Functions and Essentials Elements of Library Catalogue

Essential for good Catalogue.

Before approaching the practical problems of cataloguing it may be well to devote a little time space to some introductory discussion of the qualifications required in satisfactory cataloguing, and of importance of the catalogue itself in any library.

The three attributes mostworthy of attention are:

  1. Accuracy: Whether there is a case of style of cataloguing, compressed or abbreviated the entry, accuracy must be strictly adhered to. This may sound like the solomn enunciation of a platitude, and yet it is no uncommon happeningfor a beginner work to be spoiled by very small error in spelling, in the transcription of names with variant forms, or ever in the style of entry. In accuracy may cause serious misunderstanding and, loss of time and dislocation. Another aspects may be expressed in the dictum that a catalogue entry should represent exactly what appears on the title page of the book it stand for, subject to addition or omission only if indicated precisely in the way conventionally allowed.
  2. General Knowledge: Knowledge purify catalogue. It is an asset in cataloguing by its very nature as dealing with the external details of books rather than with the value of their contents, demands it in a very special way. The changes in headings confont the cataloguer of old and rare books, and familiarity with psendonyms and library curiosities of that kind. All these problems can be dealt with satisfactorily if a cataloguer has enjoyed maximum General Knowledge.
  3. Needs of its users: A reader wants to know, what book a library has, or on a particular author, what edition, and on what subject, a library has. A user also want to evaluate the different materials in a library on a particular subject or a group of subjects for the purpose of study or research. The subject approach from the user point of view may be either by specific subject headings; or by exploration of the entire field covered, by the subject (class, division, sub-division and sections).
  4. Well-Constructed: A good catalogue must be well-constructed to suit the needsof the people for whom it is intended. It should be suited to the clientele.Entry-arrangement should be simple, uniform and easily understood. Descriptivedetails should meet the demands of the users.
  5. Kept up-to-date: Catalogue should be kept up-to-date and thoroughly at thecommand of readers. It should be accessible to all.
  6. Meet the problems: A well constructed catalogue should be as designed as tomeet the various problems of entry represented by various complex materials orrecords of human thought and experience. Like entries should be arrangedtogether. The same procedure should be followed in case of previouspublications of a work.
  7. Definite Principles: The catalogue, if should be based on definite principlesand followed uniformally throughout. Catalogue should, where necessary, rigidand unalterable rules for all times so that rules, may be revised theaccommodate the incoming flow of complex material and to meet new requirements,but the revision should be rational, consistent and uniform.
  8. Basic Part: A library catalogue records the library stock. Each record consists basically of three important parts.
  • Heading,
  • Description, and
  • Location.

Each document is recorded at general different parts in the catalogue to cater for a variety of approaches – author, editor, translator, title, subject. The first entry of these approaches is called main entry, give the same amount of information about a document. The main entry is effective because,

  • It is decided in term by which a document is sub-arranged at a class number,
  • It is treated as the important and one likely to be looked for,
  • It is used for selective reading lists and bibliographies.


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