Library Catalogues: Objectives


Library catalogue is a complete, organized record of a library’s contents which refers to:

a. maps

b. periodical archives

c. artwork

d. computer files

e. microfilm

f. books.

Library catalogues are limited to a particular library or a single group of libraries, but nearly all library catalogues today share the same basic search features and organization. After the advent of online catalogues in the ’70s, physical card catalogues became nearly obsolete, but some libraries retain their card catalogues for decorative or commemorative purposes. Library catalogue is a list 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 such as:

a. books

b. computer files

c. graphics

d. regalia

e. cartographic materials

They are considered as 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 as far as it is relevant to the catalog and to the users of the library.

It was seen that, a card catalog was a familiar sight to library users for generations, but it has been effectively replaced by the online public access catalog. 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.

Library is major collections house of materials on various different topics and in many different formats. The challenge in making these things available for the use of library patrons is letting those patrons know what is in the library collection. This is the reason for having a library catalog and for taking the time to correctly catalog library materials.

It was observed that the library catalog could be compared with the index of a book. The index provides the reader with a way to find information in the book without having to read every page. The index denotes the students or the reader, the page on which the information about a specific subject can be present or located. In library catalog, the information denotes about the library user where materials meeting serves as a specific needs, with the call number of the book corresponding to the page number in an index.

It was found that the information contained in the cataloging record provides many access points as required by the patron that looks for the required information in the library. Usually, the library card catalog provided access by the author’s name, the title of an item, and the subject(s) covered in the item. Other points of access were additional authors, names of series, illustrators, and sometimes the titles of contents.

1.1.2 Objectives

During the year 1876, Charles Cutter suggested that the goals of a bibliographic catalogue while defining his Rules for Printed Dictionary Catalog justified that a person should be able to find a book knowing either the author, title, or subject; that the catalogue should show the user all books that a library owns by any given author, subject, or type of literature; and that it should be useful in guiding the user’s choices regarding a book’s edition and character. Cutter’s goals have remained relevant up until the present day, although several groups have made updates. The newest explanation of a catalogue’s function comes from the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, which states that a catalogue should enable four tasks: find, identify, select and obtain.

Further, Charles Ammi Cutter on his first explicit statement in respect to explaining objectives of a bibliographic system declared that his Rules for a Printed Dictionary Catalog was reflected in 1876. According to him, the objectives were:

To enable a person to find a book of which either is known.

the author the title the subject the category

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