62 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2024
    1. Read [[Martha S. Jones]] in A New Face for an Old Library Catalog

      Discussion on harmful content in library card catalogs and finding aids.

      The methods used to describe archive material can not only be harmful to those using them, but they also provide a useful historical record of what cataloguers may have been thinking contemporaneously as they classified and organized materials.

      This is another potentially useful set of information to have while reading into historical topics from library card catalogs compared to modern-day digital methods.

      Is anyone using version control on their catalogs?

    1. but they left their own belovedmanuscript unclassied and undescribed, and thus it never attainedthe status of a holding, which it so obviously deserved, and wasinstead tacitly understood to be merely a “nding aid,” a piece offurniture, wholly vulnerable to passing predators, subject tojanitorial, rather than curatorial, jurisdiction—even though thiscatalog was, in truth, the one holding that people who entered thebuilding would be likely to have in common, to know how to usefrom childhood, even to love. A new administrator came by onemorning and noticed that there was some old furniture taking upspace that could be devoted to bound volumes of Technicalities, TheElectronic Library, and the Journal of Library Automation. The cardcatalog, for want of having been cataloged itself, was thrown into adumpster.
    2. The authors made one serious mistake, however. Although theyhad taken great pains to be sure that within their massive workevery book and manuscript stored in their building was representedby a three-by-ve page, and often by several pages, describing it,they had forgotten to devote any page, anywhere, to the very book

      that they had themselves been writing all those years.

      Baker describes the library card catalog as a massive book made up of 3 x 5 inch pages describing all the other books. Sadly he laments, they never bothered to catalog this meta-book itself.

    3. Together, over the years, they achieved what one of their earlymasters, Charles Ammi Cutter, called a “syndetic” structure—that is,a system of referential links—of remarkable coherency andresolution.

      reference for this?


      definition: syndetic structure is one of coherency and resolution made up by referential links.

      Why is no one using this word in the zettelkasten space?


      The adjective "syndetic" means "serving to connect" or "to be connected by a conjunction". (A conjunction being a word used to connect words, phrases and clauses, for example: and, but, if). The antonym is "asyndetic" (connections made without conjoins)

    4. SUNY Brockport’s Drake Memorial Library greets its userswith a typographically generated image of a card catalog:Your automated catalog, by DYNIX.Copyright (c) 1992 by DYNIX, Incorporated.

      A library card catalog drawn using ASCII art. :)

    5. Thus, the New York Public Library has CATNYP.There is BEARCAT (Kutztown University) and ALLECAT (Allegheny) andBOBCAT (NYU’s Bobst Library) and CATS (Cambridge). There is VIRGO(the University of Virginia), FRANCIS (Williams College), LUCY(Skidmore), CLIO (Columbia), CHESTER (the University of Rochester),SHERLOCK (Bualo State College), ARLO (the University of Colorado atColorado Springs), FRANKLIN (the University of Pennsylvania), andHarvard’s appropriately Eustace Tilleyish HOLLIS. There is BISON(SUNY Bualo), OASIS (the University of Iowa), ORION (UCLA),SOCRATES (Stanford), ILIAD (Butler), EUCLIDPLUS (Case Western), LUMINA(the University of Minnesota), and THE CONNELLY EXPLORER (La Salle).MELVYL (the University of California system) is named after MelvilDewey; the misspelling was reportedly intentional, meant toemphasize the dierence between Dewey’s cataloging universe andour own.

      List of names for computerized library card catalogs at various libraries.

    6. , one of the reasons that the New York Public Library had toclose its public catalog was that the public was destroying it. TheHetty Green cards disappeared. Someone calling himself Cosmoswas periodically making o with all the cards for Mein Kampf. Cardsfor two Dante manuscripts were stolen: not the manuscripts, thecards for the manuscripts.
    7. book at a public phone rather than bothering to copy down anaddress and a phone number, library visitors—the heedless, thecrazy—have, especially since the late eighties, been increasinglycapable of tearing out the card referring to a book they want.

