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A History of Computer Applications in Libraries: Prolegomena
April-June 2002 (vol. 24 no. 2)
pp. 4-15

Modern libraries are constituted within and by a tradition of techniques and practices that represent a hundred years of codified professional knowledge. This article provides a historical overview of this tradition that created a complex environment of expectation and misunderstanding for introducing library automation. A generation of systems development was needed to assimilate and further develop this tradition.

1. A. Black and D. Muddiman, "Critical Perspectives, Critical Methodologies: The New Sociology of Information and Public Library Research in the United Kingdom," Library and Information Studies, Research and Professional Practice, M. Beaulieu, E. Davenport, and N. Ole Pors, eds., Taylor Graham, London, 1997, pp. 204-219. Also see G.P. Radford and M.L. Radford, "Libraries, Librarians, and the Discourse of Fear," Library Quarterly, vol. 71, July 2001, pp. 299-329; W. B. Rayward, "Bureaucratic Organization of Libraries," Australian Library J. vol. 19, Aug. 1970, pp. 245-253, and W. B. Rayward, "Librarian as Organizer and Manager,"Proc. 16th Biennial Conf., 1971,Library Assoc. Australia, Sydney, 1972, pp. 61-71.
2. W.B. Rayward, "Libraries as Organizations," College and Research Libraries, vol. 30, July 1969, pp. 312-326.
3. Library use of microfilm technology was much discussed and experimented with in the 1930s. Document reproduction technology was a driving force in the creation of the American Documentation Institute; see I. Farkas-Conn, From Documentation to Information Science: The Beginnings and Early Development of the American Documentation Institute, Am. Soc. for Information Science, Greenwood Press, New York, 1990.
4. J. Shera, The Foundation of the American Public Library, Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1949, and S.H. Ditzion, Arsenals of a Democratic Culture: A Social History of the American Public Library Movement in New England and the Middle States from 1850 to 1900, Am. Library Assoc., Chicago, 1947; A. Black, A New History of the English Public Library: Social and Intellectual Contexts, 1850-1901, Leicester Univ. Press, London, 1996.
5. W.A. Wiegand, The Politics of an Emerging Profession, American Library Association, 1876-1917, Greenwood Press, New York, 1986; see also Wiegand's Irrepressible Reformer: A Biography of Melvil Dewey, ALA, Chicago, 1996.
6. G.T Stevenson, "A.L.A.," Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, A. Kent and H. Lancour, eds., Marcel Dekker, New York, 1968, vol. 1, p. 279.
7. For information on the ALA Publishing Web site, see http://www.ala.org/editionsabout.html.
8. J. Metcalfe, Information Retrieval, British&American, 1876-1976, Scarecrow Press, Metuchen, N.J., 1976.
9. F. Miksa, "The Making of the 1876 Special Report on Public Libraries," J. Library History, vol. 8, Jan. 1973, pp. 30-40.
10. C.A. Cutter, Rules for a Printed Dictionary Catalogue, Public libraries in the United States of America: Their History, Condition and Management, special report, Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Education. Part II. Govt. Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1876.
11. A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging Books and Pamphlets of a Library,Amherst, Mass., 1876.
12. W.B. Rayward, "The Early Diffusion Abroad of the Dewey Decimal Classification: Great Britain, Australia, Europe," Melvil Dewey: The Man and the Classification, G. Stevenson and J. Kramer-Greene, eds., Forest Press, Lake Placid, N.Y., 1983, pp. 149-173.
13. Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index, (DDC21), J.S. Mitchell et al., eds., Forest Press, Albany, N.Y., 1996. See alsohttp://www.oclc.org/deweyindex.htm.
14. J. Rosenberg, The Nation's Great Library: Herbert Putnam and the Library of Congress, 1899-1939, Univ. of Illinois Press, Urbana, Ill., 1993, p. 44.
15. I am grateful to Rodney Brunt of Leeds Metropolitan University and a former member of the Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of AACR for guidance in this complicated area. See his "Organising Knowledge: Catalogues, Indexing and Classification as a Reflection of Changing Needs," A History of Libraries in Great Britain, vol. 3, A. Black and P. Hoare, eds., Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, to appear. E. Svenonius, "The Objectives of the Catalog and the Means to Reach Them," Conceptual Foundations of Descriptive Cataloging, E. Svenonius, ed., Academic Press, San Diego, Calif., 1989, p. 2.
16. For detailed and authoritative discussion of these matters, see the essays in Svenonius, Conceptual Foundations.
17. See also E.J. Hunter and K.G. Blackwell, chapter 2, "History: Chronological Chart," Cataloguing, 3rd ed., revised by E.J. Hunter, Library Assoc., London, 1991, pp. 5-23.
18. Osborn's critique of the complexity and cost of using the existing by-now-labyrinthine cataloging rules and his plea for their simplification was highly influential in cataloging code reform.
19. Lubetzky's critique and later a draft code he prepared at the Library of Congress were instrumental in the reconceptualization of the rules and the principles underlying them.
20. The most recent edition listed on the ALA Web site (http:/alastore.ala.org/) contains the original code and revisions plus "Amendments 1999 and 2001."
