Thursday, July 15, 2010

50 years of cataloging

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a nice article today about one librarian's career, a career that saw libraries move from the era of card catalogs and electric typewriters into computers and the internet.
Pre-computers, the library used blue-and-white cards to keep track of what had been checked out; in the early 1980s, a system using bar codes replaced the cards kept on file at the circulation desk. It took eight or nine months to enter all the items in the library into the new system, Ms. Lucas remembers. "Cart after cart after cart of books" had to be processed. "I thought of it as kind of fun, because I was a young kid."
The Chronicle asked Ms. Lucas for her thoughts on the future of libraries. "I really don't know what direction we're heading in. We seem to be getting more and more away from the print collections, but we're still buying books," she says. "I don't think there's ever going to come a day when there's no more books in the library. I think there's just going to be a lot more of the other stuff."

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