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A library catalog (or library catalogue in
British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and usage and is employed by a populatio ...
) is a register of all
bibliographic Bibliography (from and ), as a discipline, is traditionally the academic study of books as physical, cultural objects; in this sense, it is also known as bibliology (from ). English author and bibliographer John Carter describes bibliography a ...
items found in a
library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provi ...

library
or group of libraries, such as a network of libraries at several locations. A catalog for a group of libraries is also called a
union catalog A union catalog is a combined library catalog describing the collections of a number of library, libraries. Union catalogs have been created in a range of media, including book format, microform, Card catalog, cards and more recently, networked elec ...
. A bibliographic item can be any information entity (e.g., books, computer files, graphics, realia, cartographic materials, etc.) that is considered library material (e.g., a single
novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a written ...

novel
in an
anthology In book publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the distribution of printed works, such as books ...
), or a group of library materials (e.g., a
trilogy A trilogy is a set of three works of art that are connected and can be seen either as a single work or as three individual works. They are commonly found in literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is ...
), or linked from the catalog (e.g., a webpage) as far as it is relevant to the catalog and to the users (patrons) of the library. The card catalog was a familiar sight to library users for generations, but it has been effectively replaced by the online public access catalog (OPAC). Some still refer to the online catalog as a "card catalog". Some libraries with OPAC access still have card catalogs on site, but these are now strictly a secondary resource and are seldom updated. Many libraries that retain their physical card catalog will post a sign advising the last year that the card catalog was updated. Some libraries have eliminated their card catalog in favor of the OPAC for the purpose of saving space for other use, such as additional shelving. The largest international library catalog in the world is the
WorldCat #REDIRECT WorldCat#REDIRECT WorldCat WorldCat is a union catalog that itemizes the collections of 15,600 libraries A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community ...
union catalog managed by the non-profit library cooperative
OCLC OCLC, Inc., doing business as A trade name, trading name, or business name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) or alias () is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, ...
. In January 2021, WorldCat had over 500,000,000 catalog records and over 3 billion library holdings.


Goal

Antonio Genesio Maria Panizzi in 1841 and
Charles Ammi Cutter Charles Ammi Cutter (March 14, 1837 – September 6, 1903) was an American librarian A librarian is a person who works professionally in a library A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resources, made acce ...
in 1876 undertook pioneering work in the definition of early cataloging rule sets formulated according to theoretical models. Cutter made an explicit statement regarding the objectives of a bibliographic system in his ''Rules for a Printed Dictionary Catalog''. According to Cutter, those objectives were 1. to enable a person to find a book of which either (Identifying objective) * the author * the title * the subject * the date of publication 2. to show what the library has (Collocating objective) * by a given author * on a given subject * in a given kind of literature 3. to assist in the choice of a book (Evaluating objective) * as to its edition (bibliographically) * as to its character (literary or topical) These objectives can still be recognized in more modern definitions formulated throughout the 20th century. Other influential pioneers in this area were Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan and
Seymour Lubetzky
Seymour Lubetzky
. Cutter's objectives were revised by Lubetzky and the Conference on Cataloging Principles (CCP) in Paris in 1960/1961, resulting in the
Paris Principles The Paris Principles were defined at the first International Workshop on National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights held in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,0 ...
(PP). A more recent attempt to describe a library catalog's functions was made in 1998 with
Functional Requirements for Bibliographic RecordsFunctional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR ) is a conceptual entity–relationship model developed by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) that relates user tasks of retrieval and access in onlin ...
(FRBR), which defines four user tasks: find, identify, select, and obtain. A catalog helps to serve as an
inventory Inventory (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American English ...
or
bookkeeping Bookkeeping is the recording of financial transactions, and is part of the process of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement ' Measurement is the number, numerical quantification (science), quantification of the variab ...
of the library's contents. If an item is not found in the catalog, the user may continue their search at another library.


