Charles A. (Charles Ammi) Cutter.

Rules for a dictionary catalog online

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Brigham Young University





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Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1875, by

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

First edition, 1876; 89 pages, 5,000 copies.
Second edition, 1889; 133 pages, 20,000 copies.
Third edition, 1891; 140 pages, 5,000 copies.
Reprint of third edition, 1898; 140 pages, 1,000 copies.
Reprint of third edition, 1899; 140 pages, 1,000 copies.
Reprint of third edition, 1900; 140 pages, 1,000 copies.
Reprint of third edition, 1902; 140 pages, 1,000 copies.
Reprint of third edition, 1903; 140 pages, 1,000 copies.


There are plenty of treatises on classification, of which accounts may
be found in Edwards's Memoirs of libraries and Petzholdt's Bibliotheca
bibliographica. The classification of the St. Louis Public School
Library catalogue is briefly defended by W. T. Harris in the preface
(which is reprinted, with some additions, from the Journal of specu-
lative philosophy for 1870). Professor Abbot's plan is explained in a
pamphlet printed and in use at Harvard College Library, also in his
"Statement respecting the new catalogue" (part of the report of the
examining committee of the library for 1863), and in the North Amer-
ican review for January, 1869. The plan of Mr. Schwartz, librarian
of the Apprentices' Library, New York, is partially set forth in the
preface to this catalog; and a fuller explanation is preparing for pub-
lication. For an author-catalog there are the famous 91 rules of the
British Museum "''' (prefixed to the Catalogue of printed books, vol. 1,
1841, or convenientl}^ arranged in alphabetical order by Th. Nichols
in his Handbook for readers at the British Museum, 1866); Professor
Jewett's modification of them (Smithsonian Report on the construction
of catalogues, 1852); Mr. F. B. Perkins's further modification (in the
American publisher for 1869), and a chapter in the second volume of
Edwards, f But for a dictionary-catalog as a whole, and for most of
its parts, there is no manual whatever. Nor have any of the above-
mentioned works attempted to set forth the rules in a systematic way
or to investigate what might be called the first principles of cataloging.
It is to be expected that a first attempt will be incomplete, and I shall
be obliged to librarians for criticisms, objections, or new problems,
with or without solutions. With such assistance perhaps a second
edition of these hints would deserve the title — Rules.

♦Compiled by a committee of five, Panizzi, Th. Watts, J. Winter Jones, J. H. Parry, and E. Edwards,
in several months of hard labor.

fTo these may now be added: Condensed rules for an author and title catalogue, prepared by the
Cooperation Committee, A. L. A. 1883, revised by the Advisory Catalog Committee, 1902; F: B. Per-
kins's San Francisco cataloguing (1884); C: Dziatzko's Instruction fiir die Ordnung der Titel im
alphabetischen Zettelkatalog der Univ. Bibliothek zu Breslau (1886), of which an adaptation has
been made by Mr. K. A: Llnderfelt, Boston, 1890; Melvil Dewey's Condensed rules for a card cata-
logue, with. 36 sample cards (published in the Library notes, v. 1, No. 2, 1886, and reprinted as Rules
for author and classed catalogs; with changes, additions, and a Bibliography of catalog rules by Mary
Salome Cutler, Boston, 1888, and again as Library School rules, in four editions, Boston, 1890, 1892,
1894, and 1899); G. FumagaUi's Cataloghi di biblioteche (1887); H: B. Wheatley's How to catalogue
a library (1889); and various discussions in the Library journal, the Neucr Anzciger, and the Central-
blatt fiir BibUothekswesen,


Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
^ Brigham Young University


On seeing the great success of the Library of Congress cataloging,
I doubted whether it was worth while to prepare and issue this fourth
edition of my Rules; but I reflected that it would be a considerable
time before all libraries would use the cards of that librarj^, and a
long time before the Library of Congress could furnish cards for all
books, long enough for the libraries to absorb another edition and use
it up in that part of their cataloging which they must do themselves.
Still I can not help thinking that the golden age of cataloging is over,
and that the difliculties and discussions which have furnished an inno-
cent pleasure to so many will interest them no more. Another lost
art. But it will be ail the better for the pockets of the public, or
rather it will be better for other parts of the service — the children's
room and the information desk, perhaps.

