Vintage Photographs of People Using the Card Catalog at the Library in the 1970s – Design You Trust — Design Daily Since 2007

Vintage Photographs of People Using the Card Catalog at the Library in the 1970s

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Before computers, librarians organized book information on cards filed in card catalogs. Each book had multiple cards with details like title, author, and subject, filed alphabetically for easy searching by patrons. Catalogers created this human-made metadata.

h/t: vintag.es

Library Card Catalog 1

Librarians also used a ‘Librarians only’ shelf list, a cabinet with cards ordered like the books on shelves, marked with color-coded clips to indicate status (e.g., Black = missing, Blue = being repaired). During the transition to computers, clips indicated which cards were copied.

Library Card Catalog 3

To indicate special book locations without altering cards, librarians used plastic covers with colored stripes, with signs explaining the colors (e.g., Red = Reference shelves, Green = Children’s collection).

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