Open Stacks

Open Stacks (in Polish: Wolny Dostęp) at BUW are open access areas with books and periodicals, located on two floors of the Library. There are mostly books published after 1980 and the most commonly accessed periodicials, ordered alphabetically at the beginning of each wide subject area.
The collections are set according to an American classification – Library of Congress Classification (LCC).

Library of Confress Classification outline
A General works
B Philosophy.  Psychology.  Religion
C Auxiliary sciences of history
D World history and history of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
E-F History of the Americas
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
H Social sciences
J Political science
K Law
L Education
M Music and books on music
N Fine arts
P Language and literature
Q Science
R Medicine
S Argiculture
T Technology
U Military science
V Naval science
Z Bibliography. Library science. Information resources (general)

Collections in the BUW Open Stacks are set in eight wide subject areas. Location of subject areas – see BUW Plans.

Wide subject area Subject Location
P Language. Literature Level 1
B L Philosophy.  Psychology.  Religion. Education Level 1
AM C D-F GN700-875 History Level 1
G-GF Q R-V Geography. Mathematical, natural and applied sciences Level 1
K J Law. Political science Level 2
H GN1-673 GR-GV Social sciences. Anthropology Level 2
M N Music.  Architecture. Fine arts Level 2
A Z General works. Library science. Level 2
Library of Congress Classification

The Classification divides every wide subject area into classes and subclasses, corresponding to scientific disciplines, branches of disciplines and fields.
Example: the broad subject area Historical Sciences comprises the following classes and subclasses:

Class Historical sciences
E-F History of the Americas class
D World history and history of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc. class
C Auxiliary sciences of history class
AM Museums. Collectors and collecting subclass
GN 700-890 Prehistoric archaeology subclass

In class D there are the following subclasses, for example:

D History (General)
DA Great Britain
DK History of Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
DS Asia

In subclass DK numbers from 4010 to 4800 refer to the history of Poland. Books are arranged taking into account the form of the document, the specific field, time or place. The principle is the subject-related setting of publications from general to specific ones.

Here is an excerpt from the classification board DK 4010-4800 History of Poland (examples of encoding specific fields):

DK4010 Periodicals. Societies. Serials
DK4037 Guidebooks
DK4329 1763-1795. Partition period. General works
DK4440 History of Poland in 1956-1980
DK4600 Local history and description
DK4800 Local history and description.
Provinces, counties, historical regions, etc.


What do the stickers on the books in the Open Stacks mean?

Library of Congress Classification (LCC) allows to encode information on the content of the book, author’s name, publishing year and other information in the so-called classification symbol, which is uniquely assigned to each book. Items have consecutive numbers. The sticker on the book spine gives the full symbol of the Library of Congress Classification, which is shown as LC Classification in the UW libraries online catalogue.

An example of a book sticker with LC Classification:

DK History of Russia and Poland
4037 Travel guides to Poland
.J433 Encoded surname of an author (Jędrysiak)
2012 Year of publishing
t. 1 Volume number
cz. 2 Part number
egz. 1 Copy number


In each wide subject area at the Open Stacks the books are arranged on shelves as follows:

1. first alphabetically by the first letter D DK DK DK DK DK DK DK
2. then by number 720 15 18.8 18.8 18.8 18.8 4037 4037
3. then alphabetically by the letter and number in the decimal system .A7 .D43 .B35 .S2 .S22 .S22 .J433 .J433
4. by successive year of publishing 2015 2000 1996 2008 2011 2015 2012 2012
5. by volume or part number t. 1 t. 1 t. 2
6. last by copy number copy 1 copy 1 copy 1 copy 2


How to search in the Open Stacks?

First, check the UW Libraries online catalogue. If the book/periodical is in the collections of BUW, it is kept either in the open stacks, or in the closed stacks. In the catalogue publications marked as BUW Wolny Dostęp have LC Classification. It indicates where in the library the book/periodical is located. With the help of maps, you need to go to the bookcase in the appropriate subject area. On the side of each bookcase there is a board with Classification symbols. Please note! In the case of non-Latin aphabets American transcription has been adopted.
Books with a blue sticker may be borrowed home. The red color (red dot) means that books/periodicals can only be accessed on the premises. Accessed materials shall be put away on trolleys located in the subject areas.
Periodicals are arranged alphabetically at the beginning of each broad subject area.
Books without LC Classification with location BUW Magazyn must be ordered from the closed stacks by clicking first on the title and then on Request button. They may be fetched from the Main Reading Room or at the Circulation Desk. The online catalogue also gives information which books/periodicals can be found at UW faculty libraries. Regulations for accessing collections.
Titles which cannot be found in the UW Libraries online catalogue, one needs to search in the BUW Web Card Catalogue. It contains scanned catalogue cards, including the alphabetical catalogue of books obtained by BUW from 1801 to 1997.
It’s worth searching the Union Catalog of Polish Reasearch Library Collections NUKAT. You may order books from outside Warsaw through Interlibrary Loan department.

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