|Elements of a Catalog Card-LIS Cafe-By Asheesh Kamal|
A library catalog or library catalogue is a register of all bibliographic items found in a library or group of libraries, such as a network of libraries at several locations. 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 in an anthology), or a group of library materials (e.g., a trilogy), 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 of the libraries that have retained their physical card catalog post a sign advising the last year that the card catalog was updated. Some libraries have eliminated their card catalog in favour of the OPAC for the purpose of saving space for other use, such as additional shelving.
The largest library catalog in the world is the WorldCat.org union catalog managed by the non-profit library cooperative OCLC, based in Dublin, Ohio. As of January 2016, WorldCat.org has over 360,000,000 catalog records and over 2 billion library holdings.
Charles Ammi Cutter made the first explicit statement regarding the objectives of a bibliographic system in his Rules for a Printed Dictionary Catalog in 1876. 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. 1960/61 Cutter's objectives were revised by Lubetzky and the Conference on Cataloging Principles (CCP) in Paris. The latest attempt to describe a library catalog's goals and functions was made in 1998 with Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) which defines four user tasks: find, identify, select, and obtain.
A catalog also serves as an inventory or bookkeeping of the library's contents. If an item (a book) is not found in the catalog, the user may continue her search at another library. Library thieves, who may be staff or regular visitors of the library, risk discovery if an item listed in the catalog is missing from the shelves. To reduce this risk, a thief may also steal the catalog card describing the item.
Traditionally, there are the following types of catalog:
1. Author catalog: a formal catalog, sorted alphabetically according to the names of authors, editors, illustrators, etc.
2. Title catalog: a formal catalog, sorted alphabetically according to the article of the entries.
3. 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.
4. Keyword catalog: a subject catalog, sorted alphabetically according to some system of keywords.
5. Mixed alphabetic catalog forms: sometimes, one finds a mixed author / title, or an author / title / keyword catalog.
6. Systematic catalog: a subject catalog, sorted according to some systematic subdivision of subjects. Also called a Classified catalog.
7. 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.
The Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR) are included in a national cataloging code, first published in 1967. AACR2 stands for the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition. It is published jointly by the American Library Association, the Canadian Library Association, and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in the UK. The editor is Michael Gorman, a British-born librarian living in the Chicago area and honored by both the ALA and CILIP. AACR2 is designed for use in the construction of catalogues and other lists in general libraries of all sizes. The rules cover the description of, and the provision of access points for, all library materials commonly collected at the present time.
Despite the claim to be 'Anglo-American', the first edition of AACR was published in 1967 in somewhat distinct North American and British texts. The second edition of 1978 unified the two sets of rules (adopting the British spelling 'cataloguing') and brought them in line with the International Standard Bibliographic Description. Libraries wishing to migrate from the previous North American text were obliged to implement 'desuperimposition', a substantial change in the form of headings for corporate bodies.
1. "A global library resource". www.oclc.org. Retrieved 2016-01-15.
2. Public Libraries in the United States of America then History, Condition, and Management. 1876.
3. Vennard, Martin (April 24, 2013) The curious tale of the stolen books, BBC News
4. Wiegand, Wayne; Davis, Donald G., Jr. (1994). Encyclopedia of Library History. Garland Publishing, Inc. pp. 605–606. ISBN 0824057872.