Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/12

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PREFACE

in how many the introduction of print is as yet resisted, or beset with impediments hitherto insurmountable, it is clear that the benefits of printing may even now be set forth with profit. Fortunately, however, the question is but historical as regards the only library of which the present writer can presume to speak. Typography has now reigned at the British Museum for nearly twenty years, and any discussion of its advantages or disadvantages contained in the following essays may be regarded as out of date. It is hoped, nevertheless, that the historical interest attaching to the subject may excuse the reproduction of these papers. "Public Libraries and their Catalogues" (1879) depicts the hesitations of a transition period when the subject was in the air, but when the precise manner in which the introduction of print would take place was as yet uncertain. "The Printing of the British Museum Catalogue" (1882) describes the results of nearly two years of actual work; and "The Past, Present, and Future of the British Museum Catalogue" (1888) reviews the entire subject, both historically and with a view to the eventual republication of the catalogue. A fourth paper, contributed to the American Library Conference of 1885, has been withheld, to minimise the repetition which may be justly alleged as a defect in the essays now reprinted. The indulgent reader will consider that it was impossible to travel