History of Catalogue Codes

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Structure of Module: E-Text


1. Introduction

2. Definition

3. Development of catalogue codes

3.1 British Museum Code (1841)

3.2 Charles C. Jewett Code (1852)

3.3 Rules for Dictionary Catalogue (1876)

3.4 The Prussian Instructions (1899)

3.5 Dziatizka Code (1886)

3.6 Anglo-American Code (1908)

3.7 Vatican Code (1931)

3.8 ALA Rules (1949)

3.9 Classified Catalogue Code, Ed 5 (1964)

3.10 AACR-1 (1967)

3.11 AACR-2 (1978)

3.12 AACR-2R (1988)

3.13 RDA (2003)

4. Questions

5. Further Readings


1. Introduction


A catalogue must function properly and grow with the collection of a library. The entries, description, arrangement and style must be uniform. Till about the middle of the 19th century, the catalogues of libraries were based on a set of rules drafted by an individual cataloguer in a casual way on the basis of long tradition and practice prevailing in the library. Hence there was no uniformity in the catalogues of different libraries.


2. Definition


The catalogue code means a set of rules with defined terminology designed for cataloguing purposes and rules means single provision to carry out cataloguing work. The catalogue codes and rules guide the cataloguer as to how the entries for books are to be prepared so that one and same system and pattern might exist for ever who so ever has done it. Cataloguing should not depend on the flair and fad of an individual. According to Dr. S.R. Ranganathan, “Library catalogue in an ancient library tool. But catalogue code of a rigorous kind is of recent origin. It first attained rigour in stray local codes i.e. in individual libraries. Now it is attaining regour in national codes. An international code is yet to be established”.


3. Development of Catalogue Codes


After the beginning of the 17th century, Sir Thomas Bodley evolved a catalogue code for the Oxford University Library. He included, along other regulations, classified arrangement with an alphabetical author index arranged by surname. He advocated the entry of noblemen under their family names. However the idea of entry under the surname was first developed by a British Bookseller Andrew Maunsell in 1595.


In 1697, Federic Rostgaard published in Paris his „Discourse on a new method for setting up a library catalogue‟. Its second edition was published in 1698. He provided for a subject arrangement subdivided at once chronologically and by size of volume. Directions are given for an alphabetical index of subject and authors at the end of the catalogue. Authors are to be entered by surname. Works bound together are to have separate entries. Author‟s names are to be supplied for anonymous works when known.


First time in France the use of card was made for cataloguer in 1775 by Rosier for preparing the catalogue of Paris Academy of Science. In 1791, in France, first time, a national code was evolved and instructions were issued to follow it. Libraries were also asked to use the card catalogue. Title page was to be transcribed on the card and the author‟s surname underlined for the filling word. If there was no author, the keyword in the title was to be underlined. A collation was added which was to include the number of volumes, size, a statement of illustrations, the material of which the book was made, the kind or type, and missing pages and a description of the binding if it was outstanding in any way.


The important modern catalogue codes are described as follows:-


3.1 British Museum Code (1841)


Rules for Compiling the Catalogue of Printed Books, Maps and Music in British Museum. London, British Museum, Revised edition 1936 reprinted in 1948 and 1951.


The earliest code of cataloguing which has exerted considerable influence over the subsequent codes is Panizzi‟s 91 rules printed as prefatory matter in the British Museum Catalogue of 1841. Sir Anthony Panizzi (1797-1879) with his two associates- J Winter Jones and Edward Edwards formulated the first version of famous 91 rules in 1837, was accepted in 1839 and was published in 1841. These rules are for the entry of authors only.


Its importance lies not only in the fact of its continuing applications to the catalogue of a great national library, but also in its primacy i.e. it was the founding code, being the first systematic code of rules. It laid down the foundation for further codes which covered rules for author and title entries.


The trustees of the British Museum, finally approved the adoption of Panizzi‟s code of rules for cataloguing and even today, it forms the basis on which the British Museum catalogue is being complied. Till 1887, the original 91 rules were faithfully adopted in the cataloguing processes of the British Museum. The latest 1936 edition contains only 41 rules.


