Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/105

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
85
PRINTING THE BRITISH MUSEUM CATALOGUE

Evidently, however, the catalogue cannot at the close of this century be absolutely complete as respects the Museum, as a host of accession titles will have been growing up, a great part of which, coming after the volume which would otherwise have included them has been printed, will be too late to be comprised in the general alphabetical series. It may not, perhaps, be too much to hope that the claims of culture upon the State will by that time be sufficiently recognised to induce the Government to bear the cost of reprinting the whole catalogue with these titles, that the literary register may be as complete as possible, and to provide for the regular repetition of the process at definite intervals. If, however, this is not done, there is still another agent that may be invoked. When the Museum shall have adopted Photography as it has adopted Electricity; when it shall possess–and I trust that long ere that period it will possess–a photographic department, an established branch of its organisation in which, the salaries of the staff being defrayed as in other departments by the State, there will be no expense to be considered beyond the mere cost of chemicals, there need be no limit to the reproduction of its treasures. Sculptures, coins, and prints can be disseminated over every hamlet; manuscripts can be multiplied indefinitely and exchanged with foreign libraries for corresponding donations, illustrative of English history and antiquities; foreign and country scholars will be able to consult rare books and unique manuscripts without leaving their arm-chairs; and, above