Ancient Cataloging Practices

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by RobinEd
Last updated 8 years ago

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Ancient Cataloging Practices

Watch this video on ancient libraries

In ancient times in the Orient, the title was the main element of identifying a work.

The Library of Alexandria

Callimachus (310/05-240 BC), scholar at the Library of Alexandria, was the author of the prose work Pinakes, which literally means ''list'' and was considered to be the first library catalog.

Ancient Cataloging Practices

Since the Renaissance, identifying by author has prevailed. The idea of authorship was most likely strengthened by the invention of printing, which led to authors' rights for literary property.

In Greco-Roman practice, the author was emphasized (e.g. classical works by Homer, Plato, etc.)

The first known cataloging occurred with ancient clay tablets that had marks on each side of the tablet. Archeologists also found lists of these tablets on separate tablets.

Discussion Questions1. Why do you think identifying a work by its author has prevailed over time"2. Where was the first library catalog mostly likely developed" 3. What would libraries catalog today without the early forethought" 4. How did the development of scrolls lead to better literacy"5. How did the Library of Alexandria catalog their scrolls, and how is this similar to today's call number system"

The Library at NivevahThe first classification system is believed to have been in Nivevah, which is in present day Iraq. Researchers have discovered that the Nivevah Empire built a library in the palace of Assur-bani-pal using cataloging practices.

Works cited

Chan, Lois Mai. Cataloging and Classification: An Introduction. Third. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 2007. Print.

Wikipedia contributors. "Library of Alexandria." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. .


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