Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/129

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THE BRITISH MUSEUM CATALOGUE AS THE BASIS OF A UNIVERSAL CATALOGUE[1]

But little has of late been heard of the proposed Universal Catalogue of Literature, which was a favourite subject of discussion some years ago. The cause may partly be the loss of some like Sir Henry Cole and the late lamented Mr. Ernest Thomas, who were especially interested in the project; but must be mainly, I should think, the growing perception of the difficulty of the undertaking. It could no doubt be performed by a sufficiently numerous body of competent persons, working under efficient control, guided by fixed rules, and influenced by such consideration in the shape of salary and pension as to induce them to devote their lives to it. There is not, however, the least probability of the endowment of such a college of cataloguers. If the Universal Catalogue is ever to be attained, we must submit to proceed by gradual approaches, and to be content with something very far short of perfection in the execution of the work. We must take the printed

  1. Communicated to the Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Library Association, Paris, September 1892.

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