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As we know, log of number which is less than 1 is always negative. And mantissa cannot be negative. So , log value can be converted into  a sum of negative integer and a positive proper fraction.
For example, Log 0.5= -0.301= -1 + x
 is mantissa
Hope this will help u... :)
but cn u tell how you got .301 from 0.5 from log table. i want THOSE steps.
in log table you have to see both mantissa and characteristics. For value Log 30.23, see row 30th row and 2nd column