe;
  • KJV-KJW: France;
  • KK-KKC: Germany;
  • KL-KWX: the rest of the world, including Asia, Oceanica, Africa, and the Middle East.

For a more detailed index to the "K" Schedules, see the Subject Guide to LC Law Classifications 

Once you find a title you want in the Law School Online Catalog and determine that it has a Library of Congress classification number, look at the location. Titles with a location of "LC Collection" will be found on the second or fourth floor of the Law Library as follows:

A through JZ 4872

4th Floor, North

JZ 4935 - KLA 68 .G79

2nd Floor, East

KLA 68 .G86 - Z

1st floor, North East


Titles in Library of Congress classification can also be in the Reference Collection, British Collection, and Reserve Collection.

Once you get to the stacks, the call numbers are in order by letter or letters, followed by the numeric portion on the following line. For example, the following call numbers would be shelved in the order they are listed: K1120, KE27, KF3.2, KJ3221, KJA15