Talk:Library catalog

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What is this supposed to be?[edit]

  • [[Media:[[Media:]]]]== Comments on Talk:Catalog prior to move to [[Talk:Library catalog[[Media:]]:38, 20 April 2007 (UTC)r


I am not sure about all of the English library terminology, as I have learnt it using German books.

Could some library expert check the following: subject catalog (as opposed to formal catalog); shelf order catalog; grammatic and mechanic sort order.
There should also be a clear distinction between Stichwort (an important word from the title) and Schlagwort (a word describing the subject of the bibliographic item, not necessarily appearing in the title). Which of the two is a keyword? -- dnjansen 13:55 Mar 2, 2003 (UTC)

Huh is this the German wikipedia ? ;) . Seriously, I think your history of catalogs missed out the use of microfiche/microflim catalogs. I think it went from book catalog to card catalog to microflim (co-existing with card), then to online catalogs (OPAC).

Instead of a shelf order catalog, libraries generate a "shelf list" of the titles for the staff to take inventory; a true "classified catalog" for the public would list items that have more than one subject under more than one classification number. Grammatic and mechanic sort order is usually described as sorting "word by word" or "letter by letter", respectively. "Keyword" would be the translation of Schlagwort, which refers to all the words in the catalog record, except for the stop words. We use the phrase "title keyword" when this is limited to the words in the title. GUllman 06:07 Mar 3, 2003 (UTC)

How about catalogs sorted in accession order? Is there a special term for that? Aarontay 11:35, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Thank you. (Maybe all of the following should be moved to Collation, but I haven't got time just now to think it through.) Actually, I think that the opposition "word by word" – "letter by letter" is different from the opposition "grammatic" – "mechanic".

[deleted a lenghty example of grammatic vs. mechanic, which seems to be obsolete. -- dnjansen]

-- dnjansen 23:27 Mar 14, 2003 (UTC)

hi bros who are out there

The "Catalog" entry is quite incomplete and also inaccurate. For example, a "grammatical" catalog as described here exists nowhere. The "grammatical" principle was applied, in a very different way, in former German catalogs, now all defunct. The article does not even mention the most important code of cataloging rules, the AACR. For some material see: "On the theory of library catalogs and search engines", at

B. Eversberg, UB Braunschweig

I added an entry for the dictionary catalog -- very important in the late 19th century development of card catalogs. LaMona 20:44, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
A dictionary catalog is also known as an alphabetical catalog right? Aarontay 11:35, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

The text you refer to is yours. As you are (probably) the copyright holder, I invite you to copy the relevant parts of the text to this article. I see at least the following points where your contribution would be valuable:
  • How did cataloguing come about?
  • quality criteria for catalogues: reliability, serendipity, depth.
  • multidimensionality of OPACs
  • Problems of catalogues: the user should be encouraged to make more attempts, to retry.
On the other hand, I find that your standard situations of catalogue use are already fully covered by today's version of the article. Perhaps they have to be adapted in view of the user tasks described in FRBR.
The Preussische Instruktionen (older German catalogue rules prescribing "grammatic" sort order) are defunct, but there are still large catalogues sorted in this manner. I also want this article to be helpful to people who want to know how to consult an (old or new) catalogue. The "grammatic" sort order is not a pure German invention, as the British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books sorts anonymous publications in a similar way.
Although the article omits AACR, it does mention the ISBD. Is ISBD superseded?
Some comments on your text
  • Sorry, I cannot find a general and comprehensive theory of catalogues in your article.
  • Size: Maybe it is even better to compare bibliographies with search engines, as a bibliography also tries to be comprehensive and complete.
  • Authority control: Search engines like Google also include an exact and elaborate set of rules to come up with the "most relevant" document, given a search term. However, Google does not publish its rules in detail, to avoid that people abuse them.
  • The text seems to be translated from German -- there is one "dagegen" left in the English version.
-- dnjansen 08:59 6 Jun 2003 (UTC)

[Two additional contributions concern have catalogs other than for libraries, and have been moved back to Talk:Catalog from this spot.]

comment on "external links / very innovative ..."[edit]

It may not be clear to the casual observer that the sites listed by this source jump over two hurdles to be considered "very innovative": (1)Creativity for reasons listed by the site author, and (2) this creativity is displayed exclusively on sites that got their OPAC from Innovative Interfaces, a big vendor in library automation.

I do not thnk the site administrator is being misleading in not specifically stating the brand preference. In fact it will be obvious to all librarians, but I wish your link to his fine site would reflect that the catalogs referred to are all one vendor's product in a field with several major players and many minor ones.

I wish your link would add something like " ... on an Innovative Interfaces catalog ..." between "... functionality" and "(http: ..." in the present anchor.