Catalog card

A catalog card is an individual entry in a library catalog containing bibliographic information, including the author's name, title, and location. Eventually the mechanization of the modern era brought the efficiencies of card catalogs. It was around 1780 that the first card catalog appeared in Vienna. It solved the problems of the structural catalogs in marble and clay from ancient times and the later codex—handwritten and bound—catalogs that were manifestly inflexible and presented high costs in editing to reflect a changing collection. The first cards may have been French playing cards, which in the 1700s were blank on one side. In November 1789, during the
dechristianization of France during the French Revolution The dechristianization of France during the French Revolution is a conventional description of the results of a number of separate policies conducted by various governments of France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link= ...
, the process of collecting all books from religious houses was initiated. Using these books in a new system of public libraries included an inventory of all books. The backs of the playing cards contained the bibliographic information for each book and this inventory became known as the "French Cataloging Code of 1791". English inventor
Francis Ronalds Sir Francis Ronalds FRS FRS may also refer to: Government and politics * Facility Registry System, a centrally managed Environmental Protection Agency database that identifies places of environmental interest in the United States * Family Re ...
began using a catalog of cards to manage his growing book collection around 1815, which has been denoted as the first practical use of the system. In the mid-1800s,
Natale Battezzati Natale Battezzati (1818–1882) was a printer and publishing house owner in Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome. Milan served as t ...
, an Italian publisher, developed a card system for booksellers in which cards represented authors, titles and subjects. Very shortly afterward,
Melvil Dewey Melville Louis Kossuth "Melvil" Dewey (December 10, 1851 – December 26, 1931) was an influential American librarian and educator, inventor of the Dewey Decimal Classification, Dewey Decimal system of library classification, a founder of the Lake ...

Melvil Dewey
and other American librarians began to champion the card catalog because of its great expandability. In some libraries books were cataloged based on the size of the book while other libraries organized based only on the author's name. This made finding a book difficult. The first issue of ''
Library Journal ''Library Journal'' is an American trade publication for librarian A librarian is a person who works professionally in a library, providing access to information, and sometimes social or technical programming, or instruction on information lit ...
'', the official publication of the
American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a ...
(ALA), made clear that the most pressing issues facing libraries were the lack of a standardized catalog and an agency to administer a centralized catalog. Responding to the standardization matter, the ALA formed a committee that quickly recommended the "Harvard College-size" cards as used at Harvard and the Boston Athenaeum. However, in the same report, the committee also suggested that a larger card, approximately , would be preferable. By the end of the nineteenth century, the bigger card won out, mainly to the fact that the card was already the "postal size" used for postcards. Melvil Dewey saw well beyond the importance of standardized cards and sought to outfit virtually all facets of library operations. To the end he established a Supplies Department as part of the ALA, later to become a stand-alone company renamed the Library Bureau. In one of its early distribution catalogs, the bureau pointed out that "no other business had been organized with the definite purpose of supplying libraries". With a focus on machine-cut
index card An index card (or record card in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codifica ...
s and the trays and cabinets to contain them, the Library Bureau became a veritable furniture store, selling tables, chairs, shelves and display cases, as well as date stamps, newspaper holders, hole punchers, paper weights, and virtually anything else a library could possibly need. With this one-stop shopping service, Dewey left an enduring mark on libraries across the country. Uniformity spread from library to library. Dewey and others devised a system where books were organized by subject, then alphabetized based on the author's name. Each book was assigned a
call number A library classification is a system of knowledge organization by which library resources are arranged and ordered systematically. Library classifications a notational system that represents the order of topics in the classification and allows i ...
which identified the subject and location, with a decimal point dividing different sections of the call number. The call number on the card matched a number written on the spine of each book. In 1860,
Ezra Abbot Ezra Abbot (April 28, 1819, Jackson, Maine Jackson is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in dif ...

Ezra Abbot
began designing a card catalog that was easily accessible and secure for keeping the cards in order; he managed this by placing the cards on edge between two wooden blocks. He published his findings in the annual report of the library for 1863 and they were adopted by many American libraries. Work on the catalog began in 1862 and within the first year, 35,762 catalog cards had been created. Catalog cards were ; the Harvard College size. One of the first acts of the newly formed
American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a ...
in 1908 was to set standards for the size of the cards used in American libraries, thus making their manufacture and the manufacture of cabinets, uniform.
OCLC OCLC, Inc., doing business as A trade name, trading name, or business name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) or alias () is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, ...
, major supplier of catalog cards, printed the last one in October 2015. In a physical catalog, the information about each item is on a separate card, which is placed in order in the catalog drawer depending on the type of record. If it was a non-fiction record, Charles A. Cutter's classification system would help the patron find the book they wanted in a quick fashion. Cutter's classification system is as follows: * A: encyclopedias, periodicals, society publications * B–D: philosophy, psychology, religion * E–G: biography, history, geography, travels * H–K: social sciences, law * L–T: science, technology * X–Z: philology, book arts, bibliography


