The Philadelphia Bibliographical Center and Union Library Catalogue developed out of two separate organizations: the Union Library Catalogue of the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area and the Bibliographical Planning Committee. It attemps to combine the function of a union catalogue—the location of books—with a more ambitious programme, to render assistance in work of bibliographical nature to individuals and librarians, and to act as a focal point of library co‐operation. The individual library, in Philadelphia as in any other book centre, is primarily concerned with serving its own stock to its own clientele. Any activity which is concerned with the community or the nation as a whole, which reaches outside the library's own sphere of influence, has to be attended to in spare time. In contrast, a bibliographical centre serves no specific group; it is concerned with all printed material available in the area and, so far as bibliographical research is concerned, with all such records available anywhere. Its function therefore starts exactly where ordinarily that of the individual library ends. The history of the Union Library Catalogue, the Bibliographical Planning Committee, and the Bibliographical Center is the story of slow but steady progress towards better documentation on a regional basis.
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