BACKGROUND:  Many obsolete legends and symbols are found in the sheet shelflist, the card shelflist, and various control files throughout the library.  Knowledge of past practices is useful in order to complete the processing of current materials.  This instruction provides a listing of historical legends and symbols to be found in the library's catalogs and shelflists.  For current terminology, see the Glossary.



Title to be ordered for the collections.  A record of this title was kept in the control file in the former Shelflist Services Unit.

Add to Cards

A legend used on the shelflist entry and Serial Record entry, for collected monographic series or subseries to indicate that contents were maintained in the Main Catalog by means of collective manuscript or typed contents cards, or printed analytics.  The shelflist contained the official record of the holdings.

Annotated Card Program/AC

The Annotated Card (AC) Program began in late 1965 as a service to librarians working with children's collections in schools and public libraries.  For the first three years, the special AC information was printed on a separate card that had a unique card number preceded by the prefix (AC).  Most important elements such as the main entry and the call number on this card matched those corresponding elements on the regular LC card.  However, the AC card had additional information such as a summary and extra headings.  These AC cards were filed only in the card catalog in the former Subject Cataloging Division's Children's Literature Section.  In 1969, the AC and LC cards were combined and the alphabetic identifier became a card number suffix.

Between 1930 and 1939, the symbol AC was used to identify foreign serials cataloged in cooperation with the American Library Association.  These cards are not part of the Annotated Card Program.  They can be found in the shelflist and in the database and are easily recognized because of the years involved.


If the binding for works in one volume was other than the regular publisher or the Library of Congress buckram binding, this fact was indicated on the shelflist entry.

qu. bd.

(quarter binding)

ck. bd.

(check binding) [flexible]

bd. bd.

(board binding)

publ. bd.

(publisher's binding)

publ. bd. bd.

(publisher's board binding)

spiral bd.

(spiral binding)

in binder

(in Gaylord or a similar binder)

bing bd.

(Bingham [Company] binder)

Biography File

An alphabetical file of cards indicating the special class numbers that had been assigned for biographical works about specific individuals.  It was maintained to insure uniformity of classification, and was housed in the Shelflisting Section.

Blue card/Blue cd.

Old form card used for programs, lists, etc., was filed only in the Public, Official, Serial Record, shelflist, and Deck catalogs.

Book Not in LC

The book was not in the library's collections, but could be acquired at a later date.

Brief Cataloging/Brief Cat.

Entries for material that was processed following the provisions for brief cataloging form were found in the same catalogs of the library as fully cataloged material.

Cancelled. Covered by [LCCN]

When monographs were cancelled in favor of serials, on the top of the shelflist card was written "Cancelled. Covered by [card number for the serial]".  A large X was drawn on the card with a red pen and the SLICs were pulled.

Card. in Mono Rec.

A term noted on shelflist entry to indicate that the work was a monographic series.  A treatment card was filed in the Monograph Record in the Shelflisting Section.

Card shelflist black

This refers to cards filed into the shelflist under all appropriate entries to show the bibliographic relationships between parts of a serial entry that are published in one or more collected monographic series.  The call number for the series being cataloging was in the upper left-hand corner of the card, and the call numbers of the related collected sets were in the left margin of the card.  Duplicate cards would be filed in each call number, with checks and arrows pointing to the call number under which the particular card was filed.

Cat. Fully Cataloged Entry

A full set of printed cards was filed in all of the dictionary catalogs and the special catalogs.

Cataloging in Source/CIS

A project at the Library of Congress, from October 1958 to February 1959, that was funded by the Council on Library Resources.  Like the current CIP program, its purpose was to catalog books before publication so that publishers could print cataloging information in the books themselves.

Circle number card

A style of card for recording series holdings by circling a preprinted number.

Colored Authors Collection

Materials by African American authors were housed in a separate collection in the Jefferson Building until 1940.  For the most part, they were not fully cataloged.  These materials have since been fully cataloged.

Control File

The control file was an alphabetical file of cards used for shelflisting second copies after they were released from the Copyright Office.  It was also used for forwarding copyright copies of class R material to the National Library of Medicine and copyright copies of S material to the National Agricultural Library.  This file was housed in the Shelflisting Section.

