Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/63

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43
PUBLIC LIBRARIES AND THEIR CATALOGUES

cataloguing, framed in 1839 by Sir A. Panizzi, Mr. Winter Jones, and their staff, will, we believe, be now generally accepted by bibliographers as embodying the principles of sound cataloguing.[1] They may not be equally satisfactory to the general public, with its preference for rough and ready methods; a very short experience, however, will convince any man that such methods in cataloguing mean simply hopeless confusion, and that it is far better that a book should be now and then hidden away than that entire categories of books should be entered at random, with no endeavour at principle or uniformity. On the part of almost all qualified bibliographers, the Museum Catalogue receives the sincerest form of flattery—imitation: the few points still debated, such as whether anonymous books with no proper name on the title-page should be entered under the first substantive or the first word, are not material; and the impediments sometimes experienced in consulting it arise from no defect in its cataloguing rules, but from the great difficulty in digesting such long and complicated articles as Academies into a perspicuous and logical arrangement. The problem is no longer one of cataloguing, but of classification, and in this department ample room remains for discussion and scientific progress. The question of the strictly classified catalogue

  1. A revised edition of these rules, substantially the same in principle, but different in wording and arrangement, was prepared in the Department of Printed Books in 1895, and printed privately in the following year.