Cataloging and Classification/Introduction

Before computers were used for the purpose, library cataloging was done manually by writing and arranging index cards in special drawers and cupboards.



This text book aims to introduce the subject in simple, understandable language for the beginner. The aim here is to provide the beginner with a basic understanding of the library practices and concepts in use today, which are introduced in a progressive manager, as well as an introduction to most of the topics the beginner may encounter.



The purpose of this textbook is to provide an overview of cataloging and classification, as it applies to libraries, both public and academic. This knowledge applies equally with a few changes to the items in any other kind of educational or heritage collection, such as museums, archives and galleries. The principles apply equally regardless of whether the catalog is in print or accessed through a computer, or whether within a computer, local network, or on the internet.

While it aims to cover issues reasonably in-depth, it is in no way meant to be all-encompassing, as the rules and applications of cataloging are constantly updated.



This textbook uses a generic approach towards all resources held in a library. In today's world, libraries are often just one component of an institution that may have other such heritage-cum-knowledge components which have collections of objects, such as galleries, archives, and museums, besides academic departments, research initiatives, preservation facilities, and so on, all of which would be stakeholders as users and contributors.

While library cataloguing is basically about books, there are a wide variety of formats in which information is held in libraries. These range from video and audio clips, and a variety of image-based resources, such as pictures, maps, annotated music and so on. In addition, paper-based resources such as manuscripts, annotated texts, glossaries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, posters, pamphlets, magazines, journals and so on are found in addition to books. Many resources may be digital as well. All of these resources would need to be catalogued along with books in the modern library.

Modern day libraries have access to collections through the internet other than their own local holdings. In addition, there are a large number of public catalogs of various kinds online. Some of these are aggregators that are linked to a number of catalogs in colleges and universities, media centers, national and public libraries, special libraries, state and provincial libraries, thus increasing the reach of users to a much broader geography and diversity.[1]

Hence we use the generic term "resource" or "information resource" instead of "book" or "item".[note 1]

In addition, this textbook would be useful, not just to those cataloguing books and so on, but also in the cataloguing of objects in these other collections.


  1. As per the practice in Taylor & Joudrey (2018) The Organization of Information, pp. 19–20.


  1. Weihs, Jean; Intner, Sheila S. (2017). Beginning cataloging. Santa Barbara, California, USA: Libraries Unlimited. ISBN 978-1-4408-3845-3. {{cite book}}: |access-date= requires |url= (help), Chapter 1. "Introduction"