Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/131

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THE BRITISH MUSEUM CATALOGUE

Catalogue or separately, as circumstances might prescribe.

Even the Museum Catalogue, however, is at present inadequate to provide a basis for a Universal Catalogue, for the reason that it is in comparatively few hands. If general co-operation towards perfecting it is to be invited, it must be widely disseminated. It must be reprinted, and distributed gratuitously to all important libraries. It is, moreover, defective in its published form (not in the copy used in the Reading Room), even as regards the contents of the Museum itself, on account of the number of accession titles which will have been steadily accumulating during the eighteen or nineteen years of its passage through the press. A large portion of these have been absorbed during the printing; an equal number, perhaps, are excluded by the publication of the volume of catalogue before the appearance of the book. Letter B, therefore, is more complete than A, C than B, and so on. From the point of view of the Universal Catalogue, reprinting is thus an absolute necessity. It should take place at the earliest practicable date after the completion of the catalogue. The Government cannot be reasonably expected to provide the funds without strong pressure from public opinion, and it is partly in the hope of stimulating this opinion that I have ventured these observations. But if the Universal Catalogue is to be anything more than a fair vision, we must do more than stimulate others, we must organise ourselves. We must know what libraries