Petroleum, past, present & future / by Per K. Frolich. (OCLC #6283891)

Throwback Thursday! Let’s look at some catalog cards.

These two cards represent the same book, and are identical except for the heading at the top of the card: the top card is a title card (its heading is the book’s title) and the bottom card is a subject card (its heading is the LCSH subject heading for Petroleum. In this case they are so similar that the two cards were filed right next to each other in our card catalog, but normally they could be quite far apart; the author card, for example, would be in an F drawer near all the other Frolichs.

Subject cards can usually be distinguished from title cards by some decoration on their heading, such as being in all caps (like this example) or being printed in red ink.


Russian printing to 1917 : [a catalogue of an exhibition in the University Library, Cambridge, 22 April to 29 June 1974]. (OCLC #2137460)

In standards prior to RDA, the publisher could be recorded in the shortest recognizable form. In the record for this piece (entered into OCLC in 1976), the creator and the publisher were recognized to be the same body, so the publisher was recorded very briefly as “The Library”, as it could be recognized from earlier on the card:

110 2_ ǂa Cambridge University Library.
245 10 ǂa Russian printing to 1917 : ǂb [a catalogue of
    an exhibition in the University Library, Cambridge,
    22 April to 29 June 1974].
260  [Cambridge] : ǂb [The Library], ǂc 1974.

Creators of this standard had no idea that this data would eventually all be uncoupled and the publisher separately indexed in a way that would make all similar “The Library”’s the same. A search for this publisher (or at least, a publisher described in this brief way) in my own catalog produced many different libraries, including the National Library of Singapore, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and the Charles C. Miller Memorial Apicultural Library.