Western language books in the East Asian Library follow the usual Princeton call number schemes: Richardson for those books cataloged before 1980, Library of Congress numbers for those cataloged after 1980. Since books published earlier than 1980 might have been cataloged first after 1980 (e.g., the whole Wilhelm Collection), and books published after 1980 might be continuations of a title first cataloged before (as are many periodicals), note that you cannot always tell from the publication date which call number scheme was used.
Books in Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) also usually have one of two call number schemes, Harvard-Yenching or Library of Congress. The change from one scheme, with the same caveats as above, was slightly later, at the end of 1983. In addition, for traditional bound books which form part of the original Gest Collection, and which include mainly books published in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) periods, a third call number scheme is used called locally siku.
Unlike Richardson call numbers, Harvard-Yenching call numbers are widely used in other East Asian libraries in the West as well, with libraries having moved to the Library of Congress scheme at times specific to each individual library. Richardson numbers are never used for CJK material.
The core indication (called here the core number) of Harvard-Yenching call numbers is two sets of digits surrounding a slash, such as:
Very rarely, on some spines, the slash is replaced by a period, in which case the number is difficult to distinguish from a Richardson call number. This core number may be preceded by a small set of letters, which give an indication of general collection, location and language, and of which several may be combined in the following order:
Q Oversized books, shelved separately T Rare books shelved in the Rare Book Room N Noncirculating books; ignore for shelving R Reference books for the Reference Room B Bibliographies in the Reference Room; treat as R. P Periodicals, shelved separately J Japanese language K Korean language (none) Chinese language
After the core number, and separated by a space, there might be volume, copy and/or year designations; these are shelved in numerical order of course. Very rarely, Chinese, Japanese and Korean works may have the same number. In cases when they are intershelved, the order is then Chinese-Japanese-Korean. An example of a rather complicated call number is:
PJ3202.03/2314.21 1995 c.2
The Harvard-Yenching core number is treated as follows. You will have to note carefully the placement of slashes and periods; dashes and parentheses are of secondary importance.
1. Before the slash, before the period: books are shelved strictly numerically:
This number might contain a dash near the end, such as 3140-7/1212; these are shelved right after the numbers without the dash, but before the next number or period, so:
2. Before the slash, after the period: books are shelved decimally:
Also here you might sometimes find a number here containing a dash, as 2-3, or 2-4. Again, these are shelved after numbers without a dash, but before any other number:
3. After the slash, before the period:
In the case of Chinese books: these numbers are treated decimally:
In the cases of Japanese and Korean books: these numbers are treated numerically:
For dashes, see under 2.
4. After the slash, after the period: call numbers are treated decimally:
For dashes, see under 2.
5. Final parentheses:
The core number may end with a number between parentheses, not preceded by a space. These are volume indicators, and therefore should be shelved numerically:
N9101/1715 v. xxx
These call numbers (the so-called green hishi set) are all located in Room 405.
These call numbers (the blue-box Bai pu cong kan sets) are followed by a period and digits which indicate their series number. These digits after the period are treated numerically. Since these sets are currently in the Annex, it is unlikely that as a patron you will encounter this rule.
In general, note that most Chinese and Japanese Harvard-Yenching call numbers in the (J)3000's and (J)5000's and up are stored in the Annexes; in addition, almost all Korean Harvard-Yenching books are.
These consist of one of the letters A (jing, classics), B (shi, histories), C (zi, philosophers) and D (ji, belles-lettres), referring to the traditional Chinese four-fold classification scheme, followed by two numbers separated officially by slashes (but periods do occur). The first number is a general subject number, the second number is the accession number in the Gest Collection.
These call numbers may be preceded by a T; in that case, the item is considered rare and currently stored in the Mudd Library; you will have to go through the East Asian Library to receive permission to use these before going to Mudd Library though. If not preceded by a T, the books are stored in the Annexes. These can only be recalled from the Annexes at the East Asian Library, not from any other Princeton location. Since this is the case, an average patron will have no need to care about the following shelving rules.
Both sides are shelved numerically, with the initial letters shelved alphabetically:
Letters within parentheses following a number, such as C38/78(a) denote different titles belonging to one general title. These are all shelved alphabetically when needed. The designation CM is sometimes encountered on old cards for medical books in the C section; the designation is treated as C, and the M should be ignored.
The two numbers may occasionally be followed by a period and up to four alphabetic letters (such as hcgz); the latter are shelved alphabetically if needed.
There is a very small set of call numbers of the form
these are treated as if they were
e.g. B.002.czcg is treated as B0/2.czcg
The very rare numbers such as
are treated as
Thus B-12.134.egf is shelved as B12/134.egf.