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The publication of the present annual catalogue has been delayed by two principal causes: 1. The large extent of the additions to the Library which it was deemed important to include in it; and, 2. The adoption of a full and accurate system of collation in describing the works catalogued.

Up to the year 1867, the annual accessions to the Library of Congress were embraced in pamphlet catalogues of 50 to 200 pages, printed in large type, and distributed near the commencement of each session of Congress. The very large additions embraced in the present volume rendered necessary the use of smaller type, and the adoption of a different form for the catalogue. It has been the purpose of the Librarian to include in it not only all the regular accessions of the past year, but also the chief portion of the books of the Smithsonian Library and of the Force collection, both of which are now incorporated with the Library of Congress. So great is the extent of these collections, (the titles embraced in the Force library alone being estimated at 55,000,) that it has been necessary to reserve for future catalogues the great body of pamphlets in both libraries, together with all the maps, manuscripts, and the larger portion of the incunabula of the Force collection.


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The letter s, affixed to any title, denotes that the work belongs to the library of the Smithsonian Institution.

The books are described as folio, quarto, octavo, duodecimo, etc., according to the apparent size of the volume, and not according to the printer's designations derived from the fold of the sheets.

In the alphabetical arrangement, the prefix Mc, M', or Mac, is treated uniformly as a component part of the word, as if spelled Mac. Thus, McLeod or M'Leod precedes Maclure. In like the prefixes New, La, Du, etc., are treated as component parts of the words to which they belong. Thus New England follows Newell instead of preceding it, as it would do if the prefix New were treated as a separate word.


It is one of the aims of the present catalogue to furnish with the titles a sufficiently full collation of each work. Thus it is made a part of the description to give the number of pages in the case of all works not exceeding two volumes, together with the number of maps and plates, if any, and the name of the publisher. The information thus conveyed will, it is believed, be found of practical value to readers, as conveying at a glance some idea of the extent of each work, while the addition of publishers' names is useful as supplying a guide to the identification of editions. In the case of books printed without date, the actual or approximate date is uniformly supplied, in brackets.

Brackets in any part of a title indicate that the words included in them are not found in the title, but are inserted.

The employment of capital letters in titles has been strictly confined to proper names, and to the initial letter of each sentence. Although this departs from a very general usage in printing the German and some other languages, it secures a uniform and elegant typography. The capitalization of substantives was not practiced in the earlier days of German typography, and high modern authorities (including the new Wörterbuch of the brothers Grimm) have abandoned it for a uniform type.


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