Guide to the Research Collections



An impressive number of the catalogs for the various collections found in the New York Public Library's Research Libraries have been produced in book form either by the library or in cooperation with other publishers. The divisions, collections, or subject areas represented are: American History Division; Arents Collection of Books Relating to Tobacco; Arents Collection of Books in Parts; Berg Collection of English and American Literature; Government Publications; Jewish Division; Manuscripts and Archives Division; Map Division; Music Division; Oriental Division; Rare Book Division; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Slavonic Division; Spencer Collection of Illustrated Books and Manuscripts and Fine Bindings; Theatre: Drama Collection, and Books on the Theatre; World War I Collection; and, more recently represented, the Dance Collection and the Local History and Genealogy Division. Only the following major subject areas are left uncovered: art and architecture, economic and public affairs, science and technology, prints, nonbook-form material in the Theatre Collection, phonorecords, and other audiovisual materials. All but the last four of these categories will, however, be included in the projected "Dictionary Catalog ... 1911-1971."


Dictionary Catalog of the Research Libraries, 1911-1971 (projected)

This will be a photographic reproduction of the approximately 11,000,000 entries under author, title, and subject in the main Public Catalog of the Research Libraries, which was established in 1911 with the opening of the Central Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street and located in Room 315. Incorporated into the catalog at that time were entries representing the holdings of two predecessor libraries, the Astor Library (founded in 1848) and the Lenox Library (established in 1870). Excluded from this catalog are entries for books in non-Roman alphabets (Cyrillic, Oriental, Hebrew); entries for some special collections (such as Arents Collections and the Berg Collection); and some nonbook-form materials (such as manuscripts, maps, phonorecords, prints, and the like). When issued, this will be the only dictionary catalog (authors, titles, subjects) of a major research collection ever published. It will contain, moreover, many references to periodical articles.

Dictionary Catalog of the Research Libraries, 1971-

This catalog (New York: The New York Public Library) is a cumulative list of authors, titles, and subjects representing books and book-like materials (including microforms and music scores) added to the collections since January 1, 1971. The first official issue of the catalog (January 1972) includes a selection of materials added to the collections during 1971. Some materials cataloged in 1971 were added to the Public Catalog only; other materials cataloged in 1971 appear in both the Public Catalog and the Dictionary Catalog; still others appear in the Dictionary Catalog only. Therefore, readers should consult the Public Catalog for titles published before 1972 that are not found in the Dictionary Catalog. The first issue of the Dictionary Catalog was followed by various cumulations and supplements which were superseded by a basic set cumulating all previous issues: there are bimonthly supplements to the basic set, and each segment of the basic set is cumulated on a rotation basis. The underlying principle of the cumulation cycle is to prevent the necessity of searching for an item in more than two sources--a cumulated basic volume and the more recent cumulative supplement.

New acquisitions in certain areas excluded from the Public Catalog are being or will be covered by the Dictionary Catalog. New materials from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (newly designated a part of the Research Libraries) have been covered since October 1972, and Cyrillic materials (with the entries in Romanized forms) have been covered since January 1973. From mid-1973 new book acquisitions of the Arents, Berg, and Spencer Collections have been cataloged in the Dictionary Catalog, and from January 1974 data for nonbook materials (e.g., sheet maps, motion pictures, and phonorecords) have been included on a selective basis, coverage to be systematically expanded. Since 1974, Hebrew works have been cataloged according to the ANSI Z39 Committee's computer-compatible transcription. See the introduction to the latest volume of the catalog for information on new cataloging policies. Oriental works will be covered in the future, along with manuscripts and prints at a later point.


Except where noted, the following catalogs published in book form were produced by G.K.

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Hall & Company of Boston; these are arranged alphabetically by the name of the division, collection, or subject area: