Widener librarians have begun a cleaning-up process that will remove over 1,500,000 cards--15 percent of the extensive Union Catalogue--Keyes D. Metcalf, Librarian of Harvard College, announced yesterday.
The cards describe volumes which are in the Library of Congress, but not in the Harvard College Library. According to Metcalf, these cards were used chiefly for reference purposes.
Metcalf said, however, that "the withdrawal of the cards will have no direct effect on the proposed merger of catalogues."
Last year the Library Committee voted in favor of a merger of the 10-million card Union and Harvard College Catalogues, subject to Corporation approval. While the College Catalogue lists books in Widener, Lamont, and Houghton only, the Union Catalogue includes all University libraries. Since the College Catalogue lists books under title, author, and subject, a merger would add 2,000,000 cards to the Union Catalogue, which has only the author listings.
"If the merger is approved," Metcalf added, "then the withdrawal of the Library of Congress cards will give us enough space to accommodate the cards to be added from the Harvard College Catalogue."
Several years will be required for the entire process, at a cost of nearly $5,000 a year. Librarians, who began to remove cards early in January, have now reached the letter B.
Metcalf said that "the Library of Congress cards require too much space and money." The 1,500,000 cards that will eventually be withdrawn will rave the Library $15,000 in space, the equivalent of one cent per card. In this way, the saving in catalogue space will balance the cost of removing the cards.
Catalogue Replace Cards
The Library of Congress cards will be placed in storage. For reference purposes, volumes of Library of Congress catalogues will replace them. So far, Widener has 167 volumes which list all books in the possession of the Library of Congress until January, 1942.
Next year a 40-volume supplement will be issued, bringing the catalogue to date until 1948. "We will keep all Library of Congress cards dated after 1948 in a special case," Metcalf said. "These will be removed as we receive successive volumes of catalogues."