In the last two years a great change has come upon the status of
cataloging in the United States. The Librarj^ of Congress has begun
furnishing its printed catalog cards on such liberal terms that any
new librar}" would be very foolish not to make its catalog mainly of
them, and the older libraries find them a valuable assistance in the
cataloging of their accessions, not so much because they are cheaper
as because in the case of most libraries they are better than the
library is likely to make for itself.

The differences between these rules and those adopted by the
Library c ngress are of two classes. The first class of differences
is in trifles of punctuation, capitalization, the place of certain items
on the cards, and the like. If one alread}^ has a catalog with a large
number of cards, and merely inserts in it as many of the Library of
Congress cards as possible, I see no reason for altering one's own
style, either on the past accumulations or on the new cards that one
is to write. The two kinds of cards can stand together in the drawers
and the public will never notice the difference. But if one is com-
mencing a new catalog, to be composed mainly of Library of Congress
cards, I advise following the Library of Congress rules closely. It
will save much trouble.



In the second class of differences, those relating to place of entry of
the card in the catalog, or of choice of heading, we must note that it
is very easy to alter the entry of a Library of Congress card, as there
is room enough above the heading on the printed card to write in the
one preferred. A librarian who alread}' has a large catalog will there-
fore find no difficulty in continuing his present heading and need
change only if he thinks the Librar}^ of Congress practice better.
Nevertheless, as it is some trouble to look for differences of practice,
and there is alwaj^s a chance of overlooking one and so getting dif-
ferent entries for similar books, it would be well to adopt the Library
of Congress rules unless there is some decided reason against them.
The librarian who is just commencing his catalog has still more reason
for this course. In the matter of capitalization, on which the advisory
committee give no advice, the course I recommend was decidedly
favored by the votes of the Catalog Section, at the meeting of the
\j^ American Library- Association at Magnolia in 1902. This course does
not agree with the present practice at the Librarj^ of Congress.

The convenience of the public is alwaj^s to be set before the ease of
the cataloger. In most cases they coincide. A plain rule without
exceptions is not only easy for us to carrj^ out, but easj" for the public
to understand and work by. But strict consistency in a rule and uni-
formit}" in its application sometimes lead to practices which clash with
the public's habitual way of looking at things. When these habits are
general and deeply rooted, it is unwise for the cataloger to ignore
them, even if they demand a sacrifice of sj'stem and simplicit3\

The rules issued by the advisor}^ catalog committee of the American
Library Association are, according to the preface to the printed edition
of these rules, expressl}^ designed to be made for the use of a learned
librar3\ The old catalogs were not made for children, but the modern
ones have to be, especially in a circulating librar}", for the children
are the library's best clients. That the committee has always under-
stood the public's views, estimated correctl}^ its power of changing
them, and drawn the line in the right place between a conservative
regard for custom and a wish to lead the public toward a desirable
simplicit}^ and consistency is too much to assume, but I have at least
always looked for the reasons on both sides.

The increase in the number of rules is due chiefl}" not to making
new rules, but to taking out from the long notes many recommenda-
tions that were in effect rules, and are more easil}^ referred to and
found in their present place. The changes are largely for the sake of
greater clearness and of better classification.

Cataloging is an art, not a science. No rules can take the place of

experience and good judgment, but some of the results of experience

may be best indicated by rules.

•" ^ C. A. C.



It is with extreme reluctance that I add one word to those written by the author.
It is, however, necessary to explain that no liberties whatever have been taken with
the manuscript left by the author, and the additions made are only those necessary
on account of the lack of manuscript. The rules for imprint are reprinted from the
third edition for this reason. The Appendix has been shortened by the omission of
all the other rules and of the list of reference books. The articles on the cataloging
of special material have been added.

