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Home :: Archive :: 1991 :: September ::
Card Catalogues vs Library Computers
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 223. Wednesday, 18 Sep 1991.
 
 
(1)	Date: 	Tue, 17 Sep 1991 13:08:20 -0400
	From: 	Ginger R. Daniel <danigr@morekypr.bitnet>
	Subj:   Old Card cat. vs the new way
 
(2)	Date: 	17 Sep 91 15:58:00 EDT
	From: 	Linda Simons <
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	Subj: 	CARD CATALOGS AND COMPUTER CATALOGS
 
(3)	From: 	Ken Steele <
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	Subj: 	Card Catalogues and the British Museum Library
	Date: 	Wed, 18 Sep 91 10:02:24 EDT
 
	
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date: 		Tue, 17 Sep 1991 13:08:20 -0400
From: 		Ginger R. Daniel <danigr@morekypr.bitnet>
Subject:     	Old Card cat. vs the new way
 
   Our university has one of those systems. It is called the LS2000
and it seems to be quite handy.  I think they have the old one stuffed
away in an old part of the library that no one uses, but I like the new
system. It's fun, and quick. But, there's always the problem of the system
going down.  This happens at our university every so often, but not too
frequently.  There was an accident during some construction and the
underground lines were dammaged. This caused quite a stir and there was
'mass' confusion.  Nevertheless, despite it's fragile nature, electronic
card catalogs are quite nice.
 
Miss Ginger R. Daniel              DANIGR@MOREKYPR.BITNET
 
(2)--------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date: 		17 Sep 91 15:58:00 EDT
From: 		Linda Simons <
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 >
Subject: 	CARD CATALOGS AND COMPUTER CATALOGS
 
As a newcomer to this list, I have not seen all of the correspondence
regarding the issue of card versus computer catalogs. AS a librarian,
however, I would like to add a few comments which I hope will be helpful.
One option available to libraries is the creation of a catalog on CD-ROM
as a backup to the online system. This is admittedly a less-than-perfect
substitute as it can be used by only one patron at a time (unless it can
be used with a local area network), and it is always outdated. Nevertheless,
it can be updated on a regular basis and provide fairly good access when the
system fails. I agree with Mike Post that a good system and a good computer
center can minimize downtime. The University of Dayton library has had very
little downtime with our Dynix system and Prime computer.
 
Also, the time consuming aspect of maintaining a card catalog is not the
producing of cards (most libraries today buy cards from one of the library
catalog utilities such as OCLC or RLIN) but the filing. In the old days
most libraries had huge amounts of cards waiting to be filed. When I was a
graduate student as the University of Illinois, we filed three times a year
in the undergraduate library catalog - Christmas vacation, Easter vacation,
and Summer break.  Needless to say, access to new books was not very good.
Added to the original filing is the task of pulling and correcting cards
(adding volume numbers, for example, when a multivolume set is issued
over a period of years) and then refiling. I don't know of any way to get
around the need for sheer human physical labor in card catalog maintenance.
Finally, if a person is interested in certain parts of a library collection
(such as the Shakespeare editions and criticism, for example), it may be
possible for the library or computer center to generate a personalized
catalog of those works.  It would need to be run periodically.  We have
generated lists like this for several members of our faculty and for
departments.
 
Linda Simons
University of Dayton
 
(3)--------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
From: 		Ken Steele <
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 >
Subject: 	Card Catalogues and the British Museum Library
Date: 		Wed, 18 Sep 91 10:02:24 EDT
 
I hope I'll be forgiven for putting my two cents' worth in here too.
Actually, Linda Simons shouldn't feel too badly at having missed some
of this discussion; so have we all.  It began as an announcement of
changes at the British Library, which appeared here on SHAKSPER and
elsewhere.  Evidently a dispute arose on another network, and some of the
replying salvos appeared here also.
 
Personally, I've never liked card catalogues very much (perhaps too
much time as my father's "research assistant" in my childhood...) and
vastly prefer the electronic counterpart.  I've found PC-based
bibliography software is also very useful, although the system goes
down more often than the library's own (and that's when I'm grateful
for paper copies I may have printed out, and of course back-ups).
 
One big advantage no-one has mentioned to electronic library
catalogues is, of course, that they can be networked worldwide.  The
University of Toronto (FELIX), University of California (MELVYL), and
University of Colorado (CARL) are among the ones I access most
frequently via Internet, to search for recent publications and
bibliographical information I may have misplaced.  (And now, also, for
the CHOICE Book Reviews, which really are a remarkable resource!)
In particular, searching the Toronto system by telephone before driving
in to campus lets me plan my day -- to know whether books are actually in
the stacks, which libraries have copies, etc.
 
I hope to see the day when Internet (or its equivalent) will allow us
all to search the MLA Bibliography, Oxford English Dictionary, Union
List of Serials, etc. from our homes or offices; and when we find the
listing in MLA, I hope we will be able to download it from the
electronic *Shakespeare Quarterly* mainframe, or request the latest
books from Oxford University Press in electronic form, via email, for
a more modest fee than the $75 or $80 Canadian that most scholarly
books seem to be costing these days...  Not only will indexes be a
thing of the past, but we'd never have to type another quotation again!
 
						Ken Steele
						University of Toronto
 

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