      The huge frozen card catalog of the Library of Congress currently suers from alarming levels of public trauma: like the movie trope in which the private eye tears a page from a phone

    8. Radical students destroyed roughly ahundred thousand cards from the catalog at the University of Illinoisin the sixties. Berkeley’s library sta was told to keep watch overthe university’s card catalogs during the antiwar turmoil there.Someone reportedly poured ink on the Henry Cabot Lodge cards atStanford
    9. They donot grow mold, as the card catalog of the Engineering Library of theUniversity of Toronto once did, following water damage.
    10. “Atthe end of this project,” Dale Flecker told me, “there won’t be cardcatalogs left in the university.” I asked him if there were any cardcatalogs, anywhere in the world, that he thought worthy ofpreservation. “In general, they’re being discarded,” he said. “I’m notsure I know of anybody who’s decided to preserve them as physicalobjects.” Maureen Finn said much the same thing to me: “Theinstitutions still want the cards back, and then I think they’re storingthem. But most library managers that I talk to will say, ‘We arestoring them because it makes the sta feel good, and we will begetting rid of them.’ ”

      Interesting psychology being played out here....

    11. And some undetermined but large fraction of thetotality is being sent to an artist named Thomas Johnston, atWestern Washington University.

      Card catalog cards being repurposed for art.

    12. OCLC owns the largestdatabase of bibliographic information in the world, and it oers aservice called RETROCON, contracting with libraries to transfer oldcatalog cards to “machine-readable form,” at anywhere from ftycents to six dollars per card.
    13. An image of the front of every card for Widener thus now exists onmicroche, available to users in a room o the lobby. (Anyinformation on the backs of the cards—and many notes do carryover—was not photographed
    14. theMaryland Health Sciences Library published a commemorativechapbook called 101 Uses for a Dead Catalog Card.
    15. At Cosumnes River College, in California, the card catalog wasceremonially put out of its misery by an ocial who pointed a gunat it and “shot” it. D

      Wow!

    16. The cards datingfrom 1911 to 1975 at the New York State Library in Albany (whereMelvil Dewey was librarian from 1889 to 1906) were thrown awaylast month as a consequence of a historical-preservation projectinvolving the building in which they were stored.

      Sad that a "historical-preservation project" resulted in the loss of such an interesting historical artifact.

    17. The New York Public Library, ahead of the game, renovated theentire ten-million-card catalog of its Research Libraries between1977 and 1980, microlmed it, and threw it out.
    18. universities and public libraries have completed the“retrospective conversions” of their catalogs to computer databases(frequently with the help of federal Title II-C money, as part of the“Strengthening Research Library Resources” program),
    19. cards printed by theLibrary of Congress, Baker & Taylor, and OCLC;

      In the 21st century, many library card catalog cards were commercially printed by OCLC, Baker & Taylor, and the Library of Congress

    20. Chancellor Edward N. Brandt, Jr., wearing ared T-shirt that said “The Great Discard,” chose a drawer of thecatalog and pulled it from the cabinet. With the help of a beamingCyril Feng, who was then the director of the library, he drew theretaining rod from the chosen drawer and let its several hundredcards ceremonially spill into a trash can decorated with coloredpaper.

      The intellectual historian in me: 😱

    1. Curtis mentioned one example of information that he found: “One of the first drawers of the author-title catalog I looked through held a card for Benjamin Smith Barton’s ‘Elements of Botany’ [the 1804 edition]. The card indicated that UVA’s copy of this book was signed by Joseph C. Cabell, who was instrumental in the founding of the University.”Curtis checked to see if the Virgo entry included this detail, but he found no record of the book at all. “I thought perhaps that was because the book had been lost, and the Virgo entry deleted, but just in case, I emailed David Whitesell [curator in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library] and asked him if this signed copy of Barton’s ‘Elements of Botany’ was on the shelves over there. Indeed it was.

      Digitization efforts in card collections may result in the loss or damage of cards or loss of the materials which the original cards represented in the case of library card catalogs.

    2. The information neatly typed on the cards – which library workers sometimes supplemented with handwritten notes on front and back – includes details that in many cases are not typically part of the electronic catalog system, Virgo, that the University Library switched to in 1989. At the time, the catalog was transferred by scanning that captured only the front of the cards.

      Libraries may have handwritten notes on the back of library card catalog cards in the 20th century, a practice which caused data loss in the case of the Alderman Library which only scanned the front of their cards in 1989 when they made the switch from physical cards to a digital catalog.