The death of the author, which occurred on September 6, 1903, removed from
among us one whose industry had done much to make the profession what it is in

W. P. Cutter.




General remabks * H

Objects - 12

Means 12

Reasons for choice among methods 12

Definitions ( witli a note on classification) 13

A. Entry (Where to enter) 25

1. Author-catalog 25

A. Authors 26

1. Personal 26

a. "Who is to be considered author 26

b. What part of the name is to be used 31

c. What form of the name is to be used 36

2. Corporate * 39

B. Substitutes for authors 50

c. References - 53

D. Economies 55

2. Title-catalog 56

3. Subject-catalog 66

A. Entries considered separately 66

1. Choice between different subjects 66

2. Choice between different names 69

3. The number of subject entries 75

4. Miscellaneous rules and examples 77

B. Entries considered as parts of a whole 79

4. Form-catalog 81

5. Analysis '. - 82

B. Style ( How to enter) 84

1. Headings 85

2. Titles (Order, abridgment, etc. ) 92

3. Editions 99

4. Imprints 100

5. Collation , 102

6. Contents and note.- 104

7. References - 105

8. Language 106

9. Capitals - - - 106

10. Punctuation, etc 109

11. Arrangement Ill

a. Headings Ill

b. Subheadings 116

c. Titles 118

d. Contents 122

e. Subjects 122

/. Synopses of the arrangement 128

12. Etcetera 129




Other catalogs 131

Cataloging special publications and other material 135

1. Manuscripts. By "Worthiiigton C. Ford 135

2. Music. By 0. G. Sonneck 138

3. Maps and atlases. By P. Lee Phillips - - 140

4. Miscellaneous material 146


I. A. L. A. Transliteration reports T 147

II. A. L. A. Book size report 155

III. Abbreviations - - 157





No code of cataloging could be adopted in all points by every one,
because the libraries for stud}' and the libraries for reading have dif-
ferent objects, and those which combine the two do so in dift'erent
proportions. Again, the preparation of a catalog must vary as it is
to be manuscript or printed, and, if the latter, as it is to be merely an
index to the libra r}", giving in the shortest possible compass clues by
which the public can find books, or is to attempt to furnish more infoT-
mation on various points, or finally is to be made with a certain regard
to what maj' be called st3'le. Without pretending to exactness, we
may divide dictionary catalogs into short-title, medium-title, and full-
title or bibliographic; t3'pical examples of the three being, 1°, the
Boston Mercantile (1869) or the Cincinnati Public (1871); 2% the Bos-
ton Public (1861 and 1866), the Boston Athenaeum (1874-82); 3°, the
catalog now making l)}^ the Library of Congress. To avoid the con-
stant repetition of such phrases as "the full catalog of a large librar}"'"
and " a concise finding-list," 1 shall use the three words Short, Medium,
and Full as proper names, with the preliminary caution that the Short
familj^ are not all of the same size, that there is more than one Medium,
and that Full mav be Fuller and Fullest. Short, if single-columned,
is generalh^ a title-a-liner; if printed in double columns, it allows the
title occasionalh' to exceed one line, but not, if possible, two; Medium
does not limit itself in this wrj, but it seldom exceeds four lines, and
gets many titles into a single line. Full usually fills three or four
lines and often takes six or seven for a title.

The number of the following rules is not owing to any complexity
of system, but to the number of wideh' varying cases to which a few



simple principles liaA'e to be applied. They are especially designed
for Medium, but may easily be adapted to Short hj excision and mar-
ginal notes. The almost universal practice of printing the shelf -num-
bers or the class-numbers renders some of them unnecessary for town
and city libraries.


\ 1. To enable a person to find a book of which either

(a) the author J

(b) the title \- is known.

(c) the subject )

2. To show what the library has

(d) by a given author

(e) on a given subject

(f) in a giA'en kind of literature.

3. To assist in the choice of a book

(g) as to its edition (bibliographically).
(h) as to its character (literary or topical).


1. Author-entry with the necessar}^ references (for a and d).

2. -Title-entry or title-reference (for b).

3. Subject-entry, cross-references, and . classed subject-table (for c

and e).

