crickey. catalog cards

I am easily amused, this is true. But really, this is cool. There’s no other word for it.

John Blyberg is a librarian at the Ann Arbor District Library. He’s clearly somebody with imagination and technical skills both, because he programmed a special feature for the AADL online catalog. With the click of a button you can generate a catalog card for the book you’ve looked up. Like this one, here. Of Homestead. Here’s the link to this card’s page — and you’ll note that you can add your own marginalia. In handwriting. I am such a geek, but I love this.

If you’re a more talented geek than I am, he’s made the code available for people to work with. It’s a good thing I don’t know how to program, because I’d never get any writing done at all if I could customize this for myself.

Along the same lines, library people in various places are trying to preserve some of the old catalog cards for their own sake. This takes me right back to the Lincoln Avenue branch of the Chicago Public Library.

11 Replies to “crickey. catalog cards”

  1. I was going to comment on this but it got so long and sappy that I turned it into a blog post of my own instead.

  2. Very cool… I love library paraphenalia. My friend discovered the best vintage find EVER when they rebuilt the Los Angeles Public Library. She bought two perfect antique four-foot-high card catalogs for twenty bucks THE PAIR, and proceeded to use them as her dresser, tucking her smaller items into the drawers, and putting her sweaters and larger items in baskets on top. Soooo adorable. Can you tell I covet them?
    (Re-reading this, I can see it’s very, very off-topic, but such is life.)

  3. Oh, goodness, what memories this entry has brought back. I spent at least a quarter of my youth, if not more, hanging out in libraries, and I still mourn the loss of the old-fashioned card catalog…I even remember the smell of the cards. The computers may be more efficient but they lack the soul of those old cards!

  4. Uhh…as the librarian for a small rural school district in upstate NY, I can tell you all that the card catalog is alive and well in our district. We do not have an automated catalog in either of my schools. I’m also pretty sure that hell involves hand-sorting and filing catalog cards. It’s not so nostalgic to deal with every day….and that I was never taught this stuff in library school because I was told that “no one has them anymore”. Ha ha ha.

  5. Karen, as a librarian who has generated and worked with catalogue cards, I am with you completely. The electronic, searchable catalogue system is one of the great inventions of the century. I wasn’t taught how to do it in library school either and it’s embarrassing to admit how many cards I wasted getting the spacing etc right, using the typewriter. I am happy to create catalogue cards for anyone who feels nostalgic but I hope never to be responsible for a card catalogue again in the course of my professional career. (I must admit that wooden boxes of catalogue cards look more elegant than a PC, though.)

  6. my mom’s a librarian, and a trustee at our local library, and consequently i spent a lot of time at our library when i was young. i can still remember when i was first old enough to reach the card catalog and flip through the cards looking for an author i liked, or a research book, or something. sigh. gotta admit though, online is SO much faster, and you can keep a reading history and stuff…

Comments are closed.