Call Numbers in Polaris

Call numbers in Polaris reside in the Item Record. Instead of having one field for the entire call number, Polaris breaks down call numbers into multiple parts. While the system stores the elements separately, they are combined into a single call number for patrons in the PAC. Breaking the call number up in the item record allows staff to run reports using each specific element.

Scheme is the type of call number being used. This table shows the equivalent types between the two systems.


Prefix - A prefix is located at the start of a call number, and helps define the type of material or location. Examples include REF, R, J, and DVD.  Not every call number will have a prefix. Libraries will define their own prefixes.

Class – Class is the Dewey classification number without the cutter. An example is 364.1532

Cutter –When used in combination with the Dewey number, the cutter is usually the first three letters of the author or title. It could also be a true Cutter with a combination of letters and numbers. If a non-Dewey system is being used, this would contain the words that the material is shelved by.

Suffix –The suffix field contains other identifying information that determines location or type of material. An example might be CD for a book that has a CD in it. Library defined.

Volume – This field is important as it controls whether item specific holds can be placed or not. Information from the subfield z in Symphony has been put into this field. For more information, please see Volume Field in Call Numbers.

Note: Magazine issues that are created in the Serials module have their "Volume" information display in the Issue field.

Copy – This is an optional field. Use if desired to differentiate between multiple copies of a title. This field does not display to patrons. Libraries can use if it they want to have copy numbers appear on their spine labels.

Maximum Item Call Number Length – The concatenated call number is limited to 255 characters. Each part of the call number has the following character limits:

  • Prefix can have up to 60 characters.

  • Classification number can have up to 60 characters.

  • Cutter number can have up to 60 characters.

  • Suffix can have up to 60 characters.

  • Copy number can have up to 60 characters.

  • Volume number can have up to 60 characters.

Kathy Schmidt

updated 6/28/2018