    3. Created over a 50-year span from 1939 to 1989, that catalog grew to about 4 million cards in 65 cabinets with 4,000 drawers.

      This is roughly 65 cabinets of 60 drawers each.

      4 million cards over 50 years is approximately 220 cards per day. This isn't directly analogous to my general statistics on number of notes per day for individual people's excerpting practice, but it does give an interesting benchmark for a larger institution and their acquisitions over 50 years. (Be sure to divide by 3 for duplication over author/title/subject overlap, which would be closer to 73 per day)

      Shifted from analog cards to digital version in 1989.

    1. There was a high number of librarians among the Americans, such asCharles Ammi Cutter of Harvard and the Boston Athenæum (who producedAmerica’s first public library card catalogue).
    1. sample catalog card included in a Gaylord Brothers supply catalog.

      Gaylord Bros. sold several types of card catalog cards including:

      • No. 301 medium weight
      • No. 306 with red rules (classical three lines)
      • No. 307 with blue rules
      • No. 311 pain card

      all were predrilled with holes

      via https://www.libraryhistorybuff.org/catalog-cards.htm

  2. Jan 2024
    1. https://www.ebay.com/itm/325982715454

      35 drawer modular card catalog in light mid century modern design. Table with stick legs a 5x6 section including two pull out writing drawers, a 5x1 section and a top. Likely maple, in great shape. All wood and metal, includes all rods.

      Listed in 2024-01-29 for $3995.00 with freight shipping extra from South Bend, IN

      Labeled as a Centura 400 (model?)

      Cost per drawer: $114.00

      This is the first time I've seen a catalog from Sjöström on the market though on searching there are a handful floating around.

  3. Dec 2023
    1. https://www.ebay.com/itm/155791697888

      Offered for $1,292.00 for auction on 2023-09-24 with free local pick up from Bayonne, NJ. Modular, unlabeled Card catalog with standalone (non-interlocking) 5x3 set of drawers and a section with two pull out writing drawers.

      Cost per drawer: $86.13

      This has been listed separately in the past year, but taken off eBay for several months before this relisting. (versus being continually relisted...)

      2023-10-11: Relisted at https://www.ebay.com/itm/155822159839 for $1292.00

      2023-12-02: Relisted at https://www.ebay.com/itm/155923155812 for 1292.00

  4. Oct 2023
    1. https://www.ebay.com/itm/385498338372

      30 drawer card catalog in 2 parts with two writing drawers in the middle and a matching table stand. In mediocre shape and has two replaced drawers (metal and/or plastic, not wood). Drawers are maed in all wood

      Listed at $1,5000 for over 3 months. $50 per drawer.

      2023-10-12: Still listed for sale. Local pick up only from Brentwood, CA

      cost per drawer: $50

    1. Father emptied a card le for Margot and me and lled it withindex cards that are blank on one side. This is to become ourreading le, in which Margot and I are supposed to note down thebooks we’ve read, the author and the date. I’ve learned two newwords: “brothel” and “coquette.” I’ve bought a separate notebookfor new words.

      —Anne Frank (1929-1945), diary entry dated Saturday, February 27, 1943 (age 13)

      Anne Frank was given an empty card file by her father who filled it with index cards that were blank on one side. They were intended to use it as a "reading file" in which she and Margot were "supposed to note down the books we've read, the author and the date."


      In the same entry she mentioned that she'd bought a separate notebook for writing down new words she encountered. Recent words she mentions encountering were "brothel" and "coquette".

    1. https://www.ebay.com/itm/155811111944

      2023-10-05 72 drawer library card catalog listed for sale at $850.00 with local pick up only from Mechanicsville, VA. No brand name listed. Plastic drawers with wooden fronts. Two sections of 6x6 drawers separated by a section with three writing drawers. Appears to be a solid piece with a solid base. In generally good condition.

      cost per drawer: $11.80

      Not a bad deal here, esp. if you're local.

    1. https://www.ebay.com/itm/126117193513

      Library card catalog section listed for $329.00. Single section of 5x1 with 10 drawers. It's had pieces of material stapled on the top/bottom to cover up the stacking holes. Missing card rods. Drawer internals appear to be plastic (70s or later), rods removed and replaced with carpet/material to cover up holes. For free local pick up in Sacramento, CA.