Types

Traditionally, there are the following types of catalog: * ''Author'' catalog: a formal catalog, sorted alphabetically according to the names of authors, editors, illustrators, etc. * Subject catalog: a catalog that sorted based on the Subject. * ''Title'' catalog: a formal catalog, sorted alphabetically according to the article of the entries. * ''Dictionary'' catalog: a catalog in which all entries (author, title, subject, series) are interfiled in a single alphabetical order. This was a widespread form of card catalog in North American libraries prior to the introduction of the computer-based catalog. * '' Keyword'' catalog: a subject catalog, sorted alphabetically according to some system of keywords. * Mixed alphabetic catalog forms: sometimes, one finds a mixed author / title, or an author / title / keyword catalog. * ''Systematic'' catalog: a subject catalog, sorted according to some systematic subdivision of subjects. Also called a ''Classified'' catalog. * ''Shelf list'' catalog: a formal catalog with entries sorted in the same order as bibliographic items are shelved. This catalog may also serve as the primary inventory for the library.


History

The earliest librarians created rules for how to record the details of the catalog. By 700 BCE the Assyrians followed the rules set down by the Babylonians. The seventh century BCE Babylonian
Library of Ashurbanipal The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, named after Ashurbanipal, the last great monarch, king of the Assyrian Empire, is a collection of more than 30,000 clay tablets and fragments containing texts of all kinds from the 7th century BC, including text ...

Library of Ashurbanipal
was led by the librarian Ibnissaru who prescribed a catalog of clay tablets by subject. Subject catalogs were the rule of the day, and author catalogs were unknown at that time. The frequent use of subject-only catalogs hints that there was a code of practice among early catalog librarians and that they followed some set of rules for subject assignment and the recording of the details of each item. These rules created efficiency through consistency—the catalog librarian knew how to record each item without reinventing the rules each time, and the reader knew what to expect with each visit. The task of recording the contents of libraries is more than an instinct or a compulsive tic exercised by librarians; it began as a way to broadcast to readers what is available among the stacks of materials. The tradition of open stacks of printed books is paradigmatic to modern American library users, but ancient libraries featured stacks of clay or prepaper scrolls that resisted browsing. As librarian,
Gottfried van Swieten Gottfried Freiherr van Swieten (29 October 1733 – 29 March 1803) was a Dutch-born Austrian diplomat, librarian, and government official who served the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges R ...
introduced the world's first card catalog (1780) as the Prefect of the Imperial Library, Austria. During the early modern period, libraries were organized through the direction of the librarian in charge. There was no universal method, so some books were organized by language or book material, for example, but most scholarly libraries had recognizable categories (like philosophy, saints, mathematics). The first library to list titles alphabetically under each subject was the
Sorbonne The Sorbonne ( , , ) is a building in the Latin Quarter The Latin Quarter of Paris (french: Quartier latin, ) is an area in the 5th and the 6th arrondissements of Paris The city of Paris is divided into twenty ''municipal arrondissem ...

Sorbonne
library in
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
. Library catalogs originated as
manuscript A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document written by hand – or, once practical typewriter A typewriter is a or machine for characters. Typically, a typewriter has an array ...

manuscript
lists, arranged by format (
folio The term "folio", from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the po ...
, quarto, etc.) or in a rough alphabetical arrangement by author. Before printing, librarians had to enter new acquisitions into the margins of the catalog list until a new one was created. Because of the nature of creating texts at this time, most catalogs were not able to keep up with new acquisitions. When the printing press became well-established, strict cataloging became necessary because of the influx of printed materials. Printed catalogs, sometimes called ''dictionary catalogs'', began to be published in the early modern period and enabled scholars outside a library to gain an idea of its contents. Copies of these in the library itself would sometimes be interleaved with blank leaves on which additions could be recorded, or bound as ''guardbooks'' in which slips of paper were bound in for new entries. Slips could also be kept loose in cardboard or tin boxes, stored on shelves. The first card catalogs appeared in the late 19th century after the standardization of the 5 in. x 3 in. card for personal filing systems, enabling much more flexibility, and towards the end of the 20th century the online public access catalog was developed (see below). These gradually became more common as some libraries progressively abandoned such other catalog formats as paper slips (either loose or in sheaf catalog form), and guardbooks. The beginning of the Library of Congress's catalog card service in 1911 led to the use of these cards in the majority of American libraries. An equivalent scheme in the United Kingdom was operated by the
British National Bibliography The British National Bibliography (BNB) was established at the British Museum in 1949 to publish a list of the books, journals and serials that are published in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, com ...
from 1956 and was subscribed to by many public and other libraries. * c. Seventh century BCE, the royal
Library of Ashurbanipal The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, named after Ashurbanipal, the last great monarch, king of the Assyrian Empire, is a collection of more than 30,000 clay tablets and fragments containing texts of all kinds from the 7th century BC, including text ...

