Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Lewis Music Library Student Manual: Materials

Additional links

Call numbers:

Book handling:

Exterior barcodes for books & scores

Exterior barcodes for material just returned:

  • Have one of us show you how the NiceLabel Pro label-maker works
  • Exterior barcodes are only for materials with no parts!
  • Position: front cover, upper left corner, no more than 1 inch down, no more than 3 inches in
  • If there's not room, ask Forrest or Cate what we should do
  • If the item is in poor condition, give it to Cate instead for repair or rebinding

Shelving locations


  • BRWS (beginning of Reference shelves) (new, fall 2014): DVDs, shelved by call number (except a few marked MEDIA)
  • MEDIA: CDs, VHS videotapes, laserdiscs, a few audio tapes and cassettes, and a few rare and out-of-print DVDs which are marked MEDIA and should be shelved near the ZOOM recorders
  • STACK: scores, books, CD-ROMs, and a few theses
  • RSERV: reserve
  • REF (reference): dictionaries, encyclopedia, indexes
  • OVRSZ (oversize): large format scores and books
  • LMTED (limited access): facsimiles, rare items, Inventions of Note sheet music, and other special collections materials
  • CIRCD (circulation desk): oversize booklets for media volumes
  • JRNAL: the latest issue of each journal is in the display rack at the end of the reading room; previous issues are kept in the back room. Bound journals are sent to storage.
  • LSA (Library Storage Annex) and LSA/OCC (Off Campus Collection): our LP records, our bound journals, and some of our books, serials, scores, and CDs are in storage. They can be requested through the "Request item" button in Barton.

Updated 9/8/2014 csm

Lewis Music Library call numbers

Books are shelved according to the Library of Congress system. Most of the books we have begin with ML or MT, but we also have some in G, PN, PR, TK, etc.


  • M scores (mostly collections and series) are shelved according to the Library of Congress system; these work just like book call numbers throughout the MIT Libraries.
  • Mu/Mu pts scores (works by one composer) are shelved according to a separate system:

Scores in the Mu/Mu pts system begin with either Mu (score) or Mu pts (a performing format); they are intershelved in the stacks. The Mu system is organized by decimal numbers. The following would be a correct order:

Mu Mu Mu Mu
B122 B393 B455 B73

Think of the number parts of the call number as .122, .393, .455, and .73, which is why B73 comes last.

The second line of the call number indicates the composer, and you would be unable to find a score without the rest of the call number, usually letters which are arranged alphabetically. Some example of correct order would be:

Mu Mu Mu Mu Mu Mu Mu Mu
B393 pts pts B393 B393 pts pts pts
sop B393 B393 sopcl sopcl B73 B73 B73
  sop sop   a sovb sovb sovb1
    d       b a

Note that spaces come before letters, and that Mu and Mu pts scores are intershelved.

There are also some details to keep in mind. For example:

Mu Mu Mu Mu Mu Mu Mu Mu
M877 M877 M877 M877 M877 M877 M877 M877
don don don don don don don don
  v.1 v.2 a b ar pv x

The v.1, v.2 distinguish different volumes of the same edition. The a and b denote different editions of the same piece, and ar, pv, and x ar refer to different arrangements or excerpts of the piece.


  • Most music CDs have call numbers like scores, so that they're arranged by composer and then work, but starting out PhonCD.
  • World music (formerly called folk) CDs have a separate F line after the PhonCD line, then Library of Congress call numbers from the G schedule (used for maps).
  • Jazz CDs have a separate J line after the PhonCD line, then a composer line, then a work line.
  • Pop CDs have a separate P line after the PhonCD line, then a composer line, then a work line.


  • Most music DVDs (think: opera) have call numbers like scores and CDs so that they're arranged by composer and then work, but starting with DVD.
  • Ballets, feature films, documentaries, etc. have Library of Congress call numbers. The DVD usually appears at the end of the call number.

Updated 6/11/2013csm

Need Help?

For Help, contact:

  • Audio Lab, listening equipment, music software on the iMacs: leave a note or e-mail Forrest
  • Binding and repair things or ordering questions: ask Cate
  • Circulation, Reserves, student schedule and payroll: Cate
  • Bigger problems: contact Nina
  • Really an Emergency: still let Nina know

If there is a question of Lewis Music Library policies, it may be documented in this guide. You may also call Cate, Forrest or Nina at the numbers below. Never feel that you need to argue with patrons about our policies. Use e-mail if you just want to tell us about something.

  • Nina:
    c 617-791-0961
    MIT  x3-5636
  • Forrest:
    h 401-728-0838
    MIT x3-0982
  • Cate:
    c 617-767-4142
    MIT x3-7389