Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/65

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PUBLIC LIBRARIES AND THEIR CATALOGUES

the ignorant alike. The recognition of the want, however, imposes an additional strain upon the resources of the institution, which the British Museum, at all events, over-burdened as it is already, cannot encounter without a considerable addition to its resources. The question of classification is, moreover, most difficult of solution. Only two points seem universally agreed upon: that the best subject index must be far from perfect, and that the worst is far better than none. Two principal methods are proposed for adoption. The first is the simple and obvious one of recataloguing every book entered in the Alphabetical Catalogue in the briefest possible form, and breaking up these titles into sections, according to subject, the alphabetical order being still preserved in each. Thus Simson's "History of the Gipsies" would be found in the General Catalogue entered at length, and again in an abridged form in a special index of books relating to the Gipsies, which would refer the reader to the General Catalogue. The other system is the so-called Dictionary Catalogue, which combines the main entry and the subject entry in the same alphabetical series. In such a catalogue Simson's book would be entered twice over, under Simson and under Gipsies; while Paspati's "Dictionary of the Dialect of the Turkish Gipsies," if the librarian were as accommodating as some of his fraternity, would stand a chance of being catalogued four times over, under Paspati, Gipsies, Turkey, and Dictionaries. This system, first