Thursday, January 18, 2007
Cards 'Я' Us
Back in the old days before computers, libraries recorded their holdings on cards. You're all familiar with catalog cards,
but the card in the photo above was what we call a serial check-in card. Library staffers of yore documented each issue of
a serial when it arrived by recording the issue on a card.
After the flood, several valiant volunteers took our cards (the ones we could find, anyway) out of the basement and put them
in the freezer. Some were still intact in their catalog drawers, but others had been dumped willy-nilly on the floor. The
cards were later dried, but not cleaned.
Why keep these ancient records, you may ask? We must use them to create lists of documents and maps yet to be replaced. Now
we are sorting the dirt-encrusted cards by call number so that we can check them against our holdings. Like the card in the
photo, they contain the handwriting of just about everyone who ever worked in Gov Docs. Maps has a similar collection of cards,
many meticulously handwritten by Ross Togashi.