The objectives implicit in British Museum rules for entry are two. The first objective is to enable the user of the catalogue to determine readily whether or not the library has the book he wants. The catalogue is constantly searched by many readers and members of the staff, and the quicker this information can be found the better is catalogue. The second objective is to reveal to the user of the catalogue, under one form of the author‟s name, what works the library has by a given author and what editions or translations of a given work. Esdaile says „Panizzi‟s rules were the first thorough code ever drawn up‟.


3.2  Charles C. Jewett Code (1852)


At about 1850, the American libraries seriously considered the need to bring out a code of cataloguing rules. Jewett, Librarian of the Smithsonian Institute prepared a code of 39 rules in 1852. These rules were modeled after Panizzi‟s rules and issued under the title „Smithsonian Report on the construction of catalogues of libraries and their publications by means of separate stereotyped titles, with rules and examples‟. These rules were again limited to the author entries, but included a model subject index. Pette names Jewett not Cutter as Father of Modern Library Methods.


3.3 Cutter’s Rules (1876)


1876 is an epoch-making year in the history of cataloguing, for in this year was published Charles Ammi Cutter‟s Rules for a Dictionary Catalogue (RDC) containing 205 rules. The latest 4th edition was published in 1904 from Washington. This edition contains 369 rules. For the Dictionary catalogue it is still the standard code of rules, and there is every reason to suppose that it will remain so. Henry A. Sharp has evaluated this code as „the first code of complete cataloguing practice for every kind of entry in a dictionary catalogue‟.


Cutter‟s code of rules not only provides rules for subject entry and the arrangement of entries, but also indicates methods that may be adopted for brief, moderately full and very full cataloguing. As such, it is suited to the needs of all types of libraries. Dorothy M. Norris remarks that Cutter‟s rules „are a sound exposition of the fundamentals of cataloguing and should be studied by all would be cataloguers‟.


Cutter strengthened the concept that catalogues not only should point the ways to an individual publication, but should also assemble and organize literary units. Dr. S R Ranganathan has remarked him as genius and his work RDC as classic and immortal.


Other features of the code include, rules for corporate authorship more developed and numerous than British Museum with valuable discussions on the difficulties, entry under name of the institution, but government organizations under place name, division of corporate authorship in 4 types, „double entry recommended quite often when no alternative is completely acceptable. A list of objectives is given at the beginning of the code, followed by comprehensive list of definitions. Rules for cataloguing special materials (Manuscripts, maps etc) by other compilers are included at the end of the work.


3.4 The Prussian Instructions-PIN Code (1899)


The Prussian Instructions: Rules for the alphabetical catalogues of the Prussian libraries translated from the second edition by Andrew Osborn (1938).


A significant contribution to cataloguing rules, after Cutter is found in Prussian Instructions. PIN may be taken to be the second important code of a non local nature. It was designed originally for compiling a union catalogue of the then German State Libraries. Although not very influential in English speaking countries, PIN did influence cataloguing in Halland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Hungray, Switzerland etc.


The Basic PIN like British Museum code has fairly short entries and a few added references are used for alternative approaches to some documents. In addition, PIN is one of the few codes to include specific instructions for various degrees of limited cataloguing. Filing instructions are also included.


The most outstanding feature of PIN is that it does not recognize the concept of corporate authorship. They are treated either as of personal authorship or anonymous works.


Dr. Osborn makes 3 criticisms of PIN in the introduction of his translation:


(a)  Rules are too complicated.

(b) Too few references are allowed.

(c)  Too many titles do not lend themselves readily to the prescribed formulas.


3.5 Dziatzka Code (1886)


In 1886, Prof. K. Dziatzka, a German librarian published his code which was translated into English by an American librarian K.A. Linderfelt and published in 1890. Special features of the code are:-


(a) It does not accept the principle of corporate authorship, entry being made under title, and

(b) The grammatical arrangement of title entries is preferred, as compared to Anglo-American practice of natural word order.