Library of Ashurbanipal
at
Nineveh Nineveh (; ar, نَيْنَوَىٰ '; syr, ܢܝܼܢܘܹܐ, Nīnwē; akk, ) was an ancient Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a n kingdom and of the that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th ...
had 30,000 clay tablets, in several languages, organized according to shape and separated by content. Assurbanipal sent scribes to transcribe works in other libraries within the kingdom. * c. Third century BCE,
Pinakes The ''Pinakes'' ( grc, Πίνακες "tables", plural of ) is a lost bibliography, bibliographic work composed by Callimachus (310/305–240 BCE) that is popularly considered to be the first library catalog; its contents were based upon the hol ...
by
Callimachus Callimachus (; grc-gre, Καλλίμαχος, ''Kallimakhos''; 310/305– 240 BC) was a native of the Greek colony of Cyrene, Libya, Cyrene, Ancient Libya, Libya. He was a poet, critic and scholar at the Library of Alexandria and enjoyed the p ...
at the
Library of Alexandria The Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. The Library was part of a larger research institution called the Musaeum, Mouseion, which was dedicated to the ...

Library of Alexandria
was arguably the first library catalog. * 9th century: Libraries of Carolingian Schools and
monasteries A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical l ...
employ library catalog system to organize and loan out books. * c. 10th century: The Persian city of Shiraz's library had over 300 rooms and thorough catalogs to help locate texts these were kept in the storage chambers of the library and they covered every topic imaginable. * c. 1246: Library at
Amiens Cathedral The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Amiens (french: Basilique Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens), or simply Amiens Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic church architecture, church. The cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Amiens. It is situated on a sl ...
in
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
uses call numbers associated with the location of books. * c. 1542–1605: The
Mughul The Mughal, Mogul, or Moghul Empire was an early modern empire in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countr ...
emperor Akbar was a warrior, sportsman, and famous cataloger. He organized a catalog of the Imperial Library's 24,000 texts, and he did most of the classifying himself. * 1595: ''Nomenclator'' of
Leiden University Library Leiden University Libraries is a library A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or electronic media, digital a ...
appears, the first printed catalog of an institutional library. * Renaissance Era: In Paris, France The Sorbonne Library was one of the first libraries to list titles alphabetically based on the subject they happened to fall under. This became a new organization method for catalogs. * Early 1600s: Sir Thomas Bodley divided cataloging into three different categories. History, poesy, and philosophy. * 1674: Thomas Hyde's catalog for the Bodleian Library. * 1791: The French Cataloging Code of 1791 * 1815:
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
sells his personal library to the US government to establish the
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
. He had organized his library by adapting
Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, (; 22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), also known as Lord Verulam, was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General for England and Wales, Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of K ...

Francis Bacon
's organization of knowledge, specifically using Memory, Reason, and Imagination as his three areas, which were then broken down into 44 subdivisions. * 1874/1886: (English: Wroclaw instructions) by
Karl Dziatzko Karl Franz Otto Dziatzko (27 January 1842 - 13 January 1903, Göttingen Göttingen (, , ; nds, Chöttingen) is a university city in Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German s ...

Karl Dziatzko
* 1899: (PI) (English: Prussian instructions) for scientific libraries in German-speaking countries and beyond * 1932: DIN 1505 * 1938: (BA) (English: Berlin instructions) for public libraries in Germany * 1961:
Paris Principles The Paris Principles were defined at the first International Workshop on National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights held in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,0 ...
(PP), internationally agreed upon principles for cataloging * 1967:
Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules ''Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules'' (AACR) were an international library cataloging Technical standard, standard. First published in 1967 and edited by C. Sumner Spalding, a second edition (AACR2) edited by Michael Gorman (librarian), Michael Go ...
(AACR) * 1971:
International Standard Bibliographic DescriptionThe International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) is a set of rules produced by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to create a bibliographic description in a standard, human-readable form, especiall ...
(ISBD) * 1976/1977: (RAK) (English: Rules for alphabetical cataloging) in Germany and Austria More about the early history of library catalogs has been collected in 1956 by Strout.


