Topic 4 Library catalogues
What do these items all have in common?
They are organised lists of things. They are all different types of ‘catalogue’ (‘A complete list of items, typically one in alphabetical or other systematic order’ – Oxford English Dictionary).
Library catalogues – what do they contain?
Library catalogues are databases containing information which relates to material located in a particular library. A library catalogue will hold information about individual items, for example, where in the library you will find the item, how long you may borrow it for and if there is more than one copy. It also holds information about what items are available in which subject areas and where in the library you will find those items.
Libraries also use catalogues to record what is available. This information used to be (and still is in some libraries) recorded on paper or card, but more often it is stored, and made available, on computers. These catalogues are sometimes referred to by the acronym OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue).