Old School Research

Before the Internet, before electronic catalogs and networks, how did researchers find the locations of books they needed? They relied on printed union catalogs – tools that listed the combined holdings of libraries. The largest one produced was nicknamed “Mansell” in honor of the publisher who produced the massive 754-volume The National union catalog, pre-1956 imprints ; a cumulative author list representing Library of Congress printed cards and titles reported by other American libraries. The title, however, is a misnomer; it was not a truly a “national” catalog but rather a guide to the holdings of major public and private libraries. This is not the place to have found what your town library held. But it was of immense help to scholars trying to track down copies of needed works; we can personally attest to its importance. An article detailing the history and the continued usefulness of this paper product in the electronic age can be found here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s