Sorting

In a title catalog, one can distinguish two sort orders: * In the ''grammatical'' sort order (used mainly in older catalogs), the most important word of the title is the first sort term. The importance of a word is measured by grammatical rules; for example, the first noun may be defined to be the most important word. * In the ''mechanical'' sort order, the first word of the title is the first sort term. Most new catalogs use this scheme, but still include a trace of the grammatical sort order: they neglect an article (The, A, etc.) at the beginning of the title. The grammatical sort order has the advantage that often, the most important word of the title is also a good keyword (question 3), and it is the word most users remember first when their memory is incomplete. However, it has the disadvantage that many elaborate grammatical rules are needed, so that only expert users may be able to search the catalog without help from a librarian. In some catalogs, persons' names are standardized (i. e., the name of the person is always cataloged and sorted in a standard form) even if it appears differently in the library material. This standardization is achieved by a process called
authority control In library and information science, library science, authority control is a process that organizes bibliographic information, for example in library catalogs by using a single, distinct spelling of a name (heading) or a numeric identifier for ea ...
. Simply put, authority control is defined as the establishment and maintenance of consistent forms of – such as names, subjects, and titles – to be used as headings in bibliographic records. An advantage of the authority control is that it is easier to answer question 2 (Which works of some author does the library have?). On the other hand, it may be more difficult to answer question 1 (Does the library have some specific material?) if the material spells the author in a peculiar variant. For the cataloger, it may incur too much work to check whether ''Smith, J.'' is ''Smith, John'' or ''Smith, Jack''. For some works, even the title can be standardized. The technical term for this is ''
uniform titleA uniform title in library cataloging is a distinctive title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualificatio ...
''. For example, translations and re-editions are sometimes sorted under their original title. In many catalogs, parts of the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
are sorted under the standard name of the book(s) they contain. The plays of William Shakespeare are another frequently cited example of the role played by a ''uniform title'' in the library catalog. Many complications about alphabetic sorting of entries arise. Some examples: * Some languages know sorting conventions that differ from the language of the catalog. For example, some
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
catalogs sort ''IJ'' as ''Y''. Should an English catalog follow this suit? And should a Dutch catalog sort non-Dutch words the same way? There are also pseudo- ligatures which sometimes come at the beginning of a word, such as Œdipus. See also
Collation Collation is the assembly of written information into a standard order. Many systems of collation are based on numerical order or alphabetical order Alphabetical order is a system whereby character string In computer programming Comp ...
and
Locale (computer software) In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and softwar ...
. * Some titles contain numbers, for example '' 2001: A Space Odyssey''. Should they be sorted as numbers, or spelled out as ''Two thousand and one''? (Book-titles that begin with non-numeral-non-alphabetic glyphs such as #1 are similarly very difficult. Books which have
diacritics A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that ...
in the first letter are a similar but far-more-common problem; casefolding of the title is standard, but stripping the diacritics off can change the meaning of the words.) * '''' or ''Balzac, Honoré de''? '''' or ''Gasset, José Ortega y''? (In the first example, "de Balzac" is the legal and cultural last name; splitting it apart would be the equivalent of listing a book about tennis under "-enroe, John Mac-" for instance. In the second example, culturally and legally the lastname is "Ortega y Gasset" which is sometimes shortened to simply "Ortega" as the masculine lastname; again, splitting is culturally incorrect by the standards of the culture of the author, but defies the normal understanding of what a 'last name' is—i.e. the final word in the ordered list of names that define a person—in cultures where multi-word-lastnames are rare. See also authors such as
Sun Tzu Sun Tzu ( ; zh, t=孫子, p=Sūnzǐ) was a Chinese general, military strategist A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense a ...
, where in the author's culture the surname is traditionally printed first, and thus the 'last name' in terms of order is in fact the person's first-name culturally.)


