Main Card Catalog
The Main Card Catalog, located adjacent to the Main
Reading Room on the first
floor of the Jefferson Building, contains subject, author, title,
and some other cards for most books cataloged by the Library through
1980 (1978 for subject cards). Each work cataloged is represented
by a card or set of cards showing the name of the author, the title
of the book, the place of publication, the publisher, and the date
of publication. This information is followed by the number of pages
or volumes, a brief description of the illustrative material, and
the height in centimeters. If the book is part of a series, the
name of the series is shown in parentheses after the size. A call
number, consisting of a combination of letters and numbers, appears
in the upper left-hand corner of the card and/or is printed in the
lower portion of the card.
There are numerous ways to look for a book in the catalog. The
most common are:
The author. The author's last
name or the name of the agency or organization responsible for the
The title. The title will be typed
in lowercase letters at the top of the card.
The subject. Subject terms used
by the Library are listed in the Library of Congress Subject
Headings, large red volumes which are found in the catalog
areas. Subject cards are colored red on the top edge, and the subject
headings are typed in capital letters at the top of the card. Subject
entries in the card catalog may contain terms no longer employed
by the Library.
The arrangement of entries in the card catalog is basically alphabetical.
However, entries are not always filed in strict alphabetical order.
As shown in the examples below, personal names are filed first,
then place names, subject headings, and titles. For example:
Love, William (personal name)
Love, Connecticut place name
LOVE (subject heading)
LOVE--TERMINOLOGY (subject heading, subdivided)
LOVE, MATERNAL (subject heading, inverted)
Love Abounds (title)