      Most likely a Gaylord Bros., but not labeled.

      cost per drawer: $32.90

  5. Sep 2023
    1. https://www.ebay.com/itm/275465128542

      Saw for sale on/around 2023-05-17 for $3,000, though willing to accept $2,500 (or lower). Still on offer 2023-09-24.

      Gaylord Bros. 5 piece sectional library card catalog with two 5x3 sections of drawers, a pull out writing desk (with two pull outs), a top and a base table.

      cost per drawer: $100

    1. https://www.ebay.com/itm/374936561744

      Previously listed (late Summer 2023). Offered for bidding at $7,200 for a Jens Risom Library Card catalog on/around 2023-09-16. Local pickup from Pageland, SC. Ex-library from Davidson College Library in North Carolina tag number 01359.

      Section of 6x5 and another of 6x7 for a total of 72 drawers with a middle section which has two pull out writing drawers.

      Cost per drawer at opening bid: $100.00

      2023-09-25: Relisted at https://www.ebay.com/itm/374948492633

    1. https://offerup.com/item/detail/aa30b5cf-993e-3077-9c86-5b36b7d7fee9?q=library+card+catalog

      Offered circa July 2023 for $200 and sold circa September 2023.

      Gaylord brothers three piece modular library card catalog circa 1950's. Acquired by seller prior to a school demolition. Top cover appears to be homemade and covered with cloth. Other pieces are standard 5x3 grouping of 15 drawers and lower table unit. Missing all the catalog rods.

      cost per drawer: $13.30

    1. https://www.ebay.com/itm/195819504280

      Brodart 72 drawer library card catalog offered for sale for $1995.00 in at least mid 2023 if not earlier. Local pick up from Twin Lake, MI. A bit beat up. Appears to be maybe late 60s/early 70s. Has plastic drawers.

      Two sections of 6x6 separated by three pull out writing desks.

      Cost per drawer. $27.70

    1. https://www.ebay.com/itm/225779061741

      Listed on 2023-09-17 for starting bid of $600 with a purchase price of $795.00. With $100 shipping to Los Angeles from Bartow, FL.<br /> In excellent looking condition. Restored?<br /> two drawers, but each one has two rows of cards, so technically four drawers.

      Missing card catalog rods, so likely used for something other than cards at one point.

      Cost per drawer: $150 per "drawer" at the opening bid price.

    1. Market analysis of library card catalogs in 2023.

      As card catalogs lost their functionality in libraries and were de-acquisitioned there was a wave of nostalgia which caused people to purchase them, often in auctions, at higher than expected prices. Once they had them, most of these purchasers realized that they didn't have functional uses in their homes for them (beyond wine or liquor bottle storage, small crafts, or use as a zettelkasten, which seem to be the only reasonable upcycling use cases I've seen and the last seems to be very rare and niche). They sit and take up space for very little value in return beyond some esthetic beauty and nostalgia. As a result many soured on their ownership. Most owners naturally want to recoup their original purchase price thinking that relative rarity will save them.

      Combined with this there was a resurgence in mid-century design esthetic which had some furniture restorers and designers buying and doing full (and very pretty) expensive restorations of older 20s - 40s versions which sold at auctions for $4,500 and up. Given the rarity of some of these older, fine furniture versions along with the work in restoration and the limited market only those who had a tinge of nostalgia and money to burn made purchases which resulted in a limited number of actual sales.

      These two factors mean that almost all of the listings for library card catalogs are heavily overvalued on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craig's List, Etsy, etc. The fine furniture restorations have set an artificially high price point which some feel theirs must match as well. The difference in quality however is stark. Because of their size and lack of functionality, there is a relative glut of them on the market which all bear inflated prices. Those who originally spent inordinate amounts for them, feel they will still have that same value to others, so they list them online for inflated prices.

      I've been closely watching the online "market" for them for over a year and see the same several dozen or more listed across the country usually in the range of about $30-$60 per drawer. Many are listed as local pick up only, which further hampers the overall market. This also brings up the issue of shipping a 60 drawer card catalog which can easily run in the $800-$1,500+ range which usually requires additional shipping logistics involved with freight. Most catalogs are already overpriced, but adding an additional $1000 tax on top is a bridge too far for all but the highest end of the market. Some platforms like Etsy and eBay which take cuts of the final sale also add to the cost of the sale.