Cross bar card

A style of card for recording series holdings in words.


Books that were intended for the Reserve Collection (answer books, erotica, pictures of atrocities, books containing lenses and other material that did not lend itself to binding, etc.) were marked with a delta symbol or the word Delta.


Books sent out to the Loan Division for lending purposes were identified with this legend.

Document A Cutters

The obsolete practice of supplying A Cutters for works issued by a government body without specific authorization in the classification schedules.  This practice was discontinued in 1974.


A term written opposite the subject headings and added entries on the bibliographic record, indicating that this was an earlier edition.  The overprinted cards for these subject headings and added entries were not to be filed in the card catalogs.  This term meant the opposite of Stamp.

Finder Made

A term used on a complete, closed shelflist entry for serials or possible serials to indicate that holdings were maintained in the Serial Record.

Holdings Card

A card used for recording Library of Congress holdings and indicating their exact location in the library.


A legend formerly used on shelflist and Serial Record cards indicating that Library of Congress holdings for a particular item were incomplete.

In Progress

A legend formerly used on Official, Main, and shelflist cards for serial entries indicating that holdings were maintained in the Serial Record Division.

In Progress, Additions on Shelflist

A legend formerly used on Official and Main catalog cards for serial entries.  Additions on Shelflist was used because prior to November 1942 the Serial Record card catalog was maintained by the Shelflisting Section.  All serial holdings were listed in both the alphabetical Serial Record and the sheet shelflist, that was arranged by call number.  With the establishment of the Serial Record Division in November 1942, the double entry system was abandoned and holdings were recorded only in the Serial Record.

LC Copy Replaced by Electrostatic Reproduction

Brittle volumes replaced by electrostatic hard copy rather than microfilm were identified with this legend.

LC Copy Replaced by Photocopy

Brittle volumes replaced by photocopies rather than microfilm were identified with this legend.

Limited Cataloging

See Brief Cataloging.

Maltese Cross

When a book was withdrawn from the library's collections because it was either mutilated or lost, the printed card for it was not cancelled.  The call number was bracketed to indicate that the book was no longer in the collections, and a Maltese cross was prefixed to the call number to indicate that the book was once part of the collections and that if the Library should later receive a duplicate of the book through either the gift or exchange program, it should be added to the collection.

Microfilm copy (Negative)

This legend identified a negative microfilm copy of a book that was always kept in the Photoduplication vault and was never used for reading room purposes.

Microfilm copy (Positive)

This legend identified the service copy that was housed in the Photoduplication vault.

Mimeographed card/Mim.

When it was decided that a card was not to be printed, the manuscript card was mimeographed.  A full set of cards was filed in the Public Catalog; only the manuscript card was filed in the Official Catalog and a mimeographed copy was filed in the Deck catalog.

Monograph Record/Mon Rec.

The monograph record was an alphabetical file of form cards on which were printed statements descriptive of the various types of treatment adopted for a particular series or multipart work.  It was used to maintain consistency of treatment in the cataloging, classification, and indirectly the binding of monographic series and incomplete monographic works that were serial in nature.  This file was housed in the Shelflist Section.

Old Official (i.e., 1st Official) card catalog/Old Off.

A shelflist entry checked ( / ) over the author heading indicated that there was a card in the Old Official Catalog, that was located in the Public Catalog.  These entries were clipped from the U.S. Library of Congress Printed Catalogue, mounted on 3 x 5 cards, and filed in the shelflist.

Printed card/ P.C.

This card was probably represented in the same catalogs that were listed for the entries marked Cat.  This abbreviation was used for material in classes BL through BX for which subjects had not been assigned.

Receipt Expected

Library of Congress copy of a book that was already on order or expected through copyright deposit or other sources.

Red cross reference cards

Books that covered two or more topics were assigned classification numbers for the secondary topics, with the secondary classification numbers written in red on the cards, and filed into the shelflist.

Refer to Cataloger

A legend formerly used on shelflist and Serial Record entries for serials when the cataloger had incomplete information from the volumes originally cataloged and wanted to obtain further information from additional volumes as they were received.

