What?! A card catalogue!

Doing research at the Columbia University Library, I stumbled into a room (yes a room!) filled with drawers holding the card catalogue. Remember those? Those pieces of card with subject and/or author information that you touched and flipped through? Remember the serendipity of research when, as you located your subject, you stumbled across other possible sources and ideas that you hadn’t thought of before? You know, all that stuff around your focus?

Ah, how wonderful to actually take the drawers out and leaf through these cards. Of course, Columbia University librarians are not Luddites; they have plenty of computers and digitalized catalogues of their collections. But whereas many libraries have discarded their card catalogues, Columbia proudly maintains its cards… and I enthusiastically dipped in.

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4 Responses to What?! A card catalogue!

  1. As long as they don’t make the book stacks electronic, too, we still can browse. How amazing to have a chance to ponder those wonderful cards.

  2. Michael says:

    How exciting this must have been for you … knowing you. I remember those days with dread. Remember ERIC and microfiche? Remember note cards and cutting up yellow paper from pads and gluing them back together into some semblance of order? Remember typing a final draft with three sheets of paper with carbon paper between each? I got through those times but am so aware that I would not have gotten through my MA and my advanced studies degrees and that my writing today would not be nearly as prolific or good as it is without the trusty computer.

  3. Jerome Bloom says:

    I REMEMBER

    THE HOT

    THE CLOSE

    THE GREEN

    THE LIGHT

    FROM

    ABOVE

    IN

    CPL

    ON

    RANDOLPH

    LOOKING

    FOR

    THE

    JOY

    OF

    THE SEARCH

    THE FIND

    THE LOOKING

  4. Dominique says:

    Hi jyourist!

    I was looking at your blog “What?! A card catalogue!” and was wondering if you took all of the photos that were used? I came across one of the images and wanted to use it for a PPT presentation on copyright and proper attribution. As such, I’d like to properly attribute the photographer– whether it be you or someone else!

    If you could let me know, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks!

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