      In the year and a half or more that I've been watching, I've only seen a handful of actual sales, all of which were local, and many of which were in the Los Angeles area. All of these sales have been for listings which eventually were reduced down to the $15 per drawer range. One local sale was in Wisconsin was for $10 per drawer (a 30 drawer file) and another in Los Angeles was for $12.50 per drawer (on a 20 drawer file).

      A note on condition

      Outside of a small handful of fine furniture listings in the $4,000+ range, most ex-Library card catalogs are generally very well worn and not in great condition which makes them less valuable as decoration pieces. In fact, many are often missing their original card catalog rods, have dents, dings, or other cosmetic issues. Some are missing drawers or have replacement drawers which don't match. Some may be slightly mismatched having been purchased in different eras as modular pieces and put together. Frequently they have been modified from their original states to include inserts or other material to fill in the holes which where almost standard in the bottoms of the drawers.

      Advice

      If you're in the market, know that it is tremendously inflated, a fact which most sellers are aware of as they've got them listed, some for many years, not resulting in actual sales. If you really want one and find it in a reasonable condition, I highly recommend making an offer for it at about $10 per drawer and potentially go up to $15. Anything higher than that is overpaying based on actual recent market conditions. If you have the money to burn, feel free, but keep in mind that like many others in the past, once the initial nostalgia has passed, you've probably got a large piece of relatively non-functional furniture in your home.

      It's not common, but some government auction sites will list card catalogs for auction from time to time. Because they actively want to sell them these can be purchased in the $2-10 per drawer range or less. Often they tend toward the larger 60+ drawer range, aren't in good condition, or need to be picked up and shipped to your final destination, usually within a few days of purchase as the original owners don't or explicitly won't handle shipping. These are likely to need some restoration work to be decorative pieces in many homes.

      If you want something brand new, you can check out Brodart, which is the only remaining card catalog manufacturer/sales firm I'm aware of in the United States. Their systems are modular, so you can pick and choose what you'd like to have. The only caveat is that they start at $1,700 for their smallest 9 drawer model and can go up to $11,648 (plus shipping) for a full 60 drawer model. The other potential drawback, for some, is that they are made of a mixture of wood, metal and plastic versus the all wood and metal fittings of older vintage models.

      If you're in the market primarily for nostalgic reasons, then you might also consider looking at some of the older desktop wooden card catalogs which are often much less expensive, take up far less space, and can be wonderfully decorative. Some of the smaller two to six drawer desktop models have the benefit of potentially serving as recipe boxes or paper rolodexes, zettelkasten, or simply small office storage. Here again, the online markets are likely to be heavily overpriced with 2 drawer models being continually listed at $150 and 4 drawer models in the $250-400 range. These sellers know that these prices don't result in actual sales as they've been sitting on them for long periods of time (presumably hoping to get lucky). Here I'd recommend you make offers in the $20-30 per drawer range to see what you can find. Another benefit is that these smaller models are far cheaper to ship across the country. For additional advice on these, see: The Ultimate Guide to Zettelkasten Index Card Storage.

    1. https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/271076511951674/

      Appears to be a single piece with two sections of 6x5 drawers for a total of 60 separated by three drawer pulls. In excellent shape, but missing many rods.

      $18.33 per drawer

      Listed in Mid-May 2023 for $1,100 in La Palma, CA

  6. Jul 2023
  7. Jun 2023
    1. https://www.ebay.com/itm/364287692051

      60 drawer cabinet listed for auction on eBay starting at $800 with a buy now price of $1,800 buy now price. Listed in June and unsold and relisted. Unknown brand, though it looks like late 60/early 70s Remington-Rand.

      $13/drawer at the low end going up to $30/drawer.

    1. https://www.ebay.com/itm/266292541330

      Gaylord Bros. 30 drawer card catalog (6 x 5 configuration) with somewhat mismatched table listed for 999.99 on Ebay. This has been on the market for about 2 months and relisted for bid at least 4 times.

      $33.33/drawer

  8. May 2023
  9. Feb 2022
    1. 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.