Rush or Hast./Hasten

Noted on shelflist entry for materials requested for a person (i.e., staff of Congressional Reading Room, Loan Division, etc.).

Series Card/Ser. cd.

For material in a series classified and shelflisted as a monograph but not analyzed, the call number was added to the contents card of the series entry filed in the Public Catalog.  A series card was prepared by the shelflister for the Deck catalog.  Old entries marked ser. cd. were either analyzed or the classification treatment of the series was changed to collected set, and the books were transferred to the collection.

Shelflist Information Card (SLIC)

See G 670.

Small label

Before the 1970s when volume designation/numbering was separated from the call number in the item and appeared in the right hand lower margin of the page following the verso of the title page, it was referred to as a small label.  This term is occasionally used today as an abbreviated way of identifying the volume numbering information that appears as an integral part of the call number and on the label.


Acquisition information giving the source of material received in the library's collection was recorded until 1954 on the verso of the shelflist card.  Each specific item was listed.  This information still appears in the book but is no longer recorded on the shelflist card.

Spear and check

This procedure showed the presence of another copy with another call number.  "In red, check ( image\CHCKMARK.gif ) the subject call number on one 3 x 5 card and spear from the Z663 call number to the subject number.  This card and the corresponding SLIC will be filed in the subject number.  Prepare the remaining 3 x 5 card by checking ( image\CHCKMARK.gif ) the Z663 call number and spear from the subject number.  This card and the corresponding SLIC will be filed in the Z663 number."


A term written opposite the subject headings and added entries on the bibliographic record indicating that this was the latest edition issued.  These headings and added entries were excluded on previous editions.  The overprinted cards for the subject headings and added entries for the latest edition were filed in the card catalogs.  This term meant the opposite of Exclude.

Temporary card/T.C.

For entries cataloged before 1937, only the handwritten manuscript card was in the Main Catalog.  After 1937, these entries were typewritten, photostated, or mimeographed for the various catalogs.

Temporary entry/T.E.

This symbol was used to identify entries made during a special project in 1910 for listing uncataloged material (mostly religious) that had been shelved under the old classification as 2 B2, 16, 17, etc.  After the present Library of Congress classification schedule for religion was developed, the new classification number was indicated in these books on a slip or inside the back cover.  Although the books were not cataloged at that time, some of them were shelflisted according to the new classification schedule, and a card was prepared for the Deck catalog and in most cases for the National Union Catalog.  These shelflist entries were marked T.E. to distinguish them from those for which temporary catalog cards were made marked T.C. in shelflist.

Unbound Copy Held by EBL

Books that were folded or gathered galleys/signatures were held in the Shelflist Services Unit by Elizabeth B. Lockwood until a bound copy was received.  The shelflister would stamp UCH by EBL or write Unbound copy held by EBL on the shelflist card and a card would be filed in the control file.  The legend was removed from the shelflist card when the bound copy was received.


Material that briefly listed the author/title and was classified and shelflisted was identified by this legend.  Copies of this entry were located in the shelflist and Deck catalog only.

White Form Cds.

There were two categories of white form cards:  those with no preprinted legends and those with preprinted legends.  Those without a preprinted legend were used for miscellaneous printed matter, pamphlets etc., and filed in the Public, Official, Serial Record, shelflist and Deck catalogs.  Those with a preprinted legend had one of the following legends and the call number:

Miscellaneous printed matter published or relating to this body was classified in [call no.]

Miscellaneous publications, including reports, programs, and other minor material not separately cataloged, were classified in [call no.]

Separates and other miscellaneous matter by this author, not separately cataloged, are classified in [call no.]

Pamphlets and other miscellaneous matter relating to this person, not separately cataloged are classified in [call no.]

Pamphlets, broadsides, clippings, and other miscellaneous matter on this subject, not separately cataloged, are classified in [call no.]

Withdrawn, Replacement to be ordered (date)

A legend used when volumes received were damaged.


Copies in excess of the number needed for the general collections.  No attempt was made to account for the actual number of copies.

To return:

LC Specific Information