THE catalogue, as a library appliance of importance, has had more attention devoted to it than, perhaps, any other method or factor of librarianship. Its construction, materials, rules for compilation and other aspects have all been considered at great length, and in every conceivable manner, so that little remains for exposition save some points in the policy of the catalogue, and its effects on progress and methods. In the early days of the municipal library movement, when methods were somewhat crude, and hedged round with restrictions of many kinds, the catalogue, even in the primitive form it then assumed, was the only key to the book‐wealth of a library, and as such its value was duly recognized. As time went on, and the vogue of the printed catalogue was consolidated, its importance as an appliance became more and more established, and when the first Newcastle catalogue appeared and received such an unusual amount of journalistic notice, the idea of the printed catalogue as the indispensable library tool was enormously enhanced from that time till quite recently. One undoubted result of this devotion to the catalogue has been to stereotype methods to a great extent, leading in the end to stagnation, and there are places even now where every department of the library is made to revolve round the catalogue. Whether it is altogether wise to subordinate everything in library work to the cult of the catalogue has been questioned by several librarians during the past few years, and it is because there is so much to be said against this policy that the following reflections are submitted.
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