Andrew Osborn has praised the code due to 3 reasons:


(a)  It is not a theoretical utterance but consists of carefully throughout rules, based on practical experience.

(b) Wording throughout is clear, and all terms have been defined.

(c)  The grasp of essentials displayed by its framers is truly noteworthy.


3.6 Anglo-American Code (1908)


Cataloguing rules: Author and title entries, Complied by Committees of the Library Association and the ALA. Published as American Edition and British Edition.


The American Library Association (1876) and Library Association (1877) issued independent set of rules in 1878 and 1883 respectively. Both decided to issue a combined code to secure greater uniformity in cataloguing between English speaking areas. It was issued in 1908. L.S. Jast and Henry Guppy, the two eminent British librarians, and Melvil Dewey representing the American libraries, played a significant role in producing the joint code.


The 174 rules relate to the entry, heading and descriptive cataloguing of works for an author and title catalogue guided chiefly by the requirements of larger libraries of a scholarly character. The preface acknowledges and the notes throughout the text indicate the influence of Cutter, PIN, British Museum Code and L.C. rules.


AA  Code gives more importance to corporate author and commits first time the blunder of the distinguishing institution from society. Its importance lies in the fact of its being the first international cataloguing code, in the extent of its rapid and wide-spread adoption and use by all kinds of and size of libraries in the two countries since its introduction, and in its continued use in Britain. Its definitions are more acceptable than that of RDC.


AA    Code was criticized as being too elaborate for application to small libraries and for its omission to provide rules for subject entries. There are no rules for alphabetization. The rules for maps and atlases are inadequate. No rules have been provided in the section on government publications for reports by committees, royal commissions etc., or for government institutions such as science museum. Again, there is no rule for change of name of corporate authors. The examples are one of weakest elements of code. Many are in German or Latin.


By the 1920‟s AA Code was under criticism and the need for revision was repeatedly expressed. Some called for simplification, saying the rules were too fussy, others wanted more details. Those who wanted details won. In 1930‟s Committee of ALA and LA began revision. The LA dropped out at the outbreak of war. The ALA continued alone, producing a draft code in 1941. The final version appeared in 1949, covering author and title headings, the rules for description being separately published by Library of Congress as Rules for Descriptive Cataloguing.


3.7 Vatican Code (1931)


Vatican Library: Rules for the Catalogue of Printed Books‟ Published in Italian in 1931, 2nd edition 1939. Translated from the 2nd Italian edition. Edited by Wyllis E. Wright. Chicago, ALA, 1948.


The papal (related to Pope or Catholic Church) collections at the Vatican among the riches in Europe, had a catalogue which was more of an inventory type. In 1927, the Vatican Library was offered aid by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to compile a new catalogue for its collection and a team of American Librarians consisting J.C.M Hanson and W.W. Bishop compiled a catalogue.


As the dictionary form of catalogue was decided upon, Cutter‟s rules provided a basis, for this was the only code to contain rules on the choice of subject headings for dictionary catalogue. The existing Italian rules for the compilation of the alphabetical catalogue 1911 and the ALA rules were taken in evolving the Vatican rules. It is one of the few modern codes to cover the whole field of cataloguing author entry, the description of the book, subject entry and filling. There are several useful appendices including some excellent sample cards, rules for cataloguing 15th and 16th century books and a glossary of library terms in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish languages. The code is still used in Vatican Library.


3.8 ALA Rules (1949)


ALA Cataloguing Rules for Author and Title Entries. Chicago, ALA, 1949. Rules for Descriptive Cataloguing in the Library of Congress. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949.


