Library Staff


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Fragment of the old library card catalog

Before the widespread use of typewritten cards, cards for the catalogs were handwritten in the approved style. According to Melvil Dewey, the Director of the New York State Library, “The fact remains that nothing pays the candidate for a library position better for the time it costs than to be able to write a satisfactory library hand.” In the late 1960s, two developments changed the future of cataloging. The Library of Congress created the MARC format, enabling the machine readability of bibliographic records. The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) was developed in Dublin, Ohio, and started providing cataloging information via cable and terminal to all its member libraries. These two developments paved the way for the creation of Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs). Because of the considerable amount of cost savings, most libraries converted to online catalogs and froze and discarded their card catalogs.


library, Welch Hall


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