Locating material in the library

The Library's books are in five different classification schemes:

If the classmark of the book you are looking for begins with a letter (eg. A, BX), then it will be in the Library of Congress sequence. If the classmark begins with a number (eg. 24.3), it will be in the other sequence. Brief outlines of both schemes can be found at the end of the stacks.

In addition there are various other resources available through the library:

Closed stack material

Most books are on open access in the library; however, some material is shelved in closed stacks. On the catalogue, these items will be listed as needing to be requested at the issue desk.

Pamphlets: If the classmark begins with PAM, then the item is a pamphlet. Pamphlets can only be used in the library. The most frequently used items are held at the desk; others are stored in the basement and will be fetched on request.

Theses: The Seeley holds a reference-only collection of MPhil and prize-winning undergraduate dissertations, all catalogued online. Please ask at the desk if you wish to consult one of these titles.

Journals: Please ask at the desk if you wish to consult any of our journals.

Special Subject source material

Special Subject source material can be borrowed for one day.

Ebooks and ejournals

There are links to ebooks and ejournals in the iDiscovery catalogue. For more information on accessing ebooks and ejournals visit the University Library's eresources@cambridge page

Latin American Studies collection

The Latin American Studies collection is housed in the six bookstacks at the end of the mezzanine level to the right as you enter the library.

Seeley In-House Classification

Older material is classified into an in-house scheme. The first element denotes a subject or regional designation and the second number is a topical subdivision, e.g., 30.11 = American Civil War; the third element is simply a running number assigned to the book on its arrival (so duplicate copies of the same title may have separate locations if they arrived at different times).

The full classification scheme is as follows:-


  1. Cambridge and other reference works
  2. Atlases, maps and other reference works
  3. Essays, etc
  4. Ancient History
  5. European History (general)
  6. Medieval European History
  7. Modern European History
  8. Eastern and African History
  9. Theses
  10. British Economic and Social History
  11. Social and Political Thought
  12. International Affairs
  13. British History
  14. Official Publications
  15. Periodicals
  16. Learned Societies
  17. not used
  18. Palaeography
  19. History of Sciences
  20. Military History
  21. Pamphlets
  22. Theology
  23. Not used
  24. Art and Literature
  25. not used
  26. not used
  27. not used
  28. not used
  29. not used
  30. American History

PAM. Pamphlet Collection


The mezzanine holds older POLIS and Sociology material that have an in-house classmark. If a book appears on iDiscover with the location 'Seeley Library: Mezzanine' then it will be located on the first floor of the library.