Library catalogue is an essential and important tool for any library. This tool has been developed to facilitate the use of reading materials in a library. It is useful to both the readers using the library and the library staff members who help the readers to use the library.
Definitions of Library Catalogue:
Library catalogue is a list of books and other reading materials available in a particular library. It discloses to the reader the contents of a library collection. Whereas, cataloguing is a technique of describing the documents in order to help the reader to identify the document in which he is interested.
Catalogue is a record or list of books, periodicals, journals, pamphlets, monographs, audio-visual aids and other materials of a particular library, or a group of libraries or a private collection containing specified items of bibliographical information, viz. author, title, edition, imprint, collation, etc. in automated, microfiche, card or printed form arranged in classified or alphabetical order according to any standard catalogue code or rules, i.e. AACR, LC, etc.
Dr. S.R. Ranganathan, “A list of documents in a library or in a collection forming a portion of it”.
According to James Duff Brown “A Library catalogue is a list of books and other graphic materials in a particular library or collection.”
Objectives of Catalogue:
According to the major information scientists a catalogue normally has the following basic objectives:
1. To enable a person to find a book when one of the following information is known:
a. the author
b. the title
c. the subject
2. To show what the information institution has
a. by a given author
b. on a given subject
c. in a given kind of literature
3. To assist in the choice of a book
a. as to the edition (bibliographically)
b. as to its character (literary or topical)
Purpose and Scope of Catalogue:
1. To record books and other reading materials in the information institution.
2. To interpret the reading materials to the reader by mentioning essential elements of a book, i.e. author, title, edition, imprint, collation, series, bibliography, subject, etc.
3. To make the reading materials available quickly, so a reader requiring books on a subject will not have to go all around the library to collect the required materials.
4. To put order into the collection so that the volumes may be located and used conveniently for reference and circulation.
Function of Catalogue:
The major functions of a library catalogue are:
1. To record each work in an information institution by author, editor, compiler, translator, series, or by corporate body as author in case of impersonal authorship under which entries are made, and the reader is likely to search for a book.
2. To arrange author entries in such a way that a reader finds all the work of an author together in a dictionary catalogue.
3. To record each work in an information institution under the subject.
4. To record titles of work if it is written by more than three authors.
5. To explain a book to the reader by providing a description of each book mentioning major bibliographical information, viz. Author, title, imprint, collation, series, ISBN index.
6. To arrange the call numbers numerically by classification under in classified catalogue.
7. To work as a book selection tool for other comparatively new or small library.
8. To help the research workers and readers know what materials are available on a given subject in the library.