With a printed list of subject-headings at hand it is not difficult to keep your catalog consistent and reasonable.
This same list of subject-headings will serve also as a guide in the writing of the cross-reference cards for your catalog, the cards, that is, which refer the searcher from the topic “pigs,” for example, to “swine,” or from both to “domestic animals.”
Of course the subject-headings’ list must be systematically used, and must be marked and annotated to fit your special needs. This work, like classifying, can best be learned by doing.
There are many ways of keeping your catalog cards. The thing to use is a set of trays made for the purpose. (See Library Bureau catalog.) The cards are extremely valuable, and expense should not be spared in providing for their safe keeping and handy use.
Preparing books for the shelves
All books should be marked with the name of the library. This is cheaply done with a rubber stamp and violet or red ink pad. An embossing stamp makes a good and indelible mark. The type used should be of moderate size and open faced. A perforating stamp now on the market marks a book neatly and most permanently. Mark books freely, to assure their being recognized as the library’s property wherever seen. Have some definite pages on which stamps always appear. Many use the title-page, fifty-first or one hundred and first, and the last page. This need not interfere with marking elsewhere.
[Illustration: Embossing stamp.]
On the back of the book write the call-number. For this purpose use a tag or label. They can be had in several sizes; round ones are best. Paste the label where it will mar the book least, as near the middle as possible. It is well to put all labels at the same height from the bottom of the back, so far as this can be done without covering essential parts of the lettering. Four inches is a good height for the lower edge of all labels. Labels stick better if the place where they are to be pasted is moistened with a solution of ammonia and water, to remove varnish or grease. If this is done the mucilage or gum on the labels when purchased will be found usually to stick well. After the call-number is written, varnish the label with a thin solution of shellac in alcohol. Labels put on in this way will keep clean, remain legible, and rarely come off.
If a charging system using a pocket is adopted, no book-plate is needed, if the pocket, that is, is pasted on the inside of the front cover and has the name of the library on it.
When books are classified the call-number is written with hard pencil on a certain page, the same page in all books; a common place is the first right hand page after the title-page, and near the inner margin.
This call-number should be written with ink on the pocket and book slip, which is kept in the pocket, or on the book-plate. It is advisable also to write the call-number in ink on some definite page bearing the library’s stamp.