History of Cataloging

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by royounga
Last updated 6 years ago

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History of Cataloging

Ancient Cataloging

Sometime around 296 B.C. in Alexandria, Greece; Callimachus designed the first cataloging system (alphabetical subject classification). This particular system was in continuous use during the third century BC throughout the Roman Empire.

Alexandria Callimachus had an amazing idea...Why not organize the library in divisions?

6 main divisions of poetry ~epic~elegy~iambics~melodrama~tragedy ~comedy

5 divisions of prose ~history ~rhetoric ~philosophy ~medicine~law

3rd division of varia~fishing, ~cake baking~other works of this type

In this particular cataloging system it was important to know:~Where the book came from~Who the author was~Whether the book was a copy or originalThis is what determined how they would organize the books!

The Chief goals of cataloging include:~archiving ~preserving ~providing scholarly access

Scrolls were put in alphabetical order by author, title, and then the number of rolls in that set.

Terentius Varro, the organizer of the first Roman public library, wrote De bibliothecis, a 3 volume book about technical arrangement and the history of libraries. This book was based upon Greek libraries. He may have intended it to be used as a guide for the construction of the first library.

Carl Sagan introduces the Great Library of Alexandria - You Tube



Discussion Questions1. Why do you think they divided the library and cataloging into divisions?2. Why do you think cataloging was so important then? Why did Alexandria think it was important to ogranize books, scrolls, and information? 3. After learning about cataloging practices, do you think cataloging is just as important now as it was then? Why or why not?



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