21. E. Svenonius, The Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2000.
22. List of Subject Headings for Use in Dictionary Catalogs, prepared by a committee of the American Library Association, The Library Bureau for the ALA, Boston, 1985.
23. Library of Congress Subject Cataloging Division, Subject Headings Used in the Dictionary Catalogs of the Library of Congress, Government Printing Office, Library Branch, Washington, D.C., 1897; Library of Congress Catalog Division, Subject Headings Used in the Dictionary Catalogues of the Library of Congress, 2nd ed., GPO, Library Branch, Washington, D.C., 1919. For the most recent information, seehttp://www.loc.gov/cdslcsh.html.
24. "Organizing Services for Librarians," The Nation's Great Library: Herbert Putnam and the Library of Congress, 1899-1939, Univ. of Illinois Press, Urbana, Ill., 1993, see also pp. 59 and 143.
25. "Cataloging in Publication Celebrates 30th Anniversary," Library of Congress Information Bull., May 2001, http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/0105cip.html .
26. A Catalog of Books Represented by Library of Congress Printed Cards Issued to 31 July 1942, Edwards Bros., Ann Arbor, Mich., 1942-1946, 167 vols.
27. The National Union Catalog of Pre-1956 Imprints, A Cumulative Author List Representing Library of Congress Printed Cards and Titles Reported by Other American Libraries, Am. Library Assoc., Mansell, London, 1968-1981, 754 vols.
28. Union List of Serials in Libraries of the United States and Canada, 5 vols., E. Brown Titus, ed., under the sponsorship of the Joint Committee on the Union List of Serials with the cooperation of the Library of Congress, H.W. Wilson Co., New York, 1965.
29. J. Flexner, The Circulation of Books in Public Libraries, Chicago, Am. Library Assoc., 1926; C.P.P. Vitz, Circulation Work, revised ed., Chicago, Am. Library Assoc., 1927; C.H. Brown and H.G. Bousfield, Circulation Work in College and University Libraries, Chicago, Am. Library Assoc., 1933.
30. C. Payne et al., "The University of Chicago Library Data Management System," Library Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 1, Jan. 1977, pp. 1-22.
31. J. Meyer, "Notis: The System and Its Features," Library Hi Tech, vol. 3, no. 2, 1985, pp. 81-90; see also V. Veneziano and J. Aagaard, "Cost Advantages of Total System Development," The Economics of Library Automation, J.L. Divilbiss, ed., Univ. of Illinois, Graduate School of Library Science, Urbana-Champaign, Ill., 1977, pp. 133-144.
32. For an account of the Library Bureau, see W. Wiegand, Irrepressible Reformer, A Biography of Melvil Dewey, ALA, Chicago, 1996, pp. 70-71, 235-241, and 371.
33. The series of surveys in the Library Journal are instructive in this respect. See, for example, J.R. Matthews, "Unrelenting Change: The 1984 Automated Library System Marketplace," Library J., vol. 110, 1 Apr. 1985, pp. 31-40. By 1993, the survey was broken into large and small system categories: F.R. Ridge, "Automated Systems Marketplace 1993, Part 1: Focus on Minicomputers," Library J., vol. 118, no. 6, 1 Apr. 1993, pp. 53-63, and "Automated Systems Marketplace 1993, Part 2: Focus on Microcomputers," Library J. vol. 118, no. 7, 15 Apr. 1993, pp. 50-55. See also J.E. Rush, "The Library Automation Market: Why Do Vendors Fail? A History of Vendors and Their Characteristics," Library Hi Tech, vol. 6, no. 23, 1988, pp. 7-33.
34. W. Wiegand, Politics of An Emerging Profession, and W.B. Rayward, "Melvil Dewey and Education for Librarianship," J. Library History, vol. 3, 1968, pp. 286-312.
35. C. Churchwell, The Shaping of American Library Education, ALA, Chicago, 1975.
36. J.V. Richardson, The Spirit of Inquiry: The Graduate Library School at Chicago, 1921-51, Am. Library Assoc., Chicago, 1982; and W.B. Rayward, "Research and Education for Library and Information Science: Waples in Retrospect," The Library Quarterly, vol. 56, Oct. 1986, pp. 348-359.
37. F.W. Summers, "Accreditation and the American Library Association, A Background Paper Prepared for the Executive Board of the American Library Association," http://www.ala.org/congresssummers_print.html .
38. D. Reynolds, "Library Automation," World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services, 3rd ed., ALA, Chicago, 1993, p. 470-471. My text adapts the section headings used by Reynolds.
39. E.C. Berkeley, Giant Brains or Machines That Think, John Wiley&Sons, New York, 1949.
40. H. Bryan, "American Automation in Action," Library J., 15 Jan. 1971, pp. 189-196.
41. E. Mason, "The Great Gas Bubble Prick't; or, Computers Revealed—by a Gentleman of Quality," College and Research Libraries, May 1971, pp. 183-196.
42. D. Reynolds, Library Automation: Issues and Applications,Bowker, London, 1985.
43. F. Kilgour, "Ohio College Library Center," in Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, vol. 20, A. Kent, H. Lancour, and J. Daily, eds., Marcel Dekker, New York, 1977, pp. 346-347.
44. See the OCLC Web site athttp://www.oclc.orgabout/.

Citation:
W. Boyd Rayward, "A History of Computer Applications in Libraries: Prolegomena," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 4-15, April-June 2002, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2002.1010066
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