Between 1936 and 1939 both Library Associations (LA & ALA) cooperated in preparation for a new joint code, as AA Code was not fulfilling the requirements. But due to outbreak of war, British participation was discontinued. The ALA proceeded independently and produced their preliminary second edition of the code in 1941 in two parts: Part 1 Entry and Headings and Part 2 Descriptions of books, in which 174 rules of the AA Code had grown to 375. The 1941 version was widely criticized by A.D. Osborn in his article „The Crisis in Cataloguing‟, charging it too legalistic. The reasons for making the rules were ignored at the expense of detail and principles were obscured completely. Many librarians also started thinking in this direction. Inspite of this, 2nd edition came out in 1949. Descriptive part was dropped and it was issued by Library of Congress in 1949. This carries all the mistakes that are already criticized. It is also too elaborate and also not suitable for small libraries. J.H. Shera has criticized saying that „the 40 some pages in 1908 has blossomed into over 200 in 1949, an increase in bulk of some 500%, while the 15 or more pages of descriptive cataloguing in 1908 were now 100. To the cry of greater simplification, he proclaimed the answer of the profession has been to expand the code from a total of 88 pages in 1908 to a total of 406 pages in 1949.


The gist of the outstanding criticism of Semour Lubetzky would be worth mentioning here, which he expressed in his library world-shaking booklet entitled “Cataloguing Rules and Principles” published in 1953. His criticism against the codification of cataloguing rules that they were full of complexities, redundancy, inconsistency and unnecessary elaboration, was widely welcomed.


Lubetzky indicated a way of establishment of simple and workable code based on well defined principles recognizing more generalized conditions. The review of his logical genesis of the ALA rules for corporate entry right from Panizzi and Cutter to the present reveals the basic problems relating to the entry under name or place as well as distinctive and common names. Lubetzky‟s recommendations and solutions to the problems are unique and important from practical point of view.


A Committee was formed and Lubetzky was appointed as chairman in 1956 and he published first draft in 1960, under the title „Code of Cataloguing Rules: Author and Title Entry‟.


3.9 Classified Catalogue Code (CCC) Ed 5 (1964)


The Classified Catalogue Code first published in 1934 is a unique contribution of Dr. S.R. Ranganathan from India which can be claimed as universal code. It is the first code complete in every respect for a classified catalogue. The subject approach has been recognized as the dominant one in


CCC.   The arrangement of cards in the catalogue trays follow the order of the classification scheme. It also provides facility for preparing another part i.e. alphabetical part. This part contains alphabetical arrangement by authors, collaborators, series, editor of series and titles. It gives rules for Main Entry, Class Index Entries, Book Index Entries, Cross Reference Index Entries, for single volume, multi volume, composite books, periodicals, national bibliographies, union catalogue of books and periodicals, indexing and abstracting periodicals. The foundation of the code is based on the normative principles and the Canons of Cataloguing which Ranganathan evolved in his


“Theory of Library Catalogue” in 1938. B S Kesavan remarks that “Ranganathan‟s classified code is the logical consequence of a mental approach deeply evolved in classification research, Ranganathan, in his code sought to remove the restriction of local usages by the concepts of the language of the library and the scale of language in which the language of the library comes first and the others come in their descending sequence of favouredness.


Some amendments and additions made in CCC after 1964 are published as Part N in Cataloguing Practice published in 1974 and will be incorporated in Ed.


6 of CCC. The only lacuna in his code is that it does not cover the category of non-book material.


3.10 AACR-1 (1967)


Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (North American Text), Chicago, ALA, 1967. (British Text). London, Library Association, 1967. It was prepared by the ALA, The Library of Congress, The Library Association (London) & The Canadian Library Association. It was edited by Semour Lubetzky from 1956-62, but later on due to difference of opinion on rules for institution, he resigned and Mr. C Sumner Spalding completed the work in 1962-65. AACR-1 in real sense represents the result of 35 years of activity in the codification of cataloguing rules for British and American libraries. British text is having 216 rules while American text 226 rules. It can be called as multi-national code.


AACR-1 is based on the „Statement of Principles‟ adopted by the ICCP in 1961 with certain significant departures. Earlier codes emphasized specific rules for various types of publications and various classes of persons and corporate bodies. The present rules are based on a set of principles, followed as consistently as possible allowing for the necessity of reaching common agreement.


