Library of Congress card catalog buffet

Card Catalog: 30 Notecards from the Library of Congress


Online access to the collections resident at the Library of Congress.

As an integrated database, the includes 3.2 million catalog records from an earlier database. These catalog records, primarily for books and serials cataloged between 1898 and 1980, are being edited to comply with current cataloging standards and to reflect contemporary language and usage. The legend [from old catalog] indicates that the headings may deviate from current Library of Congress cataloging policy.

The Library of Congress both catalogs newly published books as well as shares that descriptive information with other libraries. For many decades, starting in 1901, the format the Library used to share that information was the catalog card. The process of creating, printing, organizing, storing and distributing those millions of cards took hundreds of staff at the Library of Congress and vast spaces, such as the ones shown below. (See all of those thousands of boxes on the shelves and tables? Full of catalog cards printed at the Library.)

Library of Congress WWW/Z39.50 Gateway

  • Library of Congress: Classification. (Washington, D.C., Library of Congress.), also by Library of Congress. Subject Cataloging Division, Library of Congress Cataloging Policy and Support Office, Library of Congress. Music Division, Library of Congress. Classification Division, and Library of Congress. Catalog Division (page images at HathiTrust)
  • Library of Congress Electronic Resources Online Catalog

    The Library of Congress Cataloging Distribution Service continues to provide cataloging information to libraries in various ways, but its last catalog card was printed in 1997. Just last month, , marking the end of an era.

    The Library of Congress Online Catalog contains approximately 14 million records representing books, serials, computer files, manuscripts, cartographic materials, music, sound recordings, and visual materials in the Library’s collections.