4. Form-entry and language-entry (for f).

5. Giving edition and imprint, with notes when necessary (for g).

6. Notes (for h).

reasons for choice.

Among the several possible methods of attaining the objects, other
things being equal, choose that entry

(1) That will probabl}?- be first looked under by the class of people
who use the library ;

(2) That is consistent with other entries, so that one principle can
cover all;

(3) That will mass entries least in places where it is diflicult to so
arrange them that they can be readih^ found, as under names of nations
and cities.

This applies very slightly to entries under first words, because it is easy and euflS-
cient to arrange them by the alphabet.

* Note to second edition. This statement of Objects and Means has been criticized; but as it has also
been frequently quoted, usually without change or credit, in the prefaces of catalogs and elsewhere,
I suppose it has on the whole been approved.



There is such confusion in the use of terms in the various prefaces to catalogs — a
confusion that at once springs from and leads to confusion of thought and practice —
that it is worth while to propose a systematic nomenclature.

Accession (verb), to enter iu an accession book.

Accessioti hool\ the business record of books, etc., added to a librar}'^
in the order of receipt, giving* a condensed description of the
book and the essential facts in its librar}^ history.

A chronological arrangement of the book bills, more or less annotated, can be
economically substituted for this book.

Accession number^ the number given to a volimie in the order of its
addition to a library.

Accession stam^^ a numbering stamp used in printing accession num-
bers in books, on cards, etc.

Added edition^ another edition of a work already in the catalog.

Added entry, a secondary" entry, i. e., an^^ other than a main entry.

Alj)hahetic subject catalog^ a catalog arranged alphabetically by subject
heads, usually "without subdivisions.

The term is also used to include alphabetic^-classed catalogs.

Alphubetico-classed catalog, an alphabetic subject catalog in which the
subjects are grouped in broad classes with numerous alphabetic
subdivisions. It may also include author and title entries in the
same alphabet.

Analysis, the registry of part of a book or of a work contained in a
collection. (See §§ 193-196.)

Anonymous, published without the author's name.

Strictly a book is not anonymous if the author's name appears anywhere in it, but
it is safest to treat it as anonymous if the author's name does not appear in the title.
Even when the author's name is given in the second or a later volume the work is
to be treated as anonymous if the first volume does not give the author's name.

Note that the words are "in the title," not "on the title-page." Sometimes in
Government publications the author's name and the title of his work do not appear
on the title-page but on a page immediately following. Such works are not to be
treated as anonymous.

Appended; a work which has a title-page, but is connected with another
work by mention on its title-page as part of the volume, or by
continuous paging or register, is said to be apjyended to that work.

Asyndetic^ without cross-references. See Syndetic.


AuthA)i\ in the narrower sense, is the person who writes a book; in a wider
sense it may be applied to him who is the cause of the book's
existence by putting together the writings of several authors
(usually called the editor^ more properly to be called the collector).
Bodies of men ( societies, cities, legislative bodies, countries ) are
to be considered the authors of their memoirs, transactions,
journals, debates, reports, etc.

Author card., a card bearing an author entry ; usually the main author

Author catalog, an alphabetic catalog of author entries, and entries
under editors, translators, etc. It also usually contains titles,
but is then more properly called an author and title catalog. See
also Name catalog and Personal catalog.

Author entry., an entry (main or added) under the name of the author
(whethei- personal or corporate) or some substitute for it. (See
§§ 1-119.)

Bihliogra'phee., one who is the subject of a bibliography.
See note under Biograpliee.

Bibliography^ a list of the books of a particular author, printer, place,
or period, or on an}^ particular theme; the literature of a subject.
See also Catalog.

Binder's title., the title lettered on the binding of a book.

Biographee., one who is the subject of a biography.
In general the word "subject" expresses the meaning as well and being shorter

should be used in preference.

Book number., one or more characters, used to distinguish an individual
book from all others having the same class, shelf, or other generic

Bracket (noun), rectangular inclosing marks [ ].

They are used to enclose words added to a title or imprint or changed in form.
Not to be confounded with curves ( ) .