-- Zoltan Tomory, M.L.S. (

The picture of a card catalog[edit]

I am uncomfortable with having an old card catalog as the illustration for a library catalog. It is not an example of what a catalog presently is, except in rare exceptions. I will wait a while for discussion and then remove it if no-one makes a good case for having it there. Rlitwin 14:20, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Library catalogs have been card catalogs for most of history, until less than a generation ago, so I would add a photo of an online catalog instead of removing the card catalog. There are photos at the article for OPAC (for Online Public Access Catalog) -- a term that has not yet caught on with the general public. Many people still call the OPAC a "card catalog", since it's a useful analogy to think of when one is searching, and therefore a useful illustration at the beginning of this article. GUllman 17:06, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
A picture of a printed book catalog and a COM catalog might also be considered. (unsigned)
Card catalogues are far from rare, even today. I have access to a university library which holds somewhere in the region of a million volumes (indexed by an OPAC, and I'd hate to have to use a card catalogue for a such a large collection), but I also frequently use my college library (because it's nearer) which I estimate has holdings of the order of ten thousand volumes, indexed by card. I've never considered this particularly unusual or met anyone who does. In addition, there are likely to be very many much larger libraries in the developing world, dilligently tended by people who value books and love knowledge, whose indexes are not computerised. I'd like to second GUllman's comments above and request that the image of a card catalogue be retained. 01:41, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
I think it's embarrassing to show ONLY pictures of card catalogs for this entry. I would argue that most users' ideas of a search today are envisioned in a Google-like concepts. Libraries have adapted to this in their OPAC systems. Why should we continue to represent libraries through images of 19th-Century technology? I suggest that one image of a card catalog would be sufficient in this entry. The remaining images should represent what most patrons encounter during library usage. I don't remember the last time I saw a card catalog. In fact, I'm young enough to have never used one at all. I'm willing to bet that user is in the minority when it comes to card catalog usage. October 14, 2007. - R. Dano

"Formal" catalogs[edit]

As per a much earlier comment above, I am not sure why we should refer to catalogs as "formal." I would prefer removing that term.

Origin of the card catalog: expertise sought[edit]

Hello, I don't know much about catalogs and cataloguing, but in the course of doing research for the article Gottfried van Swieten, I encountered the claim that he implemented the first card catalog in 1780, as part of his job as director of the Austrian Imperial Library in Vienna. (The source I used was the web site of the Austrian National Library, the modern successor to the Imperial Library.)

The claim that van Swieten's catalog was the first contradicts the view given in this article, which says that the card catalogs first appeared in the early 19th century in France. The source for this is an article in Library Quarterly from the 1950's by Ruth Stout. (Note: my own source says that the French were inspired by van Swieten's work.)

Is there anyone out there who has some expertise on this topic and might be able to resolve this contradiction?

Thanks very much, Opus33 (talk) 00:09, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Changing Access to Public, Research Library Catalogs[edit]

Few would disagree that library catalogues are necessary to use a library for research. The researchers' (or my) normal procedure was to find an article bound deep in the library, and either read it or skim it while standing, looking for an earlier reference to an idea. Obscure journals required trips to the card catalog to locate these & check the library's coverage. Consequently, the use of laptops to access an electronic card catalog from the 'stacks' was revolutionary.

UC Davis, in California, excels in botany & agronomy. However, today I have found it denies electronic access to its card catalog from independent scholars, like me, including access from outside the campus - even to see whether the library carries an obscure book or journal. [See correction at end.] Is this new restriction unique to this school?

Once paper card catalogs are replaced, it follows that research will be restricted to academics and other professionals. It has only been since WWII that the 'professional scientist' has existed; so this rapid restriction of research libraries to professionals (which excludes we debilitated citizens of California) is revolutionary, and would appear to demand a section here on the access of library catalogs. 'Science', in some people's definition, had always required the free exchange of information: its publication in vastly expensive journals was permitted only because they were freely available in libraries. Consequently, such a seemingly small thing as restricting library catalogs has dramatic repercussions. If UCD is not unique, this deserves mention.

Has any librarian been following the restriction of public library use?

Geologist (talk) 01:07, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Since writing the above, I have been able to find a book on a shelf from outside UCD's campus. This required taking a different path to the catalogs. Nevertheless, I shall leave the above query for examples in place (although one may remove it, if inappropriate), for I was initially directed to the following license restrictions of library services at UCD,

which contains:

Electronic resources available through the UC Davis libraries are licensed by the university for non-commercial use by UC faculty, staff, students and on-site users, for educational or research purposes only. Additional restrictions may apply to on-site users of certain databases.

Such contradictions almost requires that access to card catalogues, which are now electronic resources, be kept track of by Wikipedia contributors; for a lack of access at public universities would affect the content of many articles (such as those on 'science').

Geologist (talk) 02:11, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Standards about LA....[edit]

-- (talk) 05:17, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 05:19, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 05:20, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 05:23, 19 April 2010 (UTC)


Am I missing something or should the "not" be removed in "The card catalog was not a familiar sight to library users for generations"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:44, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Two cases of vandalism unspotted on this page[edit]

The following two edits vandalised this page:

  • this one deleted an entire section ("Types")
  • this one introduced random line breaks at different columns in different parts of the text in a way I can only see as intentionally vandalistic. I don't think any other changes were introduced.

These edits are separated in time and from very different IPs so I do not think there was conspiracy between them.

I have corrected these as best I can. Please be on the lookout for such vandalism in the future; it would have been much easier to fix if caught before other substantive changes were made.


--MegaSloth (talk) 22:19, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Broken link "British National Bibliography"[edit]

In the "History" section I think the broken link "British National Bibliography" is supposed to be British National Library. Does anyone know? Seiberth (talk) 04:41, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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