The Card Catalog Is Officially [Not!] Dead | Smithsonian

Long live the card catalog!

Well, at least that is still the motto of some, including here at the PRC Seminary library, where the wood cabinets and paper records (speared by metal rods) live on, judged well-nigh infallible and inviolable by some.


But, according to this recent post by the Smithsonian (Oct.5, 2015), the card catalog is officially dead. And that because the organization that produced the cards has ended its publishing of them. Everything it seems is online these days, including records of library holdings.

Long live the cloud(y) catalog!? Just doesn’t have the same ring – or aroma. No clunking of wood drawers; no flipping through real paper (much like the feel of a real book!); no smell of musty records. What sounds and smells come forth from WorldCat?!

So, yes, long live the card catalog! But because I am all about innovation and efficiency and today’s student and faculty having access to “the latest and greatest,” we do indeed have our library in the cloud too, searchable through the special program we use (Resourcemate).


Read all about the “death” of the card catalog below. But know that the old way is still alive and well at our library – for now. “O, it’s good to be alive!”, say our wooden cabinet and printed cards. 🙂

Source: The Card Catalog Is Officially Dead | Smart News | Smithsonian

It’s been a long time since most libraries were filled with card catalogs — drawers upon drawers of paper cards with information about books. But now, the final toll of the old-fashioned reference system’s death knell has rung for good: The library cooperative that printed and provided catalog cards has officially called it quits on the old-fashioned technology.

The news comes via the The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). The cooperative, which created the world’s first shared, online catalog system back in 1971, allowed libraries to order custom-printed cards that could then be put in their own analog cataloging systems. Now, says OCLC, it’s time to lay a “largely symbolic” system that’s well past its prime to rest.

“Print library catalogs served a useful purpose for more than 100 years, making resources easy to find within the walls of the physical library,” Skip Prichard, CEO of OCLC, said in a blog post. Now, with comprehensive, cloud-based catalogs like OCLC’s WorldCat available to libraries, there’s just no need for cards any longer.

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Published in: on October 23, 2015 at 2:05 PM  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. All things must come to an end. And I do remember doing research for papers using those card catalogs, but I can’t say that I really miss that particular aspect!


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