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Are the works of a given author there? What books, articles, and information does the library contain on a given subject? A perfect catalogue would furnish complete answers to all these questions. The plan of this catalogue is that of a single alphabet, in which every book whose author is known is entered three times-under its author's name, under its title, and under its subject. Periodicals, bound pamphlets, the publications of the great academies and learned societies (except their scientific divisions), and historical, antiquarian, and other miscellaneous collections are all indexed, and the references distributed under their appropriate heads; the number of pages in each article, the volume and the page where it may be found, with the author's name when known, and, if a periodical, the year in which it was printed, being carefully marked.
Books belonging to broad classes of knowledge are distributed under the various subordinate divisions of these classes, instead of being drawn together under general heads. While the scientific reader might prefer to have before him a conspectus of the whole class, the average reader will be likely to look for a book under the specific head to which it belongs-for a book on birds under ornithology rather than under natural history, or for a book on trees under forestry rather than under botany. Cross references have been liberally supplied to guide the reader in doubtful cases. As the association of ideas is so different in different minds, it is better to err here on the side of profusion than of a scant supply.
Books, and all titles entered separately, are printed in the larger, brevier type, each title so printed forming a separate paragraph. Articles in magazines and reviews, in the publications of academies and learned societies, and those forming parts of books in all miscellaneous collections, are printed solid in the smaller, nonpareil type, and follow closely under every subject the book-titles relating to the same subject. These two classes of publications-full volumes and short articles-are everywhere clearly separated from each other, and yet in close conjunction, forming two alphabets on the same subject, which can be consulted separately. This principle is carried out in all the subdivisions of a subject: the books, in separate paragraphs and large type, immediately preceding the shorter articles printed solid in smaller type, the articles being separated from each other by a dash, and the names of authors, when known, printed alphabetically in a clear bold-faced type that quickly catches the eye.
Under the names of authors the matter relating to them is arranged in three divisions: 1. the works of the author; 2. criticisms upon, and books about, his works; 3. lives of the author and books about him personally. Each of these has a separate alphabet, and the books in each division are followed by the shorter articles. Of course the library does not, in the case of every author, contain books relating to all of these divisions.
It was intended to give, under the name of every author, the dates of his birth and death. This was regarded as an important feature in the catalogue; and to insure its completeness, a large number of biographical dictionaries and other aids were collected; but it has been found impossible to make it absolutely complete-especially in reference to living or recent authors whose biographies are not easily found. When the exact dates of an old author's life could not be obtained, the century in which he lived has usually been marked. It is of authors only that these dates have been inserted, and of them but once-in the general alphabet, and not under subjects.
In printing titles under the subordinate heads of a subject, as in Architecture, before each subordinate heading, as bibliography, is repeated in bold-faced type the principal title, Architecture, so that the eye by running down the column can catch at a glance the extent of these divisions, and quickly find the one wanted. Thus we have Architecture under which are general works, then repeated Architecture, Bibliography; Architecture, Brick, stone, etc.; Architecture, Building; Architecture, Cottages, rural, etc.; Architecture, Decoration; Architecture, Dictionaries, etc., the books under each of these subheads occupying the space between the heavy bold-faced repetitions of Architecture, and the repetition of the principal term always indicating a change of subject. These subordinate divisions, and every other division throughout the catalogue, are arranged in alphabetical order. The contents of books are given, not by volumes, but by subjects in alphabetical order, using for the alphabet, not the first word, but the important and distinctive word in each heading, whatever be the part of the heading in which it is found, and printing this word in broad heavy type that stands out boldly from the page. The value of this arrangement will depend greatly on the intelligence with which these distinctive words are selected, and, on this point, there is room for much difference of opinion; but, with any tolerable selection, I think it will be found in practice that the prominent type will greatly facilitate the search for a given subject, and, in most cases, will satisfy it without requiring much to be read beyond these boldly printed words. It will be seen, on close examination, that this method of forming an alphabet of the contents of books was reached after three unsatisfactory attempts, and was first fully employed under the name of Arago.
