Add a Comment to this Note (list members only)
Dead medium: the library card catalog
From: (Bruce Sterling)
Source(s): The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 279 Number 2 February 1997
ISSN 0276-9077

page 16

"The February Almanac
"Arts & Letters

"February 28: today is the last day that libraries can place orders for catalogue cards with the Library of Congress, which is halting production of the cards. Libraries wishing to maintain card catalogues will have to turn to commercial suppliers. The Library of Congress has since 1902 sold duplicates of its three-by-five-inch cards to libraries around the world. However, card sales have declined since 1968, when cataloguing information became available in an automated format; they fell to 579,879 last year, from a peak of 78 million in 1968. Critics of automated systems point out that errors in coversion have led to books' being lost and have limited cross-referencing options, and that the cards themselves == many of which are being discarded == have inherent historical value."

Bruce Sterling (