Classification

In a subject catalog, one has to decide on which
classification Classification is a process related to categorization Categorization is the human ability and activity of recognizing shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience Experience refers to conscious , an English Paracels ...
system to use. The cataloger will select appropriate
subject headingAn index term, subject term, subject heading, or descriptor, in information retrieval, is a term that captures the essence of the topic of a document. Index terms make up a controlled vocabulary for use in bibliographic records. They are an integr ...
s for the bibliographic item and a unique classification number (sometimes known as a "call number") which is used not only for identification but also for the purposes of shelving, placing items with similar subjects near one another, which aids in browsing by library users, who are thus often able to take advantage of
serendipity Serendipity is an unplanned fortunate discovery. Serendipity is a common occurrence throughout the history of product invention and scientific discovery. Serendipity is also seen as a potential design principle for online activities that would pr ...

serendipity
in their search process.


Online catalogs

Online cataloging, through such systems as the
Dynix DYNIX (''DYNamic UnIX'') was a Unix-like operating system developed by Sequent Computer Systems, based on 4.2BSDThe History of the Berkeley Software Distribution begins in the 1970s. 1BSD (PDP-11) The earliest distributions of Unix from Bell La ...
software developed in 1983 and used widely through the late 1990s,Automation Systems Installed
Counting by Library organizations.
has greatly enhanced the
usability Usability can be described as the capacity of a system to provide a condition for its users to perform the tasks safely, effectively, and efficiently while enjoying the experience. In software engineering, usability is the degree to which a sof ...

usability
of catalogs, thanks to the rise of
MARC standards MARC (machine-readable cataloging) standards are a set of digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of electro ...
(an
acronym An acronym is a word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign langu ...
for MAchine Readable Cataloging) in the 1960s. Rules governing the creation of MARC catalog records include not only formal cataloging rules such as
Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules ''Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules'' (AACR) were an international library cataloging Technical standard, standard. First published in 1967 and edited by C. Sumner Spalding, a second edition (AACR2) edited by Michael Gorman (librarian), Michael Go ...
, second edition (AACR2),
Resource Description and AccessResource Description and Access (RDA) is a standard for descriptive cataloging initially released in June 2010, providing instructions and guidelines on formulating bibliographic data. Intended for use by libraries A library is a curated col ...
(RDA) but also rules specific to MARC, available from both the U.S.
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
and from
OCLC OCLC, Inc., doing business as A trade name, trading name, or business name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) or alias () is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, ...
, which builds and maintains
WorldCat #REDIRECT WorldCat#REDIRECT WorldCat WorldCat is a union catalog that itemizes the collections of 15,600 libraries A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community ...
. MARC was originally used to automate the creation of physical catalog cards, but its use evolved into direct access to the MARC computer files during the search process. OPACs have enhanced usability over traditional card formats because: # The online catalog does not need to be sorted statically; the user can choose author, title, keyword, or systematic order dynamically. # Most online catalogs allow searching for any word in a title or other field, increasing the ways to find a record. # Many online catalogs allow links between several variants of an author's name. # The elimination of paper cards has made the information more accessible to many people with disabilities, such as the
visually impaired Visual impairment, also known as vision impairment or vision loss, is a decreased ability to visual perception, see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses. Some also include those who have a decreased ability ...
,
wheelchair A wheelchair is a chair One of the basic pieces of furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and ...

wheelchair
users, and those who suffer from mold allergies or other paper- or building-related problems. # Physical storage space is considerably reduced. # Updates are significantly more efficient.


See also

*
Cataloging In library and information science Library and information science (LIS) (sometimes given as the plural library and information sciences) is a branch of academic disciplines that deal generally with organization, access, and collection of informat ...
*
International Standard Bibliographic DescriptionThe International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) is a set of rules produced by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to create a bibliographic description in a standard, human-readable form, especiall ...
(ISBD) *
Social cataloging application A social cataloging application is a web application A web application (or web app) is application software that runs on a web server, unlike computer-based software programs that are run locally on the operating system An operating system ( ...


References


Sources

*


Further reading

* * * * * * Taylor, Archer (1986) ''Book Catalogues: Their Varieties and Uses''; 2nd ed., introductions, corrections and additions by W. P. Barlow, Jr., New York: Frederic C. Beil, Publisher (Previous ed.: Chicago: Newberry Library, 1957) * Hanson, James C. M. ''Catalog rules; author and title entries'' (Chicago: American Library Association. 1908) {{DEFAULTSORT:Library Catalog Library equipment