Great importance has been attached to a proper selection of type and paper. A clear, bold-faced type that the eye can easily follow, with such variations in it as should readily mark the distinctions in the subject-matter, was sought, and, after numerous trials, selected. It was also desired to secure a paper which should be strong enough to bear the hard usage to which such books must be subjected, and of a tint that should be agreeable to the eye. Both type and paper have been made expressly for this work—the paper containing twenty per cent. of linen stock to give it the required durability. The slight yellow tint given to the paper is the one oculists have found least injurious to the eye, and this professional opinion has been confirmed by persons with very sensitive eyes who have used the catalogue.
In printing, twelve different alphabets of type are in constant use by each compositor, besides the occasional use of Greek letters and foreign accented letters; and the care required to use these correctly is such that only the most careful workmen can be trusted with the work. The proof-reading by Mr. Stephen Anderson, of the printing office, has been a source of great satisfaction to me. Considering the variety of types used and the polyglot of languages he has to deal with, his sheets, when they have come to me, have been a marvel of correctness.
The first three letters of the alphabet, constituting this First Part of the catalogue, contain 61,184 references. It is thought that four additional volumes of about the same size will be required to complete the work. The library indexed now contains 80,000 volumes; but all new purchases that can be included under either of the three forms of entry-authors, titles, or subjects-will be inserted, and the full entries
completed in a supplement, bringing the index down to the time when that supplement shall be printed.
It may be well to say that this is a reference library for scholars, and consequently contains few of what are called popular books, fewer novels except those of an old date illustrative of literary history, and no juveniles. In size, the books are unusually large, averaging on the shelves but eight volumes to a foot, while ten is the usual allowance. This is somewhat indicative of the character of the books, and partially explains the large size of the catalogue compared with the number of volumes indexed.
The number of scientific periodicals, serials, and other collections in the library is large; but few of these have been indexed. They have all been entered in the catalogue under author (or editor), title, and subject, but they have not been analyzed as other works of the kind have been. It is thought that a full index of these would require another catalogue as large as this.
A few changes have been introduced as the printing advanced, only three of which are of any special importance. Beginning with Biography in the letter B the year has been added to the volume in all periodical references, and, beginning with C, the number of volumes, when more than one, and the date of publication, have been added to all books under subjects, obviating the necessity of referring to the author entry where the imprint is given. A third change—in the arrangement of the contents of books has already been referred to. Each of these changes has involved immense labor, especially the first, which required every periodical reference to be taken to the volume for the date, and the last, which involved the rewriting of all tables of contents affected by it.
I cannot close without expressing a feeling of deep obligation to the Library Committee, whose wise counsel and unfailing kindness have been a help and an encouragement through all these years of labor, and of patient waiting for an end that seemed constantly receding; and whose generous confidence will ever be a source of pride and grateful remembrance.
N. H. MORISON,
BALTIMORE, June 18, 1883.
Page 5. Abdur Rashid. The two titles given under this name represent but one book. “46. Read Aix-les-Bains for Aix-les-Bain:
48. Albarado, Pedro de, should be Alvarado, Pedro de.
"81. Place Kavanagh after Longfellow instead of before his name.
“109. Below Animaux insert Animism as a heading to the titles that follow.
“128. Under Aqueducts read Parker for Barker.
“132. Place Hammer Purgstall after Arabic Literature, History, instead of before it.
"254. Bartlett, William Thomas, should be Bartlett, William Francis.
261. Read Baudoin and Baudouin for Boudoin and Boudouin.
"311. Transfer Calmet's Dictionary (printed Concordance) from Bible, Concordances, to
Bible, Dictionaries, p. 313.
"541. Under Candolle, A. L. P. P. de, insert
For James Freeman Clarke. D. D. 1810.
and before Candolle, Casimir Pyramus de. read J. F. Clarke, M. D.; and before the
next title insert James Freeman Clarke, D. D. 1810-.
EXPLANATION.-The figures that follow the name of an author, indicate the dates of his birth and death, as 1765-1859. When only one of these dates can be ascertained, it is inserted, leaving the other blank, as for birth, 1823—, for death, —1823, and, when no exact dates of an old author can be found, the century in which he lived is generally inserted. These dates, which are annexed to the names of authors only, are inserted but once, and that after the author's name in the general alphabet.