AACR-1 includes rules for author/title main entry headings, added entry headings and references, uniform titles for both title and author entry, description, and all these in relation to any forms, including three dimensional ones. Though it is meant completely for alphabetical catalogue, but it can still be applied without modifications to author/title elements of classified catalogue. It is written primarily for large research libraries, but can easily be used by all other types of libraries.


According to Tail and Anderson AACR-1 is a complete code in the sense that it covered both choice and form of entry word and description of the material. It also goes further than previous codes in including rules for a large number of non-book materials likely to be found in a large library – manuscripts, maps, films, prints, records etc. The rules for choice of entry are almost always kept quite distinct from those form of headings, which in turn are clearly distinct from those of description. The form of those examples given with the rules are considerable improved. F. Bernice Field reviewed the AACR-1 (American Text) as “AACR will make catalogues easier to understand, to explain, and to use them at present. The cataloguing process will be more reasonable because the rules are based on principles that are clearly explained instead of precedents”.


3.11 AACR-2 (1978)


It is prepared by ALA, The British Library, the Canadian Committee on Cataloguing, The Library Association, and the Library of Congress and is edited by Michael Gorman and Paul W. Winkler.


The increasing mechanization in cataloguing, the growth of centralized and cooperative bibliographic services and networks, introduction of a number of new media, all these have necessitated a revised code of AACR. The objectives of AACR-2 are as follows:-


(a)  To reconcile in a single text the North American and British texts of 1967.

(b) To incorporate in the single text all amendments and changes already agreed and implemented under the previous mechanisms.

(c)  To consider for inclusion in AACR all proposals for amendment currently under discussion between the ALA, the Library Association; any new proposals put forward by these bodies and the British Library; and proposals of national committees of other countries in which AACR is in use.

(d) To provide for international interest in AACR by facilitating its use in countries other than the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.


Some of the important features of AACR-2 are:-


(a)  Abandonment of entry under the name of a place of certain institutional bodies.

(b) Substitution of uniform titles for form headings.

(c)  Title headings for marks produced under editorial direction.

(d) Provision of standardized framework for the systematic description of all library materials for machine processing. It is based on ISBD‟s. Hence AACR-2 is an attempt towards international catalogue code.

(e) It has extended its coverage to new categories of library materials AACR-1 was generally inadequate in its coverage of audiovisual materials. AACR-2 is an improvements over AACR-1.

(f) Provision of 3 level of description makes it useful for all types of libraries.


3.12 AACR-2R (1988 revision and 2002 revision)


Over the years, AACR-2 has been updated by occasional amendments, and was significantly revised in 1988 and 2002. These revised editions are known as AACR-2R (2nd edition, 1988 revision and 2nd edition, 2002 revision) respectively. The 2002 revision included substantial changes to sections for non-book materials. Annual updates began in 2003 and ceased with 2005.


3.13 RDA (2003)


AACR-2R has been succeeded by Resource Description & Access (RDA) which is developed by the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA with representatives from the American Library Association, Australian Committee on Cataloguing, British Library, Canadian Committee on Cataloguing, CILIP and Library of Congress. It is the new cataloguing standard that will replace AACR-2R. It provides guidelines on cataloguing digital resources and a stronger emphasis on helping users to find, identify, select and obtain the information they want. It is a flexible and suitable framework for use in a digital environment. RDA has been dealt in detail in Module 33.

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Further Readings

  1. Bakewell, K.G.B.: A manual of cataloguing. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1974. Chap. 2&3.
  2. Hanson, Eugene R. and Daily, Jay E.: Catalogues and cataloguing (In Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, V. 4. P 242-305).
  3. Osborn, A.D.: The crisis in cataloguing Library Quarterly, 20, 1950, 147-150.
  4. Strut, Ruth French: The development of catalogue and cataloguing codes (In Toward a better cataloguing code. P 4-26).
  5. Wright, Wyllise: The AACR: a historical perspective LRTS, 20 (1), 1976, 36-48