Toward Catalog Reform – 1939

Libraries have a history of thinking about usability and user experience:

In recent years little discussion pertaining to the form of the library’s catalog has found its way into print. The dictionary catalog, this strange creature of modern library economy, has become so firmly established in modern library practice, that is is accepted without question in most of the libraries of this country.

The complicated arrangement of the dictionary catalog has progressed to a stance where the average undergraduate has not been able to use it.

Clearly, the patron’s helplessness before the dictionary catalog cannot be attributed to obtuseness on his part. The fault must lie with the catalog.

Hagedorn, Rolf K. Toward catalog reform. Library Journal. 64: 223-25, March 15, 1939.

I wonder: do we have some sort of amnesia about our professional history? Why haven’t been building on these ideas since 1939?

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