This blog post is brought to you by the letter ‘C’…

31 May

For card catalog! Our card catalog is still sometimes the best way to find what you’re looking for. Archivists and librarians of yore took the time to create this card catalog which indexes in detail many of our photographs, manuscripts, journals, and newspapers. At the time this was the best way to capture this information and it still proves invaluable today. In part because of the dramatic increase in records production in recent years – both digital and paper – it has become impossible to continue to catalog everything in this level of detail; however, it is great that we can take advantage the vast amount of knowledge that is contained in this card catalog. In many cases you can find an individual or location in the card catalog even if it doesn’t appear elsewhere. This is especially useful when looking for individuals or specific addresses.

The card catalog in our Reading Room.

The card catalog in our Reading Room.

For example, if you just searched the online catalogs for ‘cats’ (‘C’ is also for cat!), you would find some great photo files, including one called Subjects-Camels and Cats, but you would miss this adorable photo of a kitten cuddling up to an oil lamp that only appears in the card catalog:

PC 107, Reynolds Photograph Collection, 1885-1920, b1f14. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

PC 107, Reynolds Photograph Collection, 1885-1920, b1f14. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

 

Here is an example of the detail that can be found in the card catalog entries:

Detail of the card catalog index card for cats that led to the discovery of the photo above.

Detail of the card catalog index card for cats that led to the discovery of the photo above.

Even though online catalogs have made searching so much easier, it’s important to remember to check the card catalog!

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