(verb), to inclose between brackets.

Broadside., a sheet of paper printed on one side only.
Ex. Posters, hand-bills, Thanksgiving proclamations, etc.

Call-rnark., characters indicating the location of a book on the shelves
and distinguishing it from all others in the library. Usually
composed of class and book number, or in fixed location, of shelf
and book number.

Caption.^ the name of a book (or of part of a book) given at the head
of the first page of text.

Card catalog., a catalog made on separate pieces of cardboard (by writ-
ing, typewriting, printing, or otherwise) and kept in drawers,
trays, books, or in any other waj^ that will allow of indefinite
intercalation without rewriting,
A catalog on ])ieces of paper is properly a slip catalog but is often included under

the general name of card catalog.


Catalog^ a list of books which is arranged on some definite plan. As
distinguished from a bibliography, it is a list of books in some
library or collection. For specific kinds of catalogs see:
Accession book Dictionar}" catalog

Alphabetic subject catalog Name catalog

Alphabetico-classed catalog Personal catalog

Author catalog Shelf list

Classed catalog Subject catalog.

Cheeky a conventional mark indicating that certain work is to be or has

been done, or conveying other information.
Cl-ass^ a collection of objects having characteristics in common.

Books are classified by bringing together those which have the same characteristics.*
Of course any characteristics might be taken, as size, or binding, or publisher. But
as nobody wants to know what books there are in the hbrary in foho, or what quartos,
or what books bound in russia or calf, or what published by John Smith, or by
Brown, Jones, and Robinson, these bases of classification are left to the booksellers
and auctioneers and trade sales. Still, in case of certain miusual or noted bindings
(as in human skin or from Grolier's library) or early or famous publishers (as Aldus
and Elzevir) a partial class-list is sometimes very properly made. But books are
most commonly brought together in catalogs because they have the same authors,
or the same subjects, or the same literary form, or are written in the same language,
or were given by the same donor, or are designed for the same class of readers.
When brought together because they are by the same author, they are not usually
thought of as classified; they form the author-catalog, and need no further mention
here except in regard to arrangement. The classes, /. e., in this case the authors,
might of course be further classified according to their nations, or their professions
(as the subjects are in national or professional biographies), or by any other set of
common characteristics, but for library purposes an alphabetical arrangement accord-
ing to the spelling of their names is universally acknowledged to be the best.

The classification by language is not generally used in full. There are catalogs in
which all the English books are separated from all the foreign; in others there are sepa-
rate hsts of French books or German books. The needs of each library must deter-
mine whether it is worth while to prepare such lists. It is undeniably useful in
almost any library to make lists of the belles lettres in the different languages; which,
though nominally a classification by language, is really a classification by literary
form, the object being to bring together all the works with a certain national flavor —
the French flavor, the German flavor, or it may be a classing by readers, the German
books being cataloged together for a German population, the French for the French,
and so on. Again, it is useful to give lists not of the belles lettres alone, but of all
the works in the rarer languages, as the Bodleian and the British IMuseum have pub-
lished separate lists of their Hebrew books. Here too the circumstances of each
library must determine where it shall draw the line between those literatures which
it will put by themselves and those which it will include and hide in the mass of its
general catalog. Xote, however, that some of the difficulties of transliterating names
of modern Greek, Russian authors, etc., are removed by putting their original works
in a separate catalog, though translations still remain to puzzle us.

The catalog by donors or original owners is usually partial (as those of the Dowse,
Barton, Prince, and Ticknor libraries). The catalogs by classes of readers are also
partial, hardly extending beyond Juvenile Literature and Sunday-school books.

♦This note has little direct bearing on practice, but by its insertion here some one interc'ted in the
theorj- of cataloging may be saved the trouble of gotag over the same ground.


Of course many subject classes amount to the same thing, the clasa Medicine Ix-ing
especially useful to medical men, Theology to the theologians, and so on.

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Online LibraryCharles A. (Charles Ammi) CutterRules for a dictionary catalog → online text (page 1 of 20)