Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Card Catalog

[A catalog card from The Card Catalog. Click for a larger view.]

From the Library of Congress: The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2017) is an illustrated history of the card catalog, from cuneiform days onward. With full-size photographs of more than 200 cards from the Library of Congress catalog.

Even if you prefer e-books, it’d be a mistake to buy this book in digital form. You’d miss out on the book pocket and circulation card affixed to the front pastedown (also known as the inside front cover). Not to mention the pastedown itself.

For more about card catalogs, see Nicholson Baker’s 1994 New Yorker essay “Discards.” And more recently, Tim Carmody’s “Card catalogs and the secret history of modernity” ( Thanks to Gunther for the Carmody link.

See also this library slip (1941, 1992) and this one (filled with musicians’ signatures). And see also the Catalog Card Generator.

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