- Feb 2022
Indeed, the Jose-phinian card index owes its continued use to the failure to achieve a bound
catalog, until a successor card catalog comes along in 1848. Only the<br /> absence of a bound repertory allows the paper slip aggregate to answer all inquiries about a book ’ s whereabouts after 1781. Thus, a failed undertaking tacitly turns into a success story.
The Josephinian card index was created, in part on the ideas of Konrad Gessner's slip method, by accumulating slips which could be rearranged and then copied down permanently. While there was the chance that the original cards could be disordered, the fact that the approximately 300,000 cards in 205 small boxes were estimated to fill 50 to 60 folio volumes with time and expense to print it dissuaded the creation of a long desired compiled book of books. These problems along with the fact that new books being added later was sure to only compound problems of having a single reference. This failure to have a bound catalog of books unwittingly resulted in the success of the index card catalog.
The undertaking that begins on May 22, 1780, later to be called the Jose-phinian catalog , is extant in “ 205 small boxes ” in an airtight locker in the
Austrian National Library; it is widely, and often proudly, considered the first card catalog in library history.
The first card catalogue in library history, later known as the Josephinian catalog, began on May 22, 1780 in the Austrian National Library.