Library Card Catalogue :: Definition, merits and demerits

In card catalogue entries for books are prepared on standard size cards (12.5 cm x 7.5 cm. or 5” x 7”) which are placed in desired order in a catalogue cabinet. In this form one entry is prepared on one card. Therefore, each card is a unit i.e. on one card only entry is prepared. Each card can be accommodated at and placed or removed from any place. Such cards may be plain or ruled. The card is punched (one hold) half inch above the bottom. Through this hole a thin rod of iron is passed in the catalogue cabinet so that the card may not automatically leave its place or be removed easily. Specimen of catalogue card is given below:


The two vertical lines are known as first and second indention’s respectively.
Merits and qualities of Card Catalogue.
Card catalogue is full of qualities of a good form of catalogue. Due to its many qualities it is the most popular form of library catalogue. The card catalogue has the following merits or qualities:
  • Up-to-dateness and flexibility: Card catalogue has immense capacity of being up-to-dated and is also flexible to great extent. New entries can be accommodated in it at appropriate place without disturbing the existing arrangement because each card is an independent unit in itself. Similarly, obsolete or unused cards or entries can be taken out of it without any inconvenience. Thus it can be kept completely up-to-date and is fully flexible. 
  • Durability and Economy: Card catalogue is economical in preparation and maintenance. It is also capable of bearing heavy use for a longer period without losing its physical features. 
  • Accessibility and Expansibility: Card catalogue is fully expansible i.e. it can grow in size without any
    inconvenience with the growth of the collection of the library. As and when new books are acquired, any number or entries prepared to represent those books can be accommodated in the catalogue. Thus card catalogue has the capability of being expended upto any extent. Through accessibility is limited in it, because it has limited capacity of being multiplied, yet, reasonable number of readers can consult it simultaneously. 
  • Utility with reference to centralized and cooperative cataloguing: This form of catalogue is suitable for centralized and cooperative cataloguing. 
Demerits of Library Card Catalogue.
  1. Space Eater: Card catalogue eats space. It is its biggest demerits. Card Cabinet in which card are kept occupies much space and additional space is also required to facilitate its consultation by readers. In small and medium sized libraries (with book stock of less than five lacks) it may it create much problem but in bigger libraries it becomes a problem to find space to accommodate it. For instance, the catalogue of Reference Division of National Library (India) fully occupied a big hall where thirty thousand or more books can be kept for use. 
  2. Difficult to transport: Card Catalogue is not easily portable due to its size and bulk. 
  3. Less protected: Card catalogue is less protected; there are opportunities of card being removed easily. Although a thin iron rod passes through it, if someone intentionally wants to remove a card he can do so without much effort and the misdeed may not come to the notice of library staff easily.
Declaration: Articles shared in this blog are collected from different sources available on the internet to help students of Library and Information Science. Sources are mentioned in the reference section of the article. If you have any objections about the content of this blog, feel free to contact the site admin at

10 thoughts on “Library Card Catalogue :: Definition, merits and demerits

  1. Am Sylvia studying Education administration and planning at CRUTECH. Pls want to know the two basic information in card catalogue that will help you to locate material easily in library

  2. thank you sir,

    i am a student of LIS in Kwara State University, Nigeria.

    please i need information on Library Routines and the Application of ICT to library ROUTINES

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top