Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/70

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50
ESSAYS IN LIBRARIANSHIP

published in 1841, has about 20,000 entries. It forms about a twentieth part of the catalogue as it now exists, which would accordingly comprise about 2,000,000 entries, in about 100 folio volumes. In addition, however, to these titles now existing in the catalogue, there are about 200,000 titles and cross-references awaiting final revision, and which, unless the present state of this revision is very considerably accelerated, will not be ready for several years. During all this period, titles for new acquisitions will keep pouring in at the rate of 40,000 per annum. All the time that the catalogue is at press, somewhere between a decade and a generation, they will continue to pour in, and will have to be included as far as possible. We must consequently expect to have to deal with from 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 titles, occupying from 150 to 200 volumes folio. It is clear that no private individual could afford either to purchase or to store such a catalogue. It would, therefore, only be useful to such institutions as might buy it or receive it as a gift. Unlike the newspapers we have mentioned, its usefulness would diminish in the ratio of its antiquity, and it could only be kept up to the mark by a succession of supplements. The total cost of providing it, minus these supplements, may be roughly estimated at £100,000. We scarcely think that Government will incur such an expenditure for such a purpose.

We should ourselves have little hesitation in pronouncing it undesirable to print the Museum