Guide to the Research Collections

- Section -- I -- GENERAL MATERIALS
- PART ONE
- 1 -- GENERAL RESEARCH AND HUMANITIES DIVISION
- PUBLIC CATALOG, BOOK CATALOGS, INDEXES

PUBLIC CATALOG, BOOK CATALOGS, INDEXES

In addition to general reference work, a major function of the General Research and Humanities Division is to interpret the massive Public Catalog. Included here are cards for all book and booklike materials in the Roman alphabet and in Greek with the following exceptions: there are no cards for manuscripts, phonorecords, prints and drawings, music scores, sheet music, maps, and moving picture stills; there are no cards here for materials in the Berg Collection or the Arents Collections, and only a partial record of Spencer Collection holdings (these materials must be located through the appropriate subject or special collections of the Research Libraries, with the exception of nonmusical phonorecords, which are listed in a supplementary catalog located in the General Research and Humanities Division). Although the most complete record of newspaper holdings is to be found in the card catalog of the Newspaper Collection, a separate catalog for newspapers is kept at the Information Desk in Room 315; retrospective and current newspaper series are now being added to the Public Catalog. The Research Libraries holdings in the Cyrillic script and in the Oriental languages and Hebrew or Yiddish are recorded in the division catalogs of the Slavonic Division, the Oriental Division, and the Jewish Division, respectively.

The Public Catalog is a dictionary catalog containing author, title, and subject entries for materials acquired up to 1971. From the library's earliest years, entries have also been prepared which index articles in periodicals and learned journals; ordinarily only subject cards for such articles are made. Since these index entries are largely for material not covered by published indexes, they form an immensely valuable feature of the catalog.

The General Research and Humanities Division keeps at hand the book catalogs of the Manuscripts and Archives, Map, Slavonic, and Oriental Divisions, and those of the Schomburg Center and the Berg and Arents Tobacco Collections, the book catalogs of the drama and World War I collections, as well as the Dictionary Catalog of The Research Libraries for post-1970 acquisitions.1 All printed book catalogs of the collections of the Research Libraries are intended to be located in this division for use in conjunction with the Public Catalog. Near the Public Catalog, too, are kept recent indexes of the New York Times and many of the H.W. Wilson periodical indexes, as well as sets of Cumulative Book Index, the book catalogs of the Library of Congress, including The National Union Catalog Pre-1956 Imprints, the